This page provides an overview of the major themes in pandas' development. Each of these items requires a relatively large amount of effort to implement. These may be achieved more quickly with dedicated funding or interest from contributors.
An item being on the roadmap does not mean that it will necessarily happen, even with unlimited funding. During the implementation period we may discover issues preventing the adoption of the feature.
Additionally, an item not being on the roadmap does not exclude it from inclusion in pandas. The roadmap is intended for larger, fundamental changes to the project that are likely to take months or years of developer time. Smaller-scoped items will continue to be tracked on our issue tracker.
See Roadmap evolution for proposing changes to this document.
for extending NumPy types with custom data types and array storage.
Pandas uses extension types internally, and provides an interface for
3rd-party libraries to define their own custom data types.
Many parts of pandas still unintentionally convert data to a NumPy array. These problems are especially pronounced for nested data.
We'd like to improve the handling of extension arrays throughout the library, making their behavior more consistent with the handling of NumPy arrays. We'll do this by cleaning up pandas' internals and adding new methods to the extension array interface.
String data type
Currently, pandas stores text data in an
object -dtype NumPy array.
The current implementation has two primary drawbacks: First,
-dtype is not specific to strings: any Python object can be stored in an
object -dtype array, not just strings. Second: this is not efficient.
The NumPy memory model isn't especially well-suited to variable width
To solve the first issue, we propose a new extension type for string
data. This will initially be opt-in, with users explicitly requesting
dtype="string". The array backing this string dtype may initially be
the current implementation: an
object -dtype NumPy array of Python
To solve the second issue (performance), we'll explore alternative
in-memory array libraries (for example, Apache Arrow). As part of the
work, we may need to implement certain operations expected by pandas
users (for example the algorithm used in,
Series.str.upper). That work
may be done outside of pandas.
Apache Arrow interoperability
Apache Arrow is a cross-language development platform for in-memory data. The Arrow logical types are closely aligned with typical pandas use cases.
We'd like to provide better-integrated support for Arrow memory and data types within pandas. This will let us take advantage of its I/O capabilities and provide for better interoperability with other languages and libraries using Arrow.
Block manager rewrite
We'd like to replace pandas current internal data structures (a collection of 1 or 2-D arrays) with a simpler collection of 1-D arrays.
Pandas internal data model is quite complex. A DataFrame is made up of one or more 2-dimensional "blocks", with one or more blocks per dtype. This collection of 2-D arrays is managed by the BlockManager.
The primary benefit of the BlockManager is improved performance on certain operations (construction from a 2D array, binary operations, reductions across the columns), especially for wide DataFrames. However, the BlockManager substantially increases the complexity and maintenance burden of pandas.
By replacing the BlockManager we hope to achieve
- Substantially simpler code
- Easier extensibility with new logical types
- Better user control over memory use and layout
- Improved micro-performance
- Option to provide a C / Cython API to pandas' internals
See these design documents for more.
Decoupling of indexing and internals
The code for getting and setting values in pandas' data structures
needs refactoring. In particular, we must clearly separate code that
converts keys (e.g., the argument to
DataFrame.loc) to positions from
code that uses these positions to get or set values. This is related to
the proposed BlockManager rewrite. Currently, the BlockManager sometimes
uses label-based, rather than position-based, indexing. We propose that
it should only work with positional indexing, and the translation of
keys to positions should be entirely done at a higher level.
Indexing is a complicated API with many subtleties. This refactor will require care and attention. More details are discussed at https://github.com/pandas-dev/pandas/wiki/(Tentative)-rules-for-restructuring-indexing-code
Numba is a JIT compiler for Python code.
We'd like to provide ways for users to apply their own Numba-jitted
functions where pandas accepts user-defined functions (for example,
DataFrame.applymap, and in groupby and
window contexts). This will improve the performance of
user-defined-functions in these operations by staying within compiled
We'd like to improve the content, structure, and presentation of the pandas documentation. Some specific goals include
- Overhaul the HTML theme with a modern, responsive design
- Improve the "Getting Started" documentation, designing and writing learning paths for users different backgrounds (e.g. brand new to programming, familiar with other languages like R, already familiar with Python).
- Improve the overall organization of the documentation and specific subsections of the documentation to make navigation and finding content easier.
Pandas uses airspeed velocity to monitor for performance regressions. ASV itself is a fabulous tool, but requires some additional work to be integrated into an open source project's workflow.
The asv-runner organization, currently made up of pandas maintainers, provides tools built on top of ASV. We have a physical machine for running a number of project's benchmarks, and tools managing the benchmark runs and reporting on results.
We'd like to fund improvements and maintenance of these tools to
- Be more stable. Currently, they're maintained on the nights and weekends when a maintainer has free time.
- Tune the system for benchmarks to improve stability, following https://pyperf.readthedocs.io/en/latest/system.html
- Build a GitHub bot to request ASV runs before a PR is merged. Currently, the benchmarks are only run nightly.
Pandas continues to evolve. The direction is primarily determined by community interest. Everyone is welcome to review existing items on the roadmap and to propose a new item.
Each item on the roadmap should be a short summary of a larger design proposal. The proposal should include
- Short summary of the changes, which would be appropriate for inclusion in the roadmap if accepted.
- Motivation for the changes.
- An explanation of why the change is in scope for pandas.
- Detailed design: Preferably with example-usage (even if not implemented yet) and API documentation
- API Change: Any API changes that may result from the proposal.
That proposal may then be submitted as a GitHub issue, where the pandas maintainers can review and comment on the design. The pandas mailing list should be notified of the proposal.
When there's agreement that an implementation would be welcome, the roadmap should be updated to include the summary and a link to the discussion issue.