Getting started

Let’s start with basic folder structure:

  • project folder named polls. A root of the project. Run all commands from here.
  • application folder named aiohttpdemo_polls inside of it
  • empty file main.py. The place where web server will live

We need this nested aiohttpdemo_polls so we can put config, tests and other related files next to it.

It looks like this:

polls                   <-- [current folder]
└── aiohttpdemo_polls
    └── main.py

aiohttp server is built around aiohttp.web.Application instance. It is used for registering startup/cleanup signals, connecting routes etc.

The following code creates an application:

# aiohttpdemo_polls/main.py
from aiohttp import web

app = web.Application()
web.run_app(app)

Save it and start server by running:

$ python aiohttpdemo_polls/main.py
======== Running on http://0.0.0.0:8080 ========
(Press CTRL+C to quit)

Next, open the displayed link in a browser. It returns a 404: Not Found error. To show something more meaningful than an error, let’s create a route and a view.

Views

Let’s start with the first views. Create the file aiohttpdemo_polls/views.py and add the following to it:

# aiohttpdemo_polls/views.py
from aiohttp import web

async def index(request):
    return web.Response(text='Hello Aiohttp!')

This index view is the simplest view possible in Aiohttp.

Now, we should create a route for this index view. Put the following into aiohttpdemo_polls/routes.py. It is a good practice to separate views, routes, models etc. You’ll have more of each file type, and it is nice to group them into different places:

# aiohttpdemo_polls/routes.py
from views import index

def setup_routes(app):
    app.router.add_get('/', index)

We should add a call to the setup_routes function somewhere. The best place to do this is in main.py:

# aiohttpdemo_polls/main.py
from aiohttp import web
from routes import setup_routes

app = web.Application()
setup_routes(app)
web.run_app(app)

Start server again using python aiohttpdemo_polls/main.py. This time when we open the browser we see:

Hello Aiohttp!

Success! Now, your working directory should look like this:

.
├── ..
└── polls
    └── aiohttpdemo_polls
        ├── main.py
        ├── routes.py
        └── views.py

Configuration files

Note

aiohttp is configuration agnostic. It means the library does not require any specific configuration approach, and it does not have built-in support for any config schema.

Please note these facts:

  1. 99% of servers have configuration files.

  2. Most products (except Python-based solutions like Django and Flask) do not store configs with source code.

    For example Nginx has its own configuration files stored by default under /etc/nginx folder.

    MongoDB stores its config as /etc/mongodb.conf.

  3. Config file validation is a good idea. Strong checks may prevent unnecessary errors during product deployment.

Thus, we suggest to use the following approach:

  1. Push configs as yaml files (json or ini is also good but yaml is preferred).
  2. Load yaml config from a list of predefined locations, e.g. ./config/app_cfg.yaml, /etc/app_cfg.yaml.
  3. Keep the ability to override a config file by a command line parameter, e.g. ./run_app --config=/opt/config/app_cfg.yaml.
  4. Apply strict validation checks to loaded dict. trafaret, colander or JSON schema are good candidates for such job.

One way to store your config is in folder at the same level as aiohttpdemo_polls. Create a config folder and config file at desired location. E.g.:

.
├── ..
└── polls                   <-- [BASE_DIR]
    │
    ├── aiohttpdemo_polls
    │   ├── main.py
    │   ├── routes.py
    │   └── views.py
    │
    └── config
        └── polls.yaml      <-- [config file]

Create a config/polls.yaml file with meaningful option names:

# config/polls.yaml
postgres:
  database: aiohttpdemo_polls
  user: aiohttpdemo_user
  password: aiohttpdemo_pass
  host: localhost
  port: 5432
  minsize: 1
  maxsize: 5

Install pyyaml package:

$ pip install pyyaml

Let’s also create a separate settings.py file. It helps to leave main.py clean and short:

# aiohttpdemo_polls/settings.py
import pathlib
import yaml

BASE_DIR = pathlib.Path(__file__).parent.parent
config_path = BASE_DIR / 'config' / 'polls.yaml'

def get_config(path):
    with open(path) as f:
        config = yaml.safe_load(f)
    return config

config = get_config(config_path)

Next, load the config into the application:

# aiohttpdemo_polls/main.py
from aiohttp import web

from settings import config
from routes import setup_routes

app = web.Application()
setup_routes(app)
app['config'] = config
web.run_app(app)

Now, try to run your app again. Make sure you are running it from BASE_DIR:

$ python aiohttpdemo_polls/main.py
======== Running on http://0.0.0.0:8080 ========
(Press CTRL+C to quit)

For the moment nothing should have changed in application’s behavior. But at least we know how to configure our application.

Database

Server

Here, we assume that you have running database and a user with write access. Refer to Database for details.

Schema

We will use SQLAlchemy to describe database schema for two related models, question and choice:

+---------------+               +---------------+
| question      |               | choice        |
+===============+               +===============+
| id            | <---+         | id            |
+---------------+     |         +---------------+
| question_text |     |         | choice_text   |
+---------------+     |         +---------------+
| pub_date      |     |         | votes         |
+---------------+     |         +---------------+
                      +-------- | question_id   |
                                +---------------+

Create db.py file with database schemas:

# aiohttpdemo_polls/db.py
from sqlalchemy import (
    MetaData, Table, Column, ForeignKey,
    Integer, String, Date
)

meta = MetaData()

question = Table(
    'question', meta,

    Column('id', Integer, primary_key=True),
    Column('question_text', String(200), nullable=False),
    Column('pub_date', Date, nullable=False)
)

choice = Table(
    'choice', meta,

    Column('id', Integer, primary_key=True),
    Column('choice_text', String(200), nullable=False),
    Column('votes', Integer, server_default="0", nullable=False),

    Column('question_id',
           Integer,
           ForeignKey('question.id', ondelete='CASCADE'))
)

Note

It is possible to configure tables in a declarative style like so:

class Question(Base):
    __tablename__ = 'question'

    id = Column(Integer, primary_key=True)
    question_text = Column(String(200), nullable=False)
    pub_date = Column(Date, nullable=False)

But it doesn’t give much benefits later on. SQLAlchemy ORM doesn’t work in asynchronous style and as a result aiopg.sa doesn’t support related ORM expressions such as Question.query.filter_by(question_text='Why').first() or session.query(TableName).all().

You still can make select queries after some code modifications:

from sqlalchemy.sql import select
result = await conn.execute(select([Question]))

instead of

result = await conn.execute(question.select())

But it is not as easy to deal with as update/delete queries.

Now we need to create tables in database as it was described with sqlalchemy. Helper script can do that for you. Create a new file init_db.py in project’s root:

# polls/init_db.py
from sqlalchemy import create_engine, MetaData

from aiohttpdemo_polls.settings import config
from aiohttpdemo_polls.db import question, choice


DSN = "postgresql://{user}:{password}@{host}:{port}/{database}"

def create_tables(engine):
    meta = MetaData()
    meta.create_all(bind=engine, tables=[question, choice])


def sample_data(engine):
    conn = engine.connect()
    conn.execute(question.insert(), [
        {'question_text': 'What\'s new?',
         'pub_date': '2015-12-15 17:17:49.629+02'}
    ])
    conn.execute(choice.insert(), [
        {'choice_text': 'Not much', 'votes': 0, 'question_id': 1},
        {'choice_text': 'The sky', 'votes': 0, 'question_id': 1},
        {'choice_text': 'Just hacking again', 'votes': 0, 'question_id': 1},
    ])
    conn.close()


if __name__ == '__main__':
    db_url = DSN.format(**config['postgres'])
    engine = create_engine(db_url)

    create_tables(engine)
    sample_data(engine)

Note

A more advanced version of this script is mentioned in Database notes.

Install the aiopg[sa] package (it will pull sqlalchemy alongside) to interact with the database, and run the script:

$ pip install aiopg[sa]
$ python init_db.py

Note

At this point we are not using any async features of the package. For this reason, you could have installed psycopg2 package. Though since we are using sqlalchemy, we also could switch the type of database server.

Now there should be one record for question with related choice options stored in corresponding tables in the database.

Use psql, pgAdmin or any other tool you like to check database contents:

$ psql -U postgres -h localhost -p 5432 -d aiohttpdemo_polls
aiohttpdemo_polls=# select * from question;
 id | question_text |  pub_date
----+---------------+------------
  1 | What's new?   | 2015-12-15
(1 row)

Doing things at startup and shutdown

Sometimes it is necessary to configure some component’s setup and tear down. In case of database that would be creation of connection or connection pool and closing it afterward.

Pieces of code below belong to aiohttpdemo_polls/db.py and aiohttpdemo_polls/main.py files. Complete files will be shown shortly after.

Creating connection engine

For making DB queries we need an engine instance. Assuming conf is a dict with the configuration info for a Postgres connection, this could be done by the following coroutine:

async def init_pg(app):
    conf = app['config']['postgres']
    engine = await aiopg.sa.create_engine(
        database=conf['database'],
        user=conf['user'],
        password=conf['password'],
        host=conf['host'],
        port=conf['port'],
        minsize=conf['minsize'],
        maxsize=conf['maxsize'],
    )
    app['db'] = engine

Add the code to aiohttpdemo_polls/db.py file.

The best place for connecting to the DB is using the on_startup signal:

app.on_startup.append(init_pg)

Graceful shutdown

It is a good practice to close all resources on program exit.

Let’s close the DB connection with the on_cleanup signal:

app.on_cleanup.append(close_pg)
async def close_pg(app):
    app['db'].close()
    await app['db'].wait_closed()

Complete files with changes

# aiohttpdemo_polls/db.py
import aiopg.sa
from sqlalchemy import (
    MetaData, Table, Column, ForeignKey,
    Integer, String, Date
)

__all__ = ['question', 'choice']

meta = MetaData()

question = Table(
    'question', meta,

    Column('id', Integer, primary_key=True),
    Column('question_text', String(200), nullable=False),
    Column('pub_date', Date, nullable=False)
)

choice = Table(
    'choice', meta,

    Column('id', Integer, primary_key=True),
    Column('choice_text', String(200), nullable=False),
    Column('votes', Integer, server_default="0", nullable=False),

    Column('question_id',
           Integer,
           ForeignKey('question.id', ondelete='CASCADE'))
)


async def init_pg(app):
    conf = app['config']['postgres']
    engine = await aiopg.sa.create_engine(
        database=conf['database'],
        user=conf['user'],
        password=conf['password'],
        host=conf['host'],
        port=conf['port'],
        minsize=conf['minsize'],
        maxsize=conf['maxsize'],
    )
    app['db'] = engine


async def close_pg(app):
    app['db'].close()
    await app['db'].wait_closed()
# aiohttpdemo_polls/main.py
from aiohttp import web

from settings import config
from routes import setup_routes
from db import close_pg, init_pg

app = web.Application()
app['config'] = config
setup_routes(app)
app.on_startup.append(init_pg)
app.on_cleanup.append(close_pg)
web.run_app(app)

Since we now have database connection on start - let’s use it! Modify index view:

# aiohttpdemo_polls/views.py
from aiohttp import web
import db


async def index(request):
    async with request.app['db'].acquire() as conn:
        cursor = await conn.execute(db.question.select())
        records = await cursor.fetchall()
        questions = [dict(q) for q in records]
        return web.Response(text=str(questions))

Run server and you should get list of available questions (one record at the moment) with all fields.

Templates

For setting up the template engine, we install the aiohttp_jinja2 library first:

$ pip install aiohttp_jinja2

After installing, setup the library:

# aiohttpdemo_polls/main.py
from aiohttp import web
import aiohttp_jinja2
import jinja2

from settings import config, BASE_DIR
from routes import setup_routes
from db import close_pg, init_pg

app = web.Application()
app['config'] = config
aiohttp_jinja2.setup(app,
    loader=jinja2.FileSystemLoader(str(BASE_DIR / 'aiohttpdemo_polls' / 'templates')))
setup_routes(app)
app.on_startup.append(init_pg)
app.on_cleanup.append(close_pg)
web.run_app(app)

As you can see from setup above - templates should be placed at aiohttpdemo_polls/templates folder.

Let’s create simple template and modify index view to use it:

<!--aiohttpdemo_polls/templates/index.html-->
{% set title = "Main" %}

{% if questions %}
    <ul>
    {% for question in questions %}
        <li>{{ question.question_text }}</li>
    {% endfor %}
    </ul>
{% else %}
    <p>No questions are available.</p>
{% endif %}

Templates are a very convenient way for web page writing. If we return a dict with page content, the aiohttp_jinja2.template decorator processes the dict using the jinja2 template renderer.

# aiohttpdemo_polls/views.py
import aiohttp_jinja2
import db

@aiohttp_jinja2.template('index.html')
async def index(request):
    async with request.app['db'].acquire() as conn:
        cursor = await conn.execute(db.question.select())
        records = await cursor.fetchall()
        questions = [dict(q) for q in records]
        return {"questions": questions}

Run the server and you should see a question decorated in html list element.

Let’s add more views:

@aiohttp_jinja2.template('detail.html')
async def poll(request):
    async with request.app['db'].acquire() as conn:
        question_id = request.match_info['question_id']
        try:
            question, choices = await db.get_question(conn,
                                                      question_id)
        except db.RecordNotFound as e:
            raise web.HTTPNotFound(text=str(e))
        return {
            'question': question,
            'choices': choices
        }

Static files

Any web site has static files such as: images, JavaScript sources, CSS files

The best way to handle static files in production is by setting up a reverse proxy like NGINX or using CDN services.

During development, handling static files using the aiohttp server is very convenient.

Fortunately, this can be done easily by a single call:

def setup_static_routes(app):
    app.router.add_static('/static/',
                          path=PROJECT_ROOT / 'static',
                          name='static')

where project_root is the path to the root folder.

Middlewares

Middlewares are stacked around every web-handler. They are called before the handler for a pre-processing request. After getting a response back, they are used for post-processing the given response.

A common use of middlewares is to implement custom error pages. Example from Middlewares documentation will render 404 errors using a JSON response, as might be appropriate for a REST service.

Here we’ll create a little bit more complex middleware custom display pages for 404 Not Found and 500 Internal Error.

Every middleware should accept two parameters, a request and a handler, and return the response. Middleware itself is a coroutine that can modify either request or response:

Now, create a new middlewares.py file:

# middlewares.py
import aiohttp_jinja2
from aiohttp import web


async def handle_404(request):
    return aiohttp_jinja2.render_template('404.html', request, {})


async def handle_500(request):
    return aiohttp_jinja2.render_template('500.html', request, {})


def create_error_middleware(overrides):

    @web.middleware
    async def error_middleware(request, handler):

        try:
            response = await handler(request)

            override = overrides.get(response.status)
            if override:
                return await override(request)

            return response

        except web.HTTPException as ex:
            override = overrides.get(ex.status)
            if override:
                return await override(request)

            raise

    return error_middleware


def setup_middlewares(app):
    error_middleware = create_error_middleware({
        404: handle_404,
        500: handle_500
    })
    app.middlewares.append(error_middleware)

As you can see, we do nothing before the web handler. We choose Jinja2 template renderer based on response.status after the request was handled. In case of exceptions, we do something similar, based on ex.status. Without the create_error_middleware function, the same task would take us many more if statements.

We have registered middleware in app by adding it to app.middlewares.

Now, add a setup_middlewares step to the main file:

# aiohttpdemo_polls/main.py
from aiohttp import web

from settings import config
from routes import setup_routes
from middlewares import setup_middlewares

app = web.Application()
setup_routes(app)
setup_middlewares(app)
app['config'] = config
web.run_app(app)

Run the app again. To test, try an invalid url.