Section 18.10. And Other Cool Stuff

18.10. And Other Cool Stuff

The Web and the Internet it runs on are large, dynamic domains, and we haven't done justice to all the available tools they offer to Python programmers. To wrap up, the following is a list of some of the more popular, full-featured, and Python-friendly web tools that are freely available on the Net. This list is incomplete and is prone to change over time too, but by way of introduction, here are some of the things Python people use today:

Medusa, asyncore

The Medusa system is an architecture for building long-running, high-performance network servers in Python, and it is used in several mission-critical systems. Beginning in Python 1.5.2, the core of Medusa became standard in Python, in the form of the asyncore and asynchat library modules. These standard modules may be used by themselves to build high-performance network servers, based on an asynchronous, multiplexing, and single-process model. They use an event loop built using the select system call presented in Chapter 13 of this book to provide concurrency without spawning threads or processes, and are well suited to handling short-lived transactions. See the Python library for details. The complete Medusa system (not shipped with Python) also provides precoded HTTP and FTP servers; it is free for noncommercial use, and it requires a license otherwise.


The Twisted system was introduced in Chapter 13. In short, it is an asynchronous, event-driven, networking framework written in Python, with support for a large number of network protocols and with precoded implementations of common network servers. See or search on Google for details.


We met Zope earlier in this chapter. If you are doing server-side work, be sure to consider the Zope open source web application server. Zope provides a full-featured web framework that implements an object model that is well beyond standard server-side CGI scripting. The Zope world has also developed full-blown servers (e.g., ZServer). See the earlier Zope section in this chapter, and

Other web site frameworks

For an alternative to Zope, also see the popular CherryPy, Webware, Quixote, and other systems.


Bills itself as a Pythonic object-oriented web development framework, which allows developers to build web applications like any other object-oriented Python program, with little or no knowledge of the underlying protocols. As such, it yields smaller source code developed in less time.


A suite of Python components for developing object-oriented, web-based applications. The suite uses well-known design patterns and includes features such as a fast application server, servlets, the PSP templating system described earlier in this chapter, an object-relational mapping, and a CGI wrapper.


Describes itself as a package that supports web application development by Python programmers. In Quixote, the templating language is a small extension of Python itself--the aim is to make web page assembly take maximal advantage of the Python programmer's existing skills.


A relatively new arrival on the Python web framework scene and billed as a high-level Python web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design. It includes a dynamic database access API, its own server-side templating language, and more.


Also a new arrival in the Python web framework space, this an integrated collection of web development tools: MochiKit (a JavaScript library), Kid (a template system), CherryPy (for web input/output), and SQLObject (for accessing databases as you would normal Python classes).


A Zope-based web site builder, which provides a workflow model (called a content management system) that allows content producers to add their content to a site. By allowing users to add web content, it removes the typical site administrator bottleneck and supports more collaborative sites. Plone is a prepackaged instance of a Zope-based web site, which may be customized both in and with Zope tools.

You can find additional web frameworks available for Python in the public domain, and more may appear over time. In fact, this may be something of an embarrassment of richesat this writing, there is no de facto standard web framework in the Python world, though a small set is likely to emerge as frontrunners over time.


If you are looking for email list support, be sure to explore the GNU mailing list manager, otherwise known as Mailman. Written in Python, Mailman provides a robust, quick, and feature-rich email discussion list tool. Mailman allows users to subscribe over the Web, supports web-based administration, and provides mail-to-news gateways and integrated spam prevention (spam of the junk mail variety, that is). At this time, is the place to find more Mailman details.


For server-side scripting, you may be interested in the highly configurable Apache open source web server. Apache is one of the dominant servers used on the Web today, despite its free nature. Among many other things, it supports running Python server-side scripts in a variety of modes; see the site for details on Apache itself.


We introduced mod_python in Chapter 16, in conjunction with server-side state retention options. This package embeds Python within the Apache open source web server, with a substantial boost in performance and added flexibility. Python code may be executed directly in Apache, eliminating the need for spawning processes. In addition, mod_python supports cross-page session data, access to Apache APIs, its own implementation of the PSP server-side reply templating language described in this chapter, and more. See Chapter 16, as well as the mod_python web site, for more details (search on for an up-to-date link).


CORBA is an architecture for distributed programming, in which components communicate across a network, by routing calls through an Object Request Broker (ORB). It is similar in spirit to the distributed flavor of the COM system shown earlier in this chapter, but it is both language and platform neutral. Python support for CORBA is available in the third-party ILU, fnorb, and OmniORB packages.


XML-RPC is a technology that provides remote procedural calls to components over networks, by routing requests over the HTTP protocol and shipping data back and forth, packaged as XML text. Python's xmlrpclib handles the client side of this protocol, and its SimpleXMLRPCServer provides tools for the server side. SOAP is a similar but larger system, targeted at the implementation of web servicesreusable software components that run on the Web. The third-party SOAPy and PySOAP packages provide Python interfaces for this protocol.


A powerful and popular Wiki system written in Python, which supports flexible web page content that can be changed by its user community.

Beyond this list there a dozens of additional Internet-related systems and technologies, but we'll omit further examples and descriptions here in the interest of space. Be sure to watch for new developments on the server front, as well as late-breaking advances in Python web-scripting techniques in general.

Programming Python
Programming Python
ISBN: 0596009259
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 270
Authors: Mark Lutz © 2008-2017.
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