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Cyclone is a web server framework for Python, that implements the Tornado API as a Twisted protocol.
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README.rst

Cyclone

Info: See github for the latest source.
Author: Alexandre Fiori <fiorix@gmail.com>

About

Cyclone is a low-level network toolkit, which provides support for HTTP 1.1 in an API very similar to the one implemented by the Tornado web server - which was developed by FriendFeed and later released as open source / free software by Facebook.

Key differences between Cyclone and Tornado

  • Cyclone is based on Twisted, hence it may be used as a webservice protocol for interconnection with any other protocol implemented in Twisted.
  • Localization is based upon the standard Gettext instead of the CSV implementation in the original Tornado. Moreover, it supports pluralization exactly like Tornado does.
  • It ships with an asynchronous HTTP client based on TwistedWeb, however, it's fully compatible with one provided by Tornado - which is based on PyCurl. (The HTTP server code is NOT based on TwistedWeb, for several reasons)
  • Native support for XMLRPC and JsonRPC. (see the rpc demo)
  • WebSocket protocol class is just like any other Twisted Protocol (i.e.: LineReceiver; see the websocket demo)
  • Support for sending e-mail based on Twisted Mail, with authentication and TLS, plus an easy way to create plain text or HTML messages, and attachments. (see the e-mail demo)
  • Built-in support for Redis, based on txredisapi. We usually need an in-memory caching server like memcache for web applications. However, we prefer redis over memcache because it supports more operations like pubsub, various data types like sets, hashes (python dict), and persistent storage. See the redis demo for details.
  • Support for HTTP Authentication. See the authentication demo for details.

Advantages of being a Twisted Protocol

  • Easy deployment of applications, using twistd.
  • RDBM support via: twisted.enterprise.adbapi.
  • NoSQL support for MongoDB (TxMongo) and Redis (TxRedisAPI).
  • May combine many more functionality within the webserver: sending emails, communicating with message brokers, etc...

Benchmarks

Check out the benchmarks page.

Tips and Tricks

As a clone, the API implemented in Cyclone is almost the same of Tornado. Therefore you may use the Tornado Documentation for stuff like templates and so on.

The snippets below will show some tips and tricks regarding the few differences between the two.

Hello World

#!/usr/bin/env python
# coding: utf-8

import sys
import cyclone.web
from twisted.python import log
from twisted.internet import reactor

class IndexHandler(cyclone.web.RequestHandler):
    def get(self):
        self.write("hello world")

class Application(cyclone.web.Application):
    def __init__(self):
        handlers = [
            (r"/", IndexHandler),
        ]

        settings = {
            "static_path": "./static",
            "template_path": "./template",
        }

        cyclone.web.Application.__init__(self, handlers, **settings)

if __name__ == "__main__":
    log.startLogging(sys.stdout)
    reactor.listenTCP(8888, Application())
    reactor.run()

Twisted Application

The advantage of being a Twisted Application is that you don't need to care about basic daemon features like forking, creating pid files, changing application's user and group permissions, and selecting the proper reactor within the code.

Instead, the application may be run by twistd, as follows:

for testing:
/usr/bin/twistd --nodaemon --python=foobar.tac

for production:
/usr/bin/twistd --pidfile=/var/run/foobar.pid \
                --logfile=/var/log/foobar.log \
                --uid=nobody --gid=nobody \
                --reactor=epoll \
                --python=foobar.tac

Following is the Hello World as a twisted application:

# coding: utf-8
# twisted application: foobar.tac

import cyclone.web
from twisted.application import service, internet

class IndexHandler(cyclone.web.RequestHandler):
    def get(self):
        self.write("hello world")

foobar = cyclone.web.Application([(r"/", IndexHandler)])

application = service.Application("foobar")
internet.TCPServer(8888, foobar(),
    interface="127.0.0.1").setServiceParent(application)

Localization

The cyclone.locale provides an API similar to tornado.locale, however, instead of using CSV files for translating strings like Tornado does, Cyclone uses the standard Python gettext module.

Because of that, there is one extra option that may be passed to cyclone.locale.load_translations(path, domain="cyclone"), which the is the gettext's domain. The default domain is cyclone.

Following is a step-by-step guide to implement localization in any Cyclone application:

  1. Create a python script or twisted application with translatable strings:

    # coding: utf-8
    # twisted application: foobar.tac
    
    import cyclone.web
    import cyclone.locale
    from twisted.application import service, internet
    
    class BaseHandler(cyclone.web.RequestHandler):
        def get_user_locale(self):
            lang = self.get_cookie("lang")
            return cyclone.locale.get(lang)
    
    class IndexHandler(BaseHandler):
        def get(self):
            self.render("index.html")
    
        def post(self):
            _ = self.locale.translate
            name = self.get_argument("name")
            self.write(_("the name is: %s" % name))
    
    class LangHandler(cyclone.web.RequestHandler):
        def get(self, lang):
            if lang in cyclone.locale.get_supported_locales():
                self.set_cookie("lang", lang)
            self.redirect("/")
    
    class Application(cyclone.web.Application):
        def __init__(self):
            handlers = [
                (r"/", IndexHandler),
                (r"/lang/(.+)", LangHandler),
            ]
    
            settings = {
                "static_path": "./static",
                "template_path": "./template",
            }
    
            cyclone.locale.load_translations("./locale", "foobar")
            cyclone.web.Application.__init__(self, handlers, **settings)
    
    application = service.Application("foobar")
    internet.TCPServer(8888, Application(),
        interface="127.0.0.1").setServiceParent(application)
    
  2. Create a file in ./template/index.html with translatable strings:

    <html>
    <body>
        <form action="/" method="post">
        <p>{{ _("write someone's name:") }}</p>
        <input type="text" name="name">
        <input type="submit" value="{{ _('send') }}">
        </form>
    
        <br>
        <p>{{ _("change language:") }}</p>
        <p><a href="/lang/en_US">English (US)</a></p>
        <p><a href="/lang/pt_BR">Portuguese (BR)</a></p>
    </body>
    </html>
    
  3. Generate PO translatable file from the source code, using xgettext:

    You will notice that xgettext cannot parse HTML properly. It was first designed to parse C files, and now it supports many other languages including Python.

    In order to parse lines like <input type="submit" value="{{ _('send') }}">, you'll need an extra script to pre-process the files.

    Here's what you can use as fix.py:

    #!/usr/bin/env python
    # coding: utf-8
    # fix.py
    
    import re, sys
    
    if __name__ == "__main__":
        try:
            filename = sys.argv[1]
            assert filename != "-"
            fd = open(filename)
        except:
            fd = sys.stdin
    
        line_re = re.compile(r"""['"]{{|}}['"] """)
        for line in fd:
            line = line_re.sub(r"", line)
            sys.stdout.write(line)
        fd.close()
    

    Then, call xgettext to generate the PO translatable file:

    cat foobar.tac template/index.html | python fix.py | \
        xgettext --language=Python --keyword=_:1,2 -d foobar
    

    This will create a file named foobar.po, which needs to be translated, then compiled into an MO file:

    vi foobar.po
    (translate everything, :wq)
    
    mkdir -p ./locale/pt_BR/LC_MESSAGES/
    msgfmt foobar.po -o ./locale/pt_BR/LC_MESSAGES/foobar.mo
    
  4. Finally, test the internationalized application:

    twistd -ny foobar.tac
    

There is also a complete example with pluralization in demos/locale.

Authenticated and Asynchronous decorators

Tornado provides decorator functions for asynchronous and authenticated methods. Obviously, they're also implemented in Cyclone, and yet more powerful when combined with a famous Twisted decorator: defer.inlineCallbacks.

The cyclone.web.authenticated decorator may be combined with defer.inlineCallbacks, however, there's a basic rule to use them together. Considering that the authenticated decorator will check user credentials, and, depending on the result, it will continue processing the request OR redirect the request to the login page, it has to be used before the defer.inlineCallbacks to function properly:

class IndexHandler(cyclone.web.RequestHandler):
    @cyclone.web.authenticated
    @defer.inlineCallbacks
    def get(self):
        result = yield something()
        self.write(result)

On the other hand, the cyclone.web.asynchronous decorator will keep the request open until you explicitly call self.finish() later on. Of course, it may also be combined with defer.inlineCallbacks, but it MUST be placed after to function properly:

class Indexhandler(cyclone.web.RequestHandler):
    @defer.inlineCallbacks
    @cyclone.web.asynchronous
    def get(self):
        result = yield something()
        self.finish(result)

Of course, you may combine the three decorators to have the most powerful and simple code in Cyclone, like this:

class Indexhandler(cyclone.web.RequestHandler):
    @cyclone.web.authenticated
    @defer.inlineCallbacks
    @cyclone.web.asynchronous
    def get(self):
        try:
            result = yield mongo.collection.find_one({"foo":"bar"})
        except:
            self.finish("error or something")
            defer.returnValue(None)

        if not result:
            raise cyclone.web.HTTPError(404, "not found")

        self.finish(cyclone.escape.json_encode(result))

More options and tricks

  • Keep-Alive

    Because of the HTTP 1.1 support, sockets aren't always closed when you call self.finish() in a RequestHandler. Cyclone let you enforce that by setting the no_keep_alive attribute attribute in some of your RequestHandlers:

    class IndexHandler(cyclone.web.RequestHandler):
        no_keep_alive = True
        def get(self):
            ...
    
  • Socket closed notification

    One of the great features of TwistedWeb is the request.notifyFinish(), which is also available in Cyclone. This method returns a deferred which is fired when the request socket is closed, by either self.finish(), someone closing their browser while receiving data, or closing the connection of a Comet request:

    class IndexHandler(cyclone.web.RequestHandler):
        def get(self):
            ...
            d = self.notifyFinish()
            d.addCallback(remove_from_comet_handlers_list)
    
  • HTTP X-Headers

    When running a Cyclone-based application behind Nginx, it's very important to make it automatically use X-Real-Ip and X-Scheme HTTP headers. In order to make Cyclone recognize those headers, the option xheaders=True must be set in the Application settings:

    class Application(cyclone.web.Application):
        def __init__(self):
            handlers = [
                (r"/", IndexHandler),
            ]
    
            settings = {
                "xheaders": True
                "static_path": "./static",
            }
    
            cyclone.web.Application.__init__(self, handlers, **settings)
    
  • Cookie-Secret generation

    What I use to generate the "cookie_secrect" key used in cyclone.web.Application's settings is something pretty simple, like this:

    >>> import uuid, base64
    >>> base64.b64encode(uuid.uuid4().bytes + uuid.uuid4().bytes)
    'FoQv5hgLTYCb9aKiBagpJJYtLJInWUcXilg3/vPkUnI='
    

FAQ

  • Where are the request headers?

    They are part of the request, dude:

    class MyHandler(cyclone.web.RequestHandler):
        def get(self):
            # self.request.headers is a dict
            user_agent = self.request.headers.get("User-Agent")
    
  • How do I access raw POST data?

    Both raw POST data and GET/DELETE un-parsed query string are available:

    class MyHandler(cyclone.web.RequestHandler):
        def get(self):
            raw = self.request.query
    
        def post(self):
            raw = self.request.body
    
  • Where is the request information, like remote IP address, HTTP method, URI and version?

    Everything is available as request attributes:

    class MyHandler(cyclone.web.RequestHandler):
        def get(self):
            remote_ip = self.request.remote_ip
            method = self.request.method
            uri = self.request.uri
            version = self.request.version
    
  • How do I set my own headers for the reply?

    Guess what, use self.set_header(name, value):

    class MyHandler(cyclone.web.RequestHandler):
        def get(self):
            self.set_header("Content-Type", "application/json")
            self.finish(cyclone.escape.json_encode({"success":True}))
    
  • What HTTP methods are supported in RequestHandler?

    Well, almost all of them. HEAD, GET, POST, DELETE and PUT are supported. TRACE is disabled by default, because it may get you in trouble. CONNECT has nothing to do with web servers, it's for proxies.

    For more information on HTTP 1.1 methods, please refer to the RFC 2612 Fielding, et al.. For information regarding TRACE vulnerabilities, please check the following links: What is HTTP TRACE? and Apache Week, security issues.

    Supporting different HTTP methods in the same RequestHandler is easy:

    class MyHandler(cyclone.web.RequestHandler):
        def get(self):
            pass
    
        def head(self):
            pass
    
        ...
    

Applications using Cyclone

We've being using Cyclone for all of our private projects at nuswit.com. Now that it's very stable and responsive, we decided to make it freely available to the public, and hope it become more popular in the Python/Twisted community.

The source code ships with examples and demos.

Also, we've found that some people is already using it:

Credits

Thanks to (in no particular order):

  • Nuswit Telephony API
    • Granting permission for this code to be published and sponsoring
  • Gleicon Moraes
    • Testing and using it in the RestMQ web service
  • Vanderson Mota
    • Patching setup.py and PyPi maintenance
  • Andrew Badr
    • Fixing auth bugs and adding current Tornado's features
  • Jon Oberheide
    • Syncing code with Tornado and security features/fixes
  • Silas Sewell
    • Syncing code and minor mail fix
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