I occasionally spend time randomly surfing the Python standard library docs; there is a lot of useful functionality included in the language’s standard distribution, such as, for instance, the
socketserver module, which I didn’t know about until this evening and which is one of the most useful I’ve seen in a while. As ever, the docs are straightforward in their self-description:
The `socketserver` module simplifies the task of writing network servers.
This is something of an understatement. To demonstrate this, here is a simple CaaS (capitalization as a service) server written with
socketserver and one with
import socket with socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM) as s: s.bind(('', 50006)) s.listen(1) conn, addr = s.accept() with conn: while True: data = conn.recv(1024) if not data: break conn.sendall(data.upper())
And here is the same functionality with
import socketserver class CaaSHandler(socketserver.StreamRequestHandler): def handle(self): data = self.rfile.readline() self.wfile.write(data.upper()) if __name__ == "__main__": server = socketserver.TCPServer(('', 50007), CaaSHandler) server.serve_forever()
Both of these take connections synchronously and sequentially, capitalize the data they recieve, and return it. The main difference is that the
socketserver version can accept as much data as there is memory, while the
socket version can accept only a limited amount (1024 bytes in this example).
This is because
StreamRequestHandler provides the file-like objects
wfile which expose all the normal luxuries of Python 3 files, like
read. The parent class of the handler you write will deal with setting the buffer size, looping until a newline or EOF is encountered, and dealing with client-first and server-first protocols. We could just as easily add a welcome message/prompt to the program; just make the
CaaSHandler class look like this:
class CaaSHandler(socketserver.StreamRequestHandler): def handle(self): self.wfile.write(b"Enter some data to be capitalized:\n") data = self.rfile.readline() self.wfile.write(data.upper())
without any changes to the client’s behavior. Adding that functionality in the
socket version is somewhat nontrivial; how, for instance, one would handle both clients that expect to send data first and clients that expect to receive it first is less than obvious.
The second useful facility that
socketserver provides is the
xxxServer classes. I use
TCPServer here, to which I passed a tuple of
(hostname, portnumber) and the name of my handler class,
CaaSHandler. I could also have used
UDPServer for datagrams or
UnixDatagramServerfor Unix sockets.
socketserver module also provides mixins for threading and forking servers, which makes writing asynchronous network services much less painful than using
threading or even