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Creating Your First Pyramid Application

In this chapter, we will walk through the creation of a tiny Pyramid application. After we’re finished creating the application, we’ll explain in more detail how it works.

Hello World

Here’s one of the very simplest Pyramid applications:

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from paste.httpserver import serve
from pyramid.config import Configurator
from pyramid.response import Response


def hello_world(request):
    return Response('Hello %(name)s!' % request.matchdict)

if __name__ == '__main__':
    config = Configurator()
    config.add_route('hello', '/hello/{name}')
    config.add_view(hello_world, route_name='hello')
    app = config.make_wsgi_app()
    serve(app, host='0.0.0.0')

When this code is inserted into a Python script named helloworld.py and executed by a Python interpreter which has the Pyramid software installed, an HTTP server is started on TCP port 8080:

$ python helloworld.py
serving on 0.0.0.0:8080 view at http://127.0.0.1:8080

When port 8080 is visited by a browser on the URL /hello/world, the server will simply serve up the text “Hello world!”

Press Ctrl-C to stop the application.

Now that we have a rudimentary understanding of what the application does, let’s examine it piece-by-piece.

Imports

The above helloworld.py script uses the following set of import statements:

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from paste.httpserver import serve
from pyramid.config import Configurator
from pyramid.response import Response

The script imports the Configurator class from the pyramid.config module. An instance of the Configurator class is later used to configure your Pyramid application.

Like many other Python web frameworks, Pyramid uses the WSGI protocol to connect an application and a web server together. The paste.httpserver server is used in this example as a WSGI server for convenience, as the paste package is a dependency of Pyramid itself.

The script also imports the pyramid.response.Response class for later use. An instance of this class will be used to create a web response.

View Callable Declarations

The above script, beneath its set of imports, defines a function named hello_world.

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def hello_world(request):
    return Response('Hello %(name)s!' % request.matchdict)

This function doesn’t do anything very difficult. The functions accepts a single argument (request). The hello_world function returns an instance of the pyramid.response.Response. The single argument to the class’ constructor is value computed from arguments matched from the url route. This value becomes the body of the response.

This function is known as a view callable. A view callable accepts a single argument, request. It is expected to return a response object. A view callable doesn’t need to be a function; it can be represented via another type of object, like a class or an instance, but for our purposes here, a function serves us well.

A view callable is always called with a request object. A request object is a representation of an HTTP request sent to Pyramid via the active WSGI server.

A view callable is required to return a response object because a response object has all the information necessary to formulate an actual HTTP response; this object is then converted to text by the WSGI server which called Pyramid and it is sent back to the requesting browser. To return a response, each view callable creates an instance of the Response class. In the hello_world function, a string is passed as the body to the response.

Application Configuration

In the above script, the following code represents the configuration of this simple application. The application is configured using the previously defined imports and function definitions, placed within the confines of an if statement:

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if __name__ == '__main__':
    config = Configurator()
    config.add_route('hello', '/hello/{name}')
    config.add_view(hello_world, route_name='hello')
    app = config.make_wsgi_app()
    serve(app, host='0.0.0.0')

Let’s break this down piece-by-piece.

Configurator Construction

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if __name__ == '__main__':
    config = Configurator()

The if __name__ == '__main__': line in the code sample above represents a Python idiom: the code inside this if clause is not invoked unless the script containing this code is run directly from the operating system command line. For example, if the file named helloworld.py contains the entire script body, the code within the if statement will only be invoked when python helloworld.py is executed from the command line.

Using the if clause is necessary – or at least best practice – because code in a Python .py file may be eventually imported via the Python import statement by another .py file. .py files that are imported by other .py files are referred to as modules. By using the if __name__ == 'main': idiom, the script above is indicating that it does not want the code within the if statement to execute if this module is imported from another; the code within the if block should only be run during a direct script execution.

The config = Configurator() line above creates an instance of the Configurator class. The resulting config object represents an API which the script uses to configure this particular Pyramid application. Methods called on the Configurator will cause registrations to be made in an application registry associated with the application.

Adding Configuration

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    config.add_route('hello', '/hello/{name}')
    config.add_view(hello_world, route_name='hello')

First line above calls the pyramid.config.Configurator.add_route() method, which registers a route to match any url path that begins with /hello/ followed by a string.

The second line, config.add_view(hello_world, route_name='hello'), registers the hello_world function as a view callable and makes sure that it will be called when the hello route is matched.

WSGI Application Creation

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    app = config.make_wsgi_app()

After configuring views and ending configuration, the script creates a WSGI application via the pyramid.config.Configurator.make_wsgi_app() method. A call to make_wsgi_app implies that all configuration is finished (meaning all method calls to the configurator which set up views, and various other configuration settings have been performed). The make_wsgi_app method returns a WSGI application object that can be used by any WSGI server to present an application to a requestor. WSGI is a protocol that allows servers to talk to Python applications. We don’t discuss WSGI in any depth within this book, however, you can learn more about it by visiting wsgi.org.

The Pyramid application object, in particular, is an instance of a class representing a Pyramid router. It has a reference to the application registry which resulted from method calls to the configurator used to configure it. The router consults the registry to obey the policy choices made by a single application. These policy choices were informed by method calls to the Configurator made earlier; in our case, the only policy choices made were implied by calls to its add_view and add_route methods.

WSGI Application Serving

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    serve(app, host='0.0.0.0')

Finally, we actually serve the application to requestors by starting up a WSGI server. We happen to use the paste.httpserver.serve() WSGI server runner, passing it the app object (a router) as the application we wish to serve. We also pass in an argument host=='0.0.0.0', meaning “listen on all TCP interfaces.” By default, the Paste HTTP server listens only on the 127.0.0.1 interface, which is problematic if you’re running the server on a remote system and you wish to access it with a web browser from a local system. We don’t specify a TCP port number to listen on; this means we want to use the default TCP port, which is 8080.

When this line is invoked, it causes the server to start listening on TCP port 8080. The server will serve requests forever, or at least until we stop it by killing the process which runs it (usually by pressing Ctrl-C in the terminal we used to start it).

Conclusion

Our hello world application is one of the simplest possible Pyramid applications, configured “imperatively”. We can see that it’s configured imperatively because the full power of Python is available to us as we perform configuration tasks.

References

For more information about the API of a Configurator object, see Configurator .

For more information about view configuration, see View Configuration.