A Python application server?

Ian Bicking ianb at colorstudy.com
Wed Jun 4 05:44:56 CEST 2003

On Mon, 2003-06-02 at 09:20, Duncan Smith wrote:
> Hello,
>          I'm trying to put together a (basic) design for an online
> examination system.  The system already exists, but is based on Java
> technologies.  I have (probably prematurely) assured the author that the
> system could have been developed in Python.  This is based in faith rather
> than reason, as I have never had cause to consider such a thing before
> (although I can now envisage that I might need to develop a simple
> application server within the next year or so).
> Having looked at PYRO, Twisted and WebWare I'm pretty confident that most of
> the technology is in place.  But I have been told that to emulate the
> existing system there would have to be a Python equivalent of an 'untrusted
> Java applet'.  (I'm not convinced this is actually necessary for the given
> app., but the existing system does use RMI and Java applets.)
> What I'm basically trying to address is the following statement (from some
> of his lecture notes):
> "Java is the only mainstream technology that adds the required level of
> safety for code travelling around a network, and the flexibility to invent
> our own controls, regardless of the operating system being used."

It's not Java the language, but Java the VM, and Java the install base,
that makes it appropriate for an applet.  Right now the only other
options that have the install base, and are accessible without requiring
the user to install anything, are Flash and Javascript, both of which
can probably accomplish what you desire.  Javascript is free, and I
suspect the best option for you -- it's certainly the most transparent
of the three options and lets you use your HTML skill, though browser
compatibility is a pain.  Of course, you can also use Jython to create
an applet in Python that runs on the Java VM.  In my experience a pinch
of Javascript (but not too much) creates the best user experience.

Frank Barknecht wrote a survey program using Webware, with a database
backend using SQLObject.  I suspect it would take some time to get
installed, as it hasn't been packaged, but the code exists that should
be helpful.  You can find it in the Webware Sandbox CVS repository:


Surveys and quizes should probably look similar -- you have questions
and collect answers from users.


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