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Twisted PB to JSON-RPC bridge

Filed under: Hacking,Python,Twisted — Thomas @ 11:58 am

11:58 am

Day two of the internal platform training sessions. Today is hacking and bugfixing day.

I wanted to take a stab at the task of creating an RPC interface to expose our Perspective Broker interface. I have very little experience with RPC systems (apart from PB, and moap‘s use of Trac‘s RPC) so this was a good opportunity to get my feet wet.

Smart hacking is lazy hacking, so I started by Googling. After some false positives, I found a Twisted JSON-RPC project, and since it was maintained by Duncan McGreggor it gave me hope that it would work.

And so it did. I wrote a simple adapter object that takes an instance of a PB root and proxies jsonrpc_* calls to remote_* calls.

This is just a proof of concept; obviously there are many caveats. The main thing being that currently you can only use it for remote_ calls with simple objects that txjsonrpc supports (although it looks like for example it supports a deferred, so sweet).

Obviously, one of the attractions of PB is that you can transfer objects. At the least this bridge could be extended to support getting references to objects and then invoking methods on them or passing them as arguments.

In any case, good enough for a one hour hack.

The code is in my tests repository and you can check out with

svn co https://thomas.apestaart.org/thomas/svn/tests/twisted/pb2jr

As for actually using it – after writing it Jan and I discussed how it should be used, and he told me he doesn’t actually want to run this in the same process where we run our PB interface. Instead he wants it to acts a proxy, which would at best mean doing code inspection or importing of the PB Root in the proxy to be able to provide the JSON-RPC interface dynamically, and you wouldn’t be sure if the running code’s PB Root is the same as whatever you have on disk in your proxy.

I’m not very convinced about the coupling argument, because this is just a thin layer on top of the PB server, and everything will end up going through the PB server anyway, so I don’t see any gain from decoupling here.

I lost interest while discussing, so I’m going to leave it in its current state for now. Although I would have preferred to just plug ahead, do some of the cooler introspection bits, provide a web UI to look at methods and invoke them, and so on.

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