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ideas for a new useful webserver. something to replace apache in breadth and utility.

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Octocat-spinner-32 README.creole
Octocat-spinner-32 s.py
README.creole

A new webserver

This is a sketch of a new sort of webserver.

This new sort of webserver would make "normal" things easier. "normal" things are the kind of things you do with Apache: serving files, setting up nice indexing, filtering with xslt (or other things), serving files or small one off urls easily.

Here's an example of what the config/bootstrap of such a server might look like:

  from somemodule import admin_callable, summary_callable
  from os.path import join as joinpath

  server = Server(port=8000)                    # starts a webserver on port 8000     
  server.docroot = "/home/woome/ci"             # set the docroot for this namespace  
  server.directory["/"].index.auto = True       # make an auto index on the directory 
  server.directory["/"].index.header.virtual = "/summary"  # include the url /summary in the index
  server.url["/summary/$"] = summary_callable   # Define how the summary is generated
  server.url["/summary/$"].filter.xslt.filename = "transforms/summary.xslt" # Filter the summary with an XSLT
  admin = server.namespace["/admin/$"]          # makes a namespace for more config   
  admin.url["/user/$"] = list_users             # Define an admin handler
  admin.url["/user/(?P<username>[A-Za-z]+)/$"] = show_user # Define a user admin handler

That is designed to be written by a user. Obviously, the above is a relatively complex config for this kind of use case.

Namespaces

Namespaces are obviously url spaces declared with a prefix. These seem relatively difficult to implement so I may not do these for now.

Docroot

If a docroot is defined then the server automatically serves files from the filesystem. This is what I was aiming for, something as easy to get going with as apache, but a bit more flexible and with less mad syntax.

However, docroot and file serving as a special case does irk me. Why is it not possible to do auto-indexing across all sorts of different collection types? Maybe we could define collection types (filesystems, sql results, json values, etc...) On the other hand, filesystem serving is pretty obvious and common.

Filters

The reason for doing this server is so I have the opportunity to make a lot of things better than they are with apache. One of the key areas I want to achieve this is with filters.

Apache has mod_xslt and other things but it's complex and constrained. I would like to make it easy to filter things like xml and json and return html from the server side. Especially json. I like the idea, for example, of returning the auto directory lists as json. If a filter can be added to the directory to filter the json into html we have a really powerful medium.

If that can be made to work well then virtual directorys might be possible where you make a driver to deliver data for a namespace from some source (eg: a database).

Then it will be really easy to make very RESTfull services very quickly.

More missing things

Any idea about what the API for callables is like is missing. Maybe it would just be CGI, maybe it would be something else python standardy like webob.

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