If they are judged only by differences in user interface, most web applications seem to have very little in common with each other. For example, a web page served by one web application might be a representation of the contents of an accounting ledger, while a web page served by another application might be a listing of songs. These applications probably won't serve the same set of customers. However, although they're not very similar on the surface, both a ledger-serving application and a song-serving application can be written using :app:`Pyramid`.
:app:`Pyramid` is a very general open source Python web framework. As a framework, its primary job is to make it easier for a developer to create an arbitrary web application. The type of application being created isn't really important; it could be a spreadsheet, a corporate intranet, or an "oh-so-Web-2.0" social networking platform. :app:`Pyramid` is general enough that it can be used in a wide variety of circumstances.
Frameworks vs. Libraries
A framework differs from a library in one very important way: library code is always called by code that you write, while a framework always calls code that you write. Using a set of libraries to create an application is usually easier than using a framework initially, because you can choose to cede control to library code you have not authored very selectively. But when you use a framework, you are required to cede a greater portion of control to code you have not authored: code that resides in the framework itself. You needn't use a framework at all to create a web application using Python. A rich set of libraries already exists for the platform. In practice, however, using a framework to create an application is often more practical than rolling your own via a set of libraries if the framework provides a set of facilities that fits your application requirements.
- :app:`Pyramid` attempts to be a "pay only for what you eat" framework which delivers results even if you have only partial knowledge. Other frameworks may expect you to understand many concepts and technologies fully before you can be truly productive. :app:`Pyramid` doesn't force you to use any particular technology to produce an application, and we try to keep the core set of concepts you need to understand to a minimum.
- A Sense of Fun
- Developing a :app:`Pyramid` application should not feel "enterprisey". We like to keep things down-to-earth.
- :app:`Pyramid` provides only the very basics: URL to code mapping, templating, security, and assets. There is not much more to the framework than these pieces: you are expected to provide the rest.
- Because :app:`Pyramid` is minimal, it's relatively easy to keep its documentation up-to-date, which is helpful to bring new developers up to speed. It's our goal that nothing remain undocumented about :app:`Pyramid`.
- :app:`Pyramid` is faster than many other popular Python web frameworks for common tasks such as templating and simple response generation. The "hardware is cheap" mantra has its limits when you're responsible for managing a great many machines: the fewer you need, the less pain you'll have.
- The :app:`Pyramid` framework is a canonization of practices that "fit the brains" of its authors.
- :app:`Pyramid` is developed conservatively and tested exhaustively. If it ain't tested, it's broke. Every release of :app:`Pyramid` has 100% statement coverage via unit tests.
- Like :term:`Python`, the :app:`Pyramid` software is distributed under a permissive open source license.
What Is The Pylons Project?
:app:`Pyramid` is a member of the collection of software published under the Pylons Project. Pylons software is written by a loose-knit community of contributors. The Pylons Project website includes details about how :app:`Pyramid` relates to the Pylons Project.
:app:`Pyramid` and Other Web Frameworks
:app:`Pyramid` was inspired by :term:`Zope`, :term:`Pylons` (version 1.0) and :term:`Django`. As a result, :app:`Pyramid` borrows several concepts and features from each, combining them into a unique web framework.
Many features of :app:`Pyramid` trace their origins back to :term:`Zope`. Like Zope applications, :app:`Pyramid` applications can be configured via a set of declarative configuration files. Like Zope applications, :app:`Pyramid` applications can be easily extended: if you obey certain constraints, the application you produce can be reused, modified, re-integrated, or extended by third-party developers without forking the original application. The concepts of :term:`traversal` and declarative security in :app:`Pyramid` were pioneered first in Zope.
The :app:`Pyramid` concept of :term:`URL dispatch` is inspired by the :term:`Routes` system used by :term:`Pylons` version 1.0. Like Pylons version 1.0, :app:`Pyramid` is mostly policy-free. It makes no assertions about which database you should use, and its built-in templating facilities are included only for convenience. In essence, it only supplies a mechanism to map URLs to :term:`view` code, along with a set of conventions for calling those views. You are free to use third-party components that fit your needs in your applications.
Like :term:`Pylons` version 1.0, but unlike :term:`Zope`, a :app:`Pyramid` application developer may use completely imperative code to perform common framework configuration tasks such as adding a view or a route. In Zope, :term:`ZCML` is typically required for similar purposes. In :term:`Grok`, a Zope-based web framework, :term:`decorator` objects and class-level declarations are used for this purpose. :app:`Pyramid` supports :term:`ZCML` and decorator-based configuration, but does not require either. See :ref:`configuration_narr` for more information.
Also unlike :term:`Zope` and unlike other "full-stack" frameworks such as :term:`Django`, :app:`Pyramid` makes no assumptions about which persistence mechanisms you should use to build an application. Zope applications are typically reliant on :term:`ZODB`; :app:`Pyramid` allows you to build :term:`ZODB` applications, but it has no reliance on the ZODB software. Likewise, :term:`Django` tends to assume that you want to store your application's data in a relational database. :app:`Pyramid` makes no such assumption; it allows you to use a relational database but doesn't encourage or discourage the decision.
Other Python web frameworks advertise themselves as members of a class of web frameworks named model-view-controller frameworks. Insofar as this term has been claimed to represent a class of web frameworks, :app:`Pyramid` also generally fits into this class.
You Say :app:`Pyramid` is MVC, But Where's The Controller?
The :app:`Pyramid` authors believe that the MVC pattern just doesn't really fit the web very well. In a :app:`Pyramid` application, there is a resource tree, which represents the site structure, and views, which tend to present the data stored in the resource tree and a user-defined "domain model". However, no facility provided by the framework actually necessarily maps to the concept of a "controller" or "model". So if you had to give it some acronym, I guess you'd say :app:`Pyramid` is actually an "RV" framework rather than an "MVC" framework. "MVC", however, is close enough as a general classification moniker for purposes of comparison with other web frameworks.