Step 2: The Base Structure

Now let’s get right into it and create a module for our application. Let’s create a file called in the shortly folder. At first we will need a bunch of imports. I will pull in all the imports here, even if they are not used right away, to keep it from being confusing:

import os
import redis
import urlparse
from werkzeug.wrappers import Request, Response
from werkzeug.routing import Map, Rule
from werkzeug.exceptions import HTTPException, NotFound
from werkzeug.wsgi import SharedDataMiddleware
from werkzeug.utils import redirect
from jinja2 import Environment, FileSystemLoader

Then we can create the basic structure for our application and a function to create a new instance of it, optionally with a piece of WSGI middleware that exports all the files on the static folder on the web:

class Shortly(object):

    def __init__(self, config):
        self.redis = redis.Redis(config['redis_host'], config['redis_port'])

    def dispatch_request(self, request):
        return Response('Hello World!')

    def wsgi_app(self, environ, start_response):
        request = Request(environ)
        response = self.dispatch_request(request)
        return response(environ, start_response)

    def __call__(self, environ, start_response):
        return self.wsgi_app(environ, start_response)

def create_app(redis_host='localhost', redis_port=6379, with_static=True):
    app = Shortly({
        'redis_host':       redis_host,
        'redis_port':       redis_port
    if with_static:
        app.wsgi_app = SharedDataMiddleware(app.wsgi_app, {
            '/static':  os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__), 'static')
    return app

Lastly we can add a piece of code that will start a local development server with automatic code reloading and a debugger:

if __name__ == '__main__':
    from werkzeug.serving import run_simple
    app = create_app()
    run_simple('', 5000, app, use_debugger=True, use_reloader=True)

The basic idea here is that our Shortly class is an actual WSGI application. The __call__ method directly dispatches to wsgi_app. This is done so that we can wrap wsgi_app to apply middlewares like we do in the create_app function. The actual wsgi_app method then creates a Request object and calls the dispatch_request method which then has to return a Response object which is then evaluated as WSGI application again. As you can see: turtles all the way down. Both the Shortlyclass we create, as well as any request object in Werkzeug implements the WSGI interface. As a result of that you could even return another WSGI application from the dispatch_request method.

The create_app factory function can be used to create a new instance of our application. Not only will it pass some parameters as configuration to the application but also optionally add a WSGI middleware that exports static files. This way we have access to the files from the static folder even when we are not configuring our server to provide them which is very helpful for development.