[nSLUG] Python and HTML

Hatem Nassrat hnassrat at gmail.com
Sun Jan 11 00:38:47 AST 2015

On linux systems the best way to make it generic, is to use the env
command, making the hash bang line read:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

On Sat Jan 10 2015 at 11:34:46 PM Frank Geitzler <
frank.geitzler at ns.sympatico.ca> wrote:

> On Sat, 2015-01-10 at 04:24 -0400, Mike Spencer wrote:
> I may be missing something here.  I don't know what your
> programming background is, Frank.
>  Over 25 years of IBM mainframe programming, and about 15 years of Windows
> Foxpro programming, as well as many versions of Basic, etc.  I support a
> Visual Foxpro database application for a non-profit organization, but
> Microsoft has not supported VFP for some years, and I am looking for a
> open-source solution.  Python may (or may not) be a workable solution.
>  But you originally wrote:
> > Has anyone experience with Python generating HTML?  I have been
> > attempting to learn Python by working my way through a book called
> > HeadFirstPython...
> I have no knowledge of Python, not even why it might be desirable to
> learn it in particular.  But if I were to set about to learn it, I
> would try to simplify my early efforts as much as possible.
> Your proposed plan here involves both Python code to be
> executed when called by the cgi-bin capability of an httpd server and
> Python code implementing the the server itself.
> Since you're at Chapter 7 of the book, I infer that you've already
> written a bunch of elementary Python code.  Is that right?
>  Right -the first few chapters provided some elementary experience in
> working with Python and the Integrated Development Environment (IDLE), and
> them moved into several long chapters which gave some experience in
> transforming Comma-Separated Variable (CSV) files into strings and lists.
> That data was then used as input to a simple web application which a
> hypothetical track-and-field coach used to display each of his runners' top
> 3 times over a given distance.  I have now, with the suggestions and help
> of a number of the club members, succeeded in completing that portion of
> the project.
> The next section of the book involves obtaining an Android emulator
> (source suggested by the book) and writing and testing a further portion of
> the application which would enable Android devices (phones, tablets, and
> the test emulator) to access the same data.
> My stumbling block was a line of code printed in the book, as the first
> line of a program, where it states "This line is needed on Unix-based
> systems only':
>     #! /usr/local/bin/python3
> with no explanation that any change might be necessary for individual
> systems.  It turns out that on my system, the line must be changed to:
>     #! /usr/bin/python3
> Otherwise my browser accessing the localhost HTML page (which I called a
> form) cannot properly process the CGI code to run additional Python
> sub-program.
> Assuming that Python has some kind of plain print statement, you
> should be able to write code that generates HTML and verify the HTML
> visually.  That would separate out HTML generation from cgi-bin and
> server.
> Then you could write some simple scripts in shell code, perl or any
> other language you're already comfortable with and try to get the
> cgi-bin capacity of the web server you're using to execute that.
> Accessing http://localhost:8080/cgi-bin/some-script should execute the
> script and return its output, requiring only that the script outputs
> minimal valid HTTP headers and a blank line.
> Frank wrote:
> > ...Chapter 7 purports to create a HTML application with a main form
> > ("webapp/index.html") calling a subsidiary form
> > ("webapp/cgi-bin/generate_list.py"), which in turn will call
> > additional subsidiary forms or alternatively will return to the main
> > form.
> So is this one of those deals where an HTML file contains executable
> code which the server is expected to detect and execute, possibly
> inserting the output from that code inline in place of the code when
> rendering the HTML document?
> I don't quite get why you're referring to index.html as a "form".  Is
> that Python terminology?  For anything that contains Python code?
> Does index.html contain Python code that supposed to be executed
> before index.html is served to the requesting host?
> I would try to separate the operation of cgi-bin on the server from
> correct execution of the code you want it to run.  Maybe that's not
> possible (see preceding 2 paragraphs.)
> Hatem wrote:
> > ...writing cgi scripts is a way of the past ... way way back. I
> > would advise you to pick up a web framework ... there are simple
> > ones (like bottle <http://bottlepy.org/>) or bigger ones (like
> > django <https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/1.7/>),
> Frank did say that he was trying to *learn* Python.  A quick look at
> those web sites leads me to believe that you need to be a Python whiz
> before starting with them.
> Cgi-bin may be obsolete for production web sites but, assuming that
> the server does something predictable -- the right thing -- with it,
> it has the advantage of being simple and straightforward, not
> requiring a lot of knowledge of serious web site management.  For
> something running on localhost or on a lightly used, non-critical,
> non-commercial site, it seems to me just fine.
> Well, my electric toaster was 100 years old in 2013 so I'm detectably
> in favor of old, simple, KISS, rather than the opposite.
> - Mike
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