A python API into F5 Networks Big-IP
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pycontrol rearranging for pypi. Oct 26, 2012
README Update README Oct 29, 2013
setup.py rearranging for pypi. Oct 26, 2012

README

###
NOTE NOTE NOTE

I'm no longer working on this project, so feel free to fork it. No time and no f5 gear to test with,
so it makes little sense for me to try and maintain it.

For the current Python API to f5 Big-IP products, see DevCentral (devcentral.f5.com) for BigSuds, the new
version.

Thanks for your interst in Pycontrol! It was a small project that lots of people used, which is really gratifying and
I sincerely hope you found it useful. Please feel free to hack on it and make it better if you think
it's worth keeping alive!

--Matt

###


Welcome to pycontrol, version 2.1.

New features in this release: session support for BigIP v11.x, aribtrary suds kwargs can now be passed into 
pycontrol, e.g. retxml=True.

To use sessions, simply pass in sesssions=True into your keyword arguments list. This will automatically load
the System.Sessions WSDL, fetch a sessionid, and add it to your subsequent calls. Transaction support
is all done manually via the System.Session WSDL so you've got full control.

#-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Features. Many of the new features are driven by Suds, the new underlying Soap API.
#-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

- Attribute-driven for easy introspection of iControl.

- Optional single-file install. No longer requires root access. Just drop it somewhere you'll remember and
add it to sys.path, or drop it onto sys.path itself.

- On-box WSDL or remote-fetch. This means you can have *multiple* WSDL versions available and it's
easy to point pycontrol either to a BigIP or a local WSDL file.

- Support for concurrent calls via the suds clone() method. For example, clone() multiple pycontrol objects,
then use threads to call multiple systems concurrently and fetch results (See samples dir).

- Sane exception handling. More features here will be added in future releases. For example, now we see information that 
is actually useful:

		WebFault: Server raised fault: 'Exception caught in LocalLB::urn:iControl:LocalLB/Pool::get_lb_method()
		Exception: Common::OperationFailed
				primary_error_code   : 16908342 (0x01020036)
				secondary_error_code : 0
				error_string         : 01020036:3: The requested pool (fa) was not found

With pycontrol v2 we clearly see that we've passed a pool name that doesn't exist. The old pycontrol would just die semi-silently with a Qname error.

- Easy debug logging via standard syslog facilities. Set "debug=True" on instantiation for trace logging.

- Support for in-object endpoint changes. This allows you to create one object for, say, LocalLB.Pool and point it
to different BigIP systems. ***NOTE*** this functionality requires a local directory fetch of the WSDL (i.e. the 'fromurl'  won't work).

- New arguments to support:
	- Arbitrary directories where local WSDLs live. This allows multiple WSDL versions.
	- HTTP fetch of WSDLs from a BigIP device. 

- "Pythonic" type objects with attributes. For example, you create a 'Common.IPPortMember' object, then set 
its 'address' and 'port' attributes.

- Exposure of the underlying SOAP API, Suds. This will allow for power-users to get at all of the underlying API for 100% flexibility.
Suds is an excellent, fast-moving project. See https://fedorahosted.org/suds/ for more information on this excellent library. 

- Easy logging. Just pass in debug=True when you create your pycontrol object for meaningful logging to stdout/stderr. This will dump 
the raw XML to stdout so you can see what is going on.

#-----------
INSTALLATION
#-----------

Unzip the bundle into a directory, cd into it, then run 'python setup.py install'.

Then confirm. For example:

Python 2.6 (r26:66721, Oct  2 2008, 11:35:03) [MSC v.1500 32 bit (Intel)] on win
32
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pycontrol.pycontrol
>>> print pycontrol.pycontrol.__version__
2.0
>>> print pycontrol.pycontrol.__revision__
r67

Alternatively, extract the bundle and just put pycontrol.py somewhere on your path.

#---------
Quickstart
#---------

Initialization: Fetch the remote WSDL with the 'fromurl' argument.

In [2]: import pycontrol.pycontrol as pc
In [3]: b = pc.BIGIP(hostname='192.168.1.245', username='admin', password='admin', fromurl=True, wsdls = ['LocalLB.Pool'])
# Now let's fetch a list.
In [4]: b.LocalLB.Pool.get_list()
Out[4]:
[test,
 pyc2,
 dummyServer,
 WEBSITE_POOL,
 TEST,
 PC21258742809,
 PC21258652929,
 PC21258652776,
 PC21258652836,
 test2,
 test3,
 PC21259981530,
 PC21259981832,
 test1]

Now, let's point pycontrol to a local directory with a cache of our WSDLs. This example is on Windows,
hence the silly looking path.

In [6]: b = pc.BIGIP(hostname='10.100.100.245', username='admin', password='admin', directory='c:\\tmp\\', wsdls=['LocalLB.Pool'])
...which will behave mostly the same way.

See the samples directory and the tutorial for using the type factory.

#-------------------------
Frequently asked questions
#-------------------------

What's with the stronger typing? Why can't I just pass in normal python data structures into my calls?
	- In some cases, you can (this is why we require Suds >= 0.3.8, with improved Soap-enc: array support).
      However, if you're creating more complex objects (like a virtual server), you'll need to use the factory()
      method to create your types. Then you simply set python attributes against them. See the sample code for ideas on how to 
      do this. This allows suds to marshall/un-marshall the python objects correctly, and allows us to set attributes instead of
	  wading through a nested set of lists with dict() object inside of them :).

How can I figure out how to create my types? 
	- Use the API. Pycontrol v2 adheres to the iControl API very closely, so let the API guide you. Pycontrol
	  has two attributes to help give you hints on how to build a particular call: 'params' and 'response_type'. 
	  For example: 

		In [10]: b.LocalLB.Pool.get_simple_timeout.params
		Out[10]: [(pool_names, u'Common.StringSequence')]

		In [11]: b.LocalLB.Pool.get_simple_timeout.response_type
		Out[11]: u'Common.ULongSequence'

	  ...Which tells us what we need to pass in, and what to expect as a response.


#------------
Known issues
#------------

-- fromurl=True and directory='/foo/' behave differently with clone and with the set_options() Suds method. To change the endpoint on a single pycontrol object, you'll need to construct the object with the 'directory' argument, not 'fromurl'. The reason for this is subtle but tricky: the Suds transport API is setup in a way to deal with basic authentication bugs from various servers. It's not clear if these two options will ever be fully consistent.

-- 'Mismatched tag' errors on init from the underlying SAX handler. I've tried to work around this issue with pycontrol.  Please let me know if you run into it. Note that a bad WSDL name can erroneously cause this exception as well. Suds has a cache feature, which we really don't need or use - there is a difficult to find (and understand) bug with the caching code. Likely to be fixed in subsequent versions of Suds. For now, pycontrol should work around it with a try/except block.

-- "Duplicate Domain" errors may be thrown from Suds if you're using directory='' in the constructor to pycontrol. This occurs when the WSDL you're referring to doesn't exist in the directory you've pointed pycontrol to.  TODO: We'll need to add a check for the wsdl file and thow a fatal exception if it doesn't exist.

-- "Maximum recursion" warnings on python 2.6 with the clone() method. This is a non-fatal warning
thrown by Python 2.6. Likely related to issue 5508: http://bugs.python.org/issue5508