PyCon 2007 is nearing a close; here are some notes on how it affected CherryPy:
Chad Whitacre (author of Aspen) herded several cats into a room on Sunday and forced us to discuss the various issues surrounding Python web application deployment. This is hinted at in the WSGI spec:
Finally, it should be mentioned that the current version of WSGI does not prescribe any particular mechanism for "deploying" an application for use with a web server or server gateway. At the present time, this is necessarily implementation-defined by the server or gateway. After a sufficient number of servers and frameworks have implemented WSGI to provide field experience with varying deployment requirements, it may make sense to create another PEP, describing a deployment standard for WSGI servers and application frameworks.
There were three basic realms where the participants agreed we could try to collaborate/standardize:
Process control: stop, start, restart, daemonization, signal handling, socket re-use, drop privileges, etc. If you're familiar with CherryPy 3, you'll recognize this list as 95% of the current cherrypy.engine object. The CherryPy team has already been discussing ways of breaking up the Engine object; this may facilitate that (and vice-versa). Joseph Tate volunteered to look at socket re-use issues specifically, but the general consensus seemed to be that much of this would be hashed out on Web-SIG.
WSGI stack composition: Jim Fulton proposed that we could all agree on Paste Deploy (at least a good portion of the API) to manage this in a cross-framework manner. Most heads nodded, "yes". Jim also proposed that each of the framework authors take the next week to refamiliarize themselves with Deploy, and then start pestering Ian Bicking with specific API issues. Ian suggested that he should fork Paste Deploy into another project specifically for this. For CherryPy, this would first mean offering standard egg entry points. [Personally, I'd like to standardize on a pure-Python API for deploy, not a config file format API. In other words, make the config file format optional, so that users of CP-only apps could avoid having to learn a distinct config file format for deployment. It should be possible to transform various config file formats into the same Python object(s).]
Benchmarks: Jim also suggested we create a standard WSGI HTTP server benchmark suite, with various test applications and concurrency scenarios. This would compare various WSGI HTTP servers, as opposed to CherryPy's existing benchmark suite which compares successive versions of the full CP stack. Ian volunteered to begin work on that project (with the expectation that others would contribute substantial use cases, etc).
Others who were present for at least a portion of the long discussion: me, Mark Ramm, Kevin Dangoor, Ben Bangert, Jonathan Ellis, Matt Good, Brian Beck, and Calvin Hendryx-Parker.
After some discussion with Mark (and he with Ian and Ben), we agreed that CherryPy could do more in the WSGI-middleware-authoring department. There is a continuous pressure to simply re-use or fix up the existing CherryPy request object to fill this need; however, there are some fundamental problems with that approach (such as the use of threadlocals to manage context, and the difficulty of streaming WSGI output through a CherryPy app). At the moment, I'm leaning toward adding a new API to CherryPy which would be similar to the application API, but specifically targeted at middleware authoring.
What should have been 7 HTTP requests is now 81, and what's worse is that all of the feedburner responses are 200's. This is no way to run an Internet. At the least, feedburner, please do the fancy webhit dance for only 1 of the 3 gifs for each entry in the feed.
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