I’ve been playing with Python for close to two years now. I started out playing with Python when I had a need to develop web applications faster. I was getting rather bored with the additional development time that the thousands of lines of XML and the constant restarting of Tomcat that the Java, Struts, Hibernate, et al. stack was adding to my workload. Anyway, at the beginning of my Python journey, I began evaluating a few different Python web frameworks. After these couple of years, I’m ready to record a few of my thoughts on the process.
For a couple years now, I’ve been learning and applying various tricks for developing and hosting multiple Python web sites on my development machines. During that time, I made a migration to Mac OS X. Most setup files for python applications and libraries work out of the box on the Linux distributions I’ve tried. For OS X, you can find a lot of prebuilt packages for the necessary dependencies but those packages want to be installed in the OS X system library location for Python.
If you want to host or develop more than one site with Python, you’ll need to use virtual environments. This applies equally to any OS, not just Mac OS X. There seem to be a few more tricks to getting things up and running on OS X however. Here is the process I went through to get TurboGears applications hosted in virtual environments on OS X.
Have you ever had a process that dies on occasion? For me, I hate that situation and prefer to fix the software as opposed to have a monitor that restarts the process when it dies. I’ve run into a case lately however, that has defied me for a solution to my dying process. I think it may be a hardware related issue but haven’t tracked down the cause yet. Anyhow, I read an email on the Provo Linux User Group in which the poster referred to PS-Watcher. I thought I’d give it a try for kicks.
After installing the program and reading through the documentation, I found that PS-Watcher is really quite nice. In addition to monitoring the results of the ps command, you can add custom actions that occur at the beginning or ending of the monitor cycle ($PROLOG and $EPILOG). You can also customize actions to be taken based on the number of processes, memory size, and a few other useful metrics.
For most situations where you want to monitor a process and take action, I think PS-Watcher will probably do the job nicely. After all this however, I decided what I really wanted was a little script that did a custom restart of my particular web server when the test URL wasn’t functioning properly. I decided to simply run it on a scheduled interval with cron. I’ve placed the script below for all to glean information from or make fun of as appropriate. Feel free to provide some additional tips as I don’t claim to be a “Bash Jedi Master”. The following script sends a request to the web server and parses the response for a string that lets us know the server is working properly.
user="<the user my process is running under>"
okresp="^OK$" # I configured a test URL that returns OK if the server is up and running right.
# make a simple HTTP request to send
req="GET /lbuptest HTPP/1.0
# send it using netcat
resp=$(echo "$req" | nc localhost $port)
# test for the ok string
echo "$resp" | grep $okresp 2>&1 >> /dev/null && ok="1"
# you could really place whatever actions you want here.
if [[ $ok != "1" ]]; then
/etc/init.d/<my process init script> restart
The process I’m having trouble with is a TurboGears web application. I don’t think this is a Python problem however. Like I mentioned before, it only happens on this one server so I think I’ve got a hardware problem. Either way, if you found this page searching for TurboGears information, you might as well be interested in my TurboGears Init Scripts.
After completing the YUI Image Uploader, I received a lot of requests for a working example. I didn’t originally create a working example, because that requires server functionality that this server didn’t have. I’ve remedied the situation and have completed an example with TurboGears. Of course, any server side language or framework will do as long as you have the ability to upload and store an image.
A few of the web applications I am hosting/developing are written with TurboGears which uses Cherrypy as its applications server. I have a couple things that need fixed for hosting CherryPy web applications on my Gentoo systems. First, there are no init scripts for CherryPy. Second, I’m running mulitple web applications per machine. I run them as different users with virtual python environments to keep web applications stepping on each others toes.
You can customize the logging for a TurboGears application to have not logging to standard out, but you still have to deal with the python CherryPy process not running as a daemon. I chose rather to run the application in a screen session.
First, a quick script to start my web application in its virtual python environment in my web applications directory.
cd `dirname $0`
And next, a real simply startup script that starts and stops the application in a screen session.
su -l $APPUSER -c "screen -S $SESS_NAME -d -m /$APP_DIR/$SCRIPT_NAME"
su -l $APPUSER -c "screen -S $SESS_NAME -X kill"
The variables can go in /etc/conf.d/<app_name> where the <app_name> is the same name as the init.d script. They will automatically be sourced and passed to the init script. For more information on Gentoo init scripts, check here.