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The asyncore module

This module provides a “reactive” socket implementation. Instead of creating socket objects, and calling methods on them to do things, this module lets you write code that is called when something can be done. To implement an asynchronous socket handler, subclass the dispatcher class, and override one or more of the following methods:

  • writable is called by the asyncore framework to check if the dispatcher has data to send. The default implementation always returns True.

  • readable is called to check if the dispatcher is ready to process incoming data, if any. The default implementation always returns True.

  • handle_connect is called when a connection is successfully established.

  • handle_expt is called when a connection fails (Windows), or when out-of-band data arrives (Unix).

  • handle_accept is called when a connection request is made to a listening socket. The callback should call the accept method to get the client socket. In most cases, the callback should create another socket handler to handle the actual communication.

  • handle_read is called when there is data waiting to be read from the socket. The callback should call the recv method to get the data.

  • handle_write is called when data can be written to the socket. Use the send method to write data.

  • handle_close is called when the socket is closed or reset.

  • handle_error(type, value, traceback) is called if a Python error occurs in any of the other callbacks. The default implementation prints an abbreviated traceback to sys.stdout.

The first example shows a time client, similar to the one for the socket module:

Example: Using the asyncore module to get the time from a time server
# File: asyncore-example-1.py

import asyncore
import socket, time

# reference time (in seconds since 1900-01-01 00:00:00)
TIME1970 = 2208988800L # 1970-01-01 00:00:00

class TimeRequest(asyncore.dispatcher):
    # time requestor (as defined in RFC 868)

    def __init__(self, host, port=37):
        asyncore.dispatcher.__init__(self)
        self.create_socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)
        self.connect((host, port))

    def writable(self):
        return 0 # don't have anything to write

    def handle_connect(self):
        pass # connection succeeded

    def handle_expt(self):
        self.close() # connection failed, shutdown

    def handle_read(self):
        # get local time
        here = int(time.time()) + TIME1970

        # get and unpack server time
        s = self.recv(4)
        there = ord(s[3]) + (ord(s[2])<<8) + (ord(s[1])<<16) + (ord(s[0])<<24L)

        self.adjust_time(int(here - there))

        self.handle_close() # we don't expect more data

    def handle_close(self):
        self.close()

    def adjust_time(self, delta):
        # override this method!
        print "time difference is", delta

#
# try it out

request = TimeRequest("www.python.org")

asyncore.loop()

log: adding channel <TimeRequest  at 8cbe90>
time difference is 28
log: closing channel 192:<TimeRequest connected at 8cbe90>

If you don’t want the log messages, override the log method in your dispatcher subclass.

Here’s the corresponding time server. Note that it uses two dispatcher subclasses, one for the listening socket, and one for the client channel.

Example: Using the asyncore module to implement a time server
# File: asyncore-example-2.py

import asyncore
import socket, time

# reference time
TIME1970 = 2208988800L

class TimeChannel(asyncore.dispatcher):

    def handle_write(self):
        t = int(time.time()) + TIME1970
        t = chr(t>>24&255) + chr(t>>16&255) + chr(t>>8&255) + chr(t&255)
        self.send(t)
        self.close()

class TimeServer(asyncore.dispatcher):

    def __init__(self, port=37):
        asyncore.dispatcher.__init__(self)
        self.port = port
        self.create_socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)
        self.bind(("", port))
        self.listen(5)
        print "listening on port", self.port

    def handle_accept(self):
        channel, addr = self.accept()
        TimeChannel(channel)

server = TimeServer(8037)
asyncore.loop()

log: adding channel <TimeServer  at 8cb940>
listening on port 8037
log: adding channel <TimeChannel  at 8b2fd0>
log: closing channel 52:<TimeChannel connected at 8b2fd0>

In addition to the plain dispatcher, this module also includes a dispatcher_with_send class. This class allows you send larger amounts of data, without clogging up the network transport buffers.

The following module defines an AsyncHTTP class based on the dispatcher_with_send class. When you create an instance of this class, it issues an HTTP GET request, and sends the incoming data to a “consumer” target object.

Example: Using the asyncore module to do HTTP requests
# File: SimpleAsyncHTTP.py

import asyncore
import string, socket
import StringIO
import mimetools, urlparse

class AsyncHTTP(asyncore.dispatcher_with_send):
    # HTTP requestor

    def __init__(self, uri, consumer):
        asyncore.dispatcher_with_send.__init__(self)

        self.uri = uri
        self.consumer = consumer

        # turn the uri into a valid request
        scheme, host, path, params, query, fragment = urlparse.urlparse(uri)
        assert scheme == "http", "only supports HTTP requests"
        try:
            host, port = string.split(host, ":", 1)
            port = int(port)
        except (TypeError, ValueError):
            port = 80 # default port
        if not path:
            path = "/"
        if params:
            path = path + ";" + params
        if query:
            path = path + "?" + query

        self.request = "GET %s HTTP/1.0\r\nHost: %s\r\n\r\n" % (path, host)

        self.host = host
        self.port = port

        self.status = None
        self.header = None

        self.data = ""

        # get things going!
        self.create_socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)
        self.connect((host, port))

    def handle_connect(self):
        # connection succeeded
        self.send(self.request)

    def handle_expt(self):
        # connection failed; notify consumer (status is None)
        self.close()
        try:
            http_header = self.consumer.http_header
        except AttributeError:
            pass
        else:
            http_header(self)

    def handle_read(self):
        data = self.recv(2048)
        if not self.header:
            self.data = self.data + data
            try:
                i = string.index(self.data, "\r\n\r\n")
            except ValueError:
                return # continue
            else:
                # parse header
                fp = StringIO.StringIO(self.data[:i+4])
                # status line is "HTTP/version status message"
                status = fp.readline()
                self.status = string.split(status, " ", 2)
                # followed by a rfc822-style message header
                self.header = mimetools.Message(fp)
                # followed by a newline, and the payload (if any)
                data = self.data[i+4:]
                self.data = ""
                # notify consumer (status is non-zero)
                try:
                    http_header = self.consumer.http_header
                except AttributeError:
                    pass
                else:
                    http_header(self)
                if not self.connected:
                    return # channel was closed by consumer

        self.consumer.feed(data)

    def handle_close(self):
        self.consumer.close()
        self.close()

And here’s a simple script using that class:

Example: Using the SimpleAsyncHTTP class
# File: asyncore-example-3.py

import SimpleAsyncHTTP
import asyncore

class DummyConsumer:
    size = 0

    def http_header(self, request):
        # handle header
        if request.status is None:
            print "connection failed"
        else:
            print "status", "=>", request.status
            for key, value in request.header.items():
                print key, "=", value

    def feed(self, data):
        # handle incoming data
        self.size = self.size + len(data)

    def close(self):
        # end of data
        print self.size, "bytes in body"

#
# try it out

consumer = DummyConsumer()

request = SimpleAsyncHTTP.AsyncHTTP(
    "http://www.pythonware.com",
    consumer
    )

asyncore.loop()

log: adding channel <AsyncHTTP  at 8e2850>
status => ['HTTP/1.1', '200', 'OK\015\012']
server = Apache/Unix (Unix)
content-type = text/html
content-length = 3730
...
3730 bytes in body
log: closing channel 156:<AsyncHTTP connected at 8e2850>

Note that the consumer interface is designed to be compatible with the htmllib and xmllib parsers. This allows you to parse HTML or XML data on the fly. Note that the http_header method is optional; if it isn’t defined, it’s simply ignored.

A problem with the above example is that it doesn’t work for redirected resources. The following example adds an extra consumer layer, which handles the redirection:

Example: Using the SimpleAsyncHTTP class with redirection
# File: asyncore-example-4.py

import SimpleAsyncHTTP
import asyncore

class DummyConsumer:
    size = 0

    def http_header(self, request):
        # handle header
        if request.status is None:
            print "connection failed"
        else:
            print "status", "=>", request.status
            for key, value in request.header.items():
                print key, "=", value

    def feed(self, data):
        # handle incoming data
        self.size = self.size + len(data)

    def close(self):
        # end of data
        print self.size, "bytes in body"

class RedirectingConsumer:

    def __init__(self, consumer):
        self.consumer = consumer

    def http_header(self, request):
        # handle header
        if request.status is None or\
           request.status[1] not in ("301", "302"):
            try:
                http_header = self.consumer.http_header
            except AttributeError:
                pass
            else:
                return http_header(request)
        else:
            # redirect!
            uri = request.header["location"]
            print "redirecting to", uri, "..."
            request.close()
            SimpleAsyncHTTP.AsyncHTTP(uri, self)

    def feed(self, data):
        self.consumer.feed(data)

    def close(self):
        self.consumer.close()

#
# try it out

consumer = RedirectingConsumer(DummyConsumer())

request = SimpleAsyncHTTP.AsyncHTTP(
    "http://www.pythonware.com/library",
    consumer
    )

asyncore.loop()

log: adding channel <AsyncHTTP  at 8e64b0>
redirecting to http://www.pythonware.com/library/ ...
log: closing channel 48:<AsyncHTTP connected at 8e64b0>
log: adding channel <AsyncHTTP  at 8ea790>
status => ['HTTP/1.1', '200', 'OK\015\012']
server = Apache/Unix (Unix)
content-type = text/html
content-length = 387
...
387 bytes in body
log: closing channel 236:<AsyncHTTP connected at 8ea790>

If the server returns status 301 (permanent redirection) or 302 (temporary redirection), the redirecting consumer closes the current request, and issues a new one for the new address. All other calls to the consumer are delegated to the original consumer.