Routes 1.4 Release and Web Services

This is slightly old as Routes 1.4 was released about a week and a half ago, but I thought it deserved some attention. There were a handful of fixes and some slightly major feature enhancements in 1.4.

From the changelog:

  • Fixed bug with map.resource related to member methods, found in Rails version.
  • Fixed bug with map.resource member methods not requiring a member id.
  • Fixed bug related to handling keyword argument controller.
  • Added map.resource command which can automatically generate a batch of routes
intended to be used in a REST-ful manner by a web framework.
  • Added URL generation handling for a ‘method’ argument. If ‘method’ is specified, it
is not dropped and will be changed to ‘_method’ for use by the framework.
  • Added conditions option to map.connect. Accepts a dict with optional keyword args
‘method’ or ‘function’. Method is a list of HTTP methods that are valid for the route. Function is a function that will be called with environ, matchdict where matchdict is the dict created by the URL match.
  • Fixed redirect_to function for using absolute URL’s. redirect_to now passes all
args to url_for, then passes the resulting URL to the redirect function. Reported by climbus.

Web Resources

The map.resource command is based directly off the Simply Restful Rails plugin which adds support for various verb-oriented controller actions in a RESTful service style approach. The Simply Restful layout is more or less the exact service style laid out in the Atom Publishing Protocol.

It’s a great approach and it also meant providing a few other features to Routes that I hadn’t implemented previously, the most important being able to limit matching of a URL based on the HTTP method used. This is present in the new conditions clause for a Route:


map.connect('user/:id', controller='user', action='edit', 
    conditions={'method', ['GET', 'HEAD']})
map.connect('user/:id', controller='user', action='update',
    conditions={'method', ['PUT']})

The conditions clause can also accept your own function should you want to restrict the route to matching based off some other criteria (sub-domain, IP address, etc).


def stop_comcast(environ, match): if 'comcast.net’ in environ['REMOTE_HOST’]: return False return True

map.connect(’:controller/:action/:id’, conditions={'function’:stop_comcast})

David Heinemeier Hansson recently posted an entry about Resources on Rails discussing how important web services are. The other key point was to make it easier to write controllers that could not only give you easy browser access to your resources, but provide a web service API as well.

The two snippets shown above give you an edit and update capability that restricts matching based off the HTTP method (verb). Writing a huge mess of those for the rest of the functions needed for a full web service API like Atom is a bit of busy-body work, so in the opinionated style of Rails a single command wraps up the whole thing. In Routes it looks like this:


map.resource('user')

That will make the two routes at the top of this entry in addition to routes that handle PUT, and DELETE. It maps them out to a set of actions in the controller, and provides the capability to easily add more methods for specific verbs.

The map.resource command is still getting tuned up, and we’re integrating the additional functionality it provides back into Pylons as well. Josh Triplett also wrote some Python code that will parse HTTP Accept headers fully so that we can add some nice functionality to use in the controller to return the appropriate data given what the client is expecting (HTML, XML, JSON, etc.)

If you’re using a Python web framework that doesn’t use Routes… maybe its time to put a request in. :)