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Deploying on IIS7 via PyISAPIe

Deploying on IIS7 via PyISAPIe

This guide is an account of the various steps, including snippets of relevant code that tweaked and added, in order to get a script to work on IIS7 using PyISAPIe. Please note that you must have Python as well as the PyWin32 extensions installed on Windows. This guide was tested on two different 64-bit versions of Windows server with 32-bit versions of Python 2.6.6 installed and on IIS7 and IIS6.

First and foremost, I had to install the module on the system. Having had trouble before with IIS with installed through easy_install, I decided to be safe and installed it from source. Getting to work with PyISAPIe required a small hack. In the file Lib\site-packages\web\ lies the following function:

def _is_dev_mode():
    # quick hack to check if the program is running in dev mode.
    if os.environ.has_key('SERVER_SOFTWARE') \
        or os.environ.has_key('PHP_FCGI_CHILDREN') \
        or 'fcgi' in sys.argv or 'fastcgi' in sys.argv \
        or 'mod_wsgi' in sys.argv:
            return False
    return True

In its pristine state, when is imported from a source file through PyISAPIe, an exception is thrown. The exception, while I don't have the exact message, is about it complaining about sys.argv not having an attribute argv, which reads fishy. Since the function _is_dev_mode() only checks whether is being run in development mode, I thought I didn't care about it since I wanted everything to run in production mode. I edited the function such that its body would be bypassed, while it returned a False boolean value. It looked like this:

def _is_dev_mode():
    return False
    # quick hack to check if the program is running in dev mode.
    if os.environ.has_key('SERVER_SOFTWARE') \
        or os.environ.has_key('PHP_FCGI_CHILDREN') \
        or 'fcgi' in sys.argv or 'fastcgi' in sys.argv \
        or 'mod_wsgi' in sys.argv:
            return False
    return True

This innocuous little addition did away with the exception.

Next up, I used default Hello World-esque example of I called it (I placed it inside the folder C:\websites\myproject). It looked like this:

  import web
  urls = (
      '/.*', 'hello',
  class hello:
      def GET(self):
          return "Hello, world."
  application = web.application(urls, globals()).wsgifunc()

It was pretty simple. You have to pay particular attention on the call to web.application. I called the wsgifunc() to return a WSGI-compatible function to boot the application.

I set up a website under IIS using the IIS Management Console. Since I was working on a 64-bit server edition of Windows and had chosen to use 32-bit version of Python and all modules, I made sure to enable 32-bit support for the application pool being used for the website. This was important.

I decided to keep the PyISAPIe folder inside the folder where rested. This PyISAPIe folder contained the PyISAPIe.dll file, and the Http folder. Inside the Http folder, I placed the most important file of all: the That file could be thought of as the starting point for each request that is made, what glues the Request to the proper Handler and code. I worked with the Examples\WSGI\ available as part of PyISAPIe. I tweaked the file to look like this:

from Http.WSGI import RunWSGI
from Http import Env
#from md5 import md5
from hashlib import md5
import imp
import os
import sys
from code import application
ScriptHandlers = {
    "/api/": application,
def RunScript(Path):
  global ScriptHandlers
    # attempt to call an already-loaded request function.
    return ScriptHandlers[Path]()
  except KeyError:
    # uses the script path's md5 hash to ensure a unique
    # name - not the best way to do it, but it keeps
    # undesired characters out of the name that will
    # mess up the loading.
    Name = '__'+md5(Path).hexdigest().upper()
    ScriptHandlers[Path] = \
      imp.load_source(Name, Env.SCRIPT_TRANSLATED).Request
    return ScriptHandlers[Path]()
# URL prefixes to map to the roots of each application.
Apps = {
  "/api/" : lambda P: RunWSGI(application),
# The main request handler.
def Request():
  # Might be better to do some caching here?
  Name = Env.SCRIPT_NAME
  # Apps might be better off as a tuple-of-tuples,
  # but for the sake of representation I leave it
  # as a dict.
  for App, Handler in Apps.items():
    if Name.startswith(App):
      return Handler(Name)
  # Cause 500 error: there should be a 404 handler, eh?
  raise Exception, "Handler not found."

The important bits to note in the above code are the following:

  • I import application from my code module. I set the PATH to include the directory in which the file is so that the import statement does not complain. (I've to admit that the idea of import application and feeding it into RunWSGI came to while I was in the loo.)
  • I defined a script handler which matches the URL prefix I want to associate with my script. (In hindsight, this isn't necessary, as the RunScript() is not being used in this example).
  • In the Apps dictionary, I again route the URL prefix to the lambda function which actually calls the RunWSGI function and feeds it application.
  • I also imported the md5 function from the hashlib module instead of the md5 module as originally defined in the file. This was because Python complained about md5 module being deprecated and suggested instead of use hashlib.

I then defined a wild-card (Script map) extension in IIS for the website, mapping all requests to the PyISAPIe.dll file in my project folder. Which PyISAPIe.dll file is used is important. By default, it will look for the Http folder in the same directory where the DLL is. I restarted IIS (and possibly even Windows, just to be sure).

And that's pretty much it.

There's a caveat though. If you have specific URLs in your script, you will have to modify each of those URLs to add the /api/ prefix to them (or whatever URL prefix you set in the Without that, will not match any URLs in the file.

Good luck!

PS: If you want to avoid using PyISAPIe, there is a simpler way of deploying on IIS. It is documented crudely over here.

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