Recommendations of Python REST (web services) framework?

The Question :

321 people think this question is useful

Is there a list somewhere of recommendations of different Python-based REST frameworks for use on the serverside to write your own RESTful APIs? Preferably with pros and cons.

Please feel free to add recommendations here. 🙂

The Question Comments :

The Answer 1

192 people think this answer is useful

Something to be careful about when designing a RESTful API is the conflation of GET and POST, as if they were the same thing. It’s easy to make this mistake with Django‘s function-based views and CherryPy‘s default dispatcher, although both frameworks now provide a way around this problem (class-based views and MethodDispatcher, respectively).

HTTP-verbs are very important in REST, and unless you’re very careful about this, you’ll end up falling into a REST anti-pattern.

Some frameworks that get it right are web.py, Flask and Bottle. When combined with the mimerender library (full disclosure: I wrote it), they allow you to write nice RESTful webservices:

import web
import json
from mimerender import mimerender

render_xml = lambda message: '<message>%s</message>'%message
render_json = lambda **args: json.dumps(args)
render_html = lambda message: '<html><body>%s</body></html>'%message
render_txt = lambda message: message

urls = (
    '/(.*)', 'greet'
)
app = web.application(urls, globals())

class greet:
    @mimerender(
        default = 'html',
        html = render_html,
        xml  = render_xml,
        json = render_json,
        txt  = render_txt
    )
    def GET(self, name):
        if not name: 
            name = 'world'
        return {'message': 'Hello, ' + name + '!'}

if __name__ == "__main__":
    app.run()

The service’s logic is implemented only once, and the correct representation selection (Accept header) + dispatch to the proper render function (or template) is done in a tidy, transparent way.

$ curl localhost:8080/x
<html><body>Hello, x!</body></html>

$ curl -H "Accept: application/html" localhost:8080/x
<html><body>Hello, x!</body></html>

$ curl -H "Accept: application/xml" localhost:8080/x
<message>Hello, x!</message>

$ curl -H "Accept: application/json" localhost:8080/x
{'message':'Hello, x!'}

$ curl -H "Accept: text/plain" localhost:8080/x
Hello, x!

Update (April 2012): added information about Django’s class-based views, CherryPy’s MethodDispatcher and Flask and Bottle frameworks. Neither existed back when the question was asked.

The Answer 2

70 people think this answer is useful

Surprised no one mentioned flask.

from flask import Flask
app = Flask(__name__)

@app.route("/")
def hello():
    return "Hello World!"

if __name__ == "__main__":
    app.run()

The Answer 3

23 people think this answer is useful

We’re using Django for RESTful web services.

Note that — out of the box — Django did not have fine-grained enough authentication for our needs. We used the Django-REST interface, which helped a lot. [We’ve since rolled our own because we’d made so many extensions that it had become a maintenance nightmare.]

We have two kinds of URL’s: “html” URL’s which implement the human-oriented HTML pages, and “json” URL’s which implement the web-services oriented processing. Our view functions often look like this.

def someUsefulThing( request, object_id ):
    # do some processing
    return { a dictionary with results }

def htmlView( request, object_id ):
    d = someUsefulThing( request, object_id )
    render_to_response( 'template.html', d, ... )

def jsonView( request, object_id ):
    d = someUsefulThing( request, object_id )
    data = serializers.serialize( 'json', d['object'], fields=EXPOSED_FIELDS )
    response = HttpResponse( data, status=200, content_type='application/json' )
    response['Location']= reverse( 'some.path.to.this.view', kwargs={...} )
    return response

The point being that the useful functionality is factored out of the two presentations. The JSON presentation is usually just one object that was requested. The HTML presentation often includes all kinds of navigation aids and other contextual clues that help people be productive.

The jsonView functions are all very similar, which can be a bit annoying. But it’s Python, so make them part of a callable class or write decorators if it helps.

The Answer 4

11 people think this answer is useful

See Python Web Frameworks wiki.

You probably do not need the full stack frameworks, but the remaining list is still quite long.

The Answer 5

8 people think this answer is useful

I really like CherryPy. Here’s an example of a restful web service:

import cherrypy
from cherrypy import expose

class Converter:
    @expose
    def index(self):
        return "Hello World!"

    @expose
    def fahr_to_celc(self, degrees):
        temp = (float(degrees) - 32) * 5 / 9
        return "%.01f" % temp

    @expose
    def celc_to_fahr(self, degrees):
        temp = float(degrees) * 9 / 5 + 32
        return "%.01f" % temp

cherrypy.quickstart(Converter())

This emphasizes what I really like about CherryPy; this is a completely working example that’s very understandable even to someone who doesn’t know the framework. If you run this code, then you can immediately see the results in your web browser; e.g. visiting http://localhost:8080/celc_to_fahr?degrees=50 will display 122.0 in your web browser.

The Answer 6

8 people think this answer is useful

Take a look at

The Answer 7

8 people think this answer is useful

I don’t see any reason to use Django just to expose a REST api, there are lighter and more flexible solutions. Django carries a lot of other things to the table, that are not always needed. For sure not needed if you only want to expose some code as a REST service.

My personal experience, fwiw, is that once you have a one-size-fits-all framework, you’ll start to use its ORM, its plugins, etc. just because it’s easy, and in no time you end up having a dependency that is very hard to get rid of.

Choosing a web framework is a tough decision, and I would avoid picking a full stack solution just to expose a REST api.

Now, if you really need/want to use Django, then Piston is a nice REST framework for django apps.

That being said, CherryPy looks really nice too, but seems more RPC than REST.

Looking at the samples (I never used it), probably web.py is the best and cleanest if you only need REST.

The Answer 8

6 people think this answer is useful

Here is a discussion in CherryPy docs on REST: http://docs.cherrypy.org/dev/progguide/REST.html

In particular it mentions a built in CherryPy dispatcher called MethodDispatcher, which invokes methods based on their HTTP-verb identifiers (GET, POST, etc…).

The Answer 9

6 people think this answer is useful

In 2010, the Pylons and repoze.bfg communities “joined forces” to create Pyramid, a web framework based most heavily on repoze.bfg. It retains the philosophies of its parent frameworks, and can be used for RESTful services. It’s worth a look.

The Answer 10

5 people think this answer is useful

Piston is very flexible framework for wirting RESTful APIs for Django applications.

The Answer 11

5 people think this answer is useful

Seems all kinds of python web frameworks can implement RESTful interfaces now.

For Django, besides tastypie and piston, django-rest-framework is a promising one worth to mention. I’ve already migrated one of my project on it smoothly.

Django REST framework is a lightweight REST framework for Django, that aims to make it easy to build well-connected, self-describing RESTful Web APIs.

Quick example:

from django.conf.urls.defaults import patterns, url
from djangorestframework.resources import ModelResource
from djangorestframework.views import ListOrCreateModelView, InstanceModelView
from myapp.models import MyModel

class MyResource(ModelResource):
    model = MyModel

urlpatterns = patterns('',
    url(r'^$', ListOrCreateModelView.as_view(resource=MyResource)),
    url(r'^(?P<pk>[^/]+)/$', InstanceModelView.as_view(resource=MyResource)),
)

Take the example from official site, all above codes provide api, self explained document(like soap based webservice) and even sandbox to test a bit. Very convenience.

Links: http://django-rest-framework.org/

The Answer 12

3 people think this answer is useful

I am not an expert on the python world but I have been using django which is an excellent web framework and can be used to create a restful framework.

The Answer 13

3 people think this answer is useful

web2py includes support for easily building RESTful API’s, described here and here (video). In particular, look at parse_as_rest, which lets you define URL patterns that map request args to database queries; and smart_query, which enables you to pass arbitrary natural language queries in the URL.

The Answer 14

2 people think this answer is useful

I you are using Django then you can consider django-tastypie as an alternative to django-piston. It is easier to tune to non-ORM data sources than piston, and has great documentation.

The Answer 15

0 people think this answer is useful

I strongly recommend TurboGears or Bottle:

TurboGears:

  • less verbose than django
  • more flexible, less HTML-oriented
  • but: less famous

Bottle:

  • very fast
  • very easy to learn
  • but: minimalistic and not mature

The Answer 16

0 people think this answer is useful

We are working on a framework for strict REST services, check out http://prestans.googlecode.com

Its in early Alpha at the moment, we are testing against mod_wsgi and Google’s AppEngine.

Looking for testers and feedback. Thanks.

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