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ActivePython 3.1 Documentation

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20.23. xmlrpc.client — XML-RPC client access

XML-RPC is a Remote Procedure Call method that uses XML passed via HTTP as a transport. With it, a client can call methods with parameters on a remote server (the server is named by a URI) and get back structured data. This module supports writing XML-RPC client code; it handles all the details of translating between conformable Python objects and XML on the wire.

class xmlrpc.client.ServerProxy(uri, transport=None, encoding=None, verbose=False, allow_none=False, use_datetime=False)

A ServerProxy instance is an object that manages communication with a remote XML-RPC server. The required first argument is a URI (Uniform Resource Indicator), and will normally be the URL of the server. The optional second argument is a transport factory instance; by default it is an internal SafeTransport instance for https: URLs and an internal HTTP Transport instance otherwise. The optional third argument is an encoding, by default UTF-8. The optional fourth argument is a debugging flag. If allow_none is true, the Python constant None will be translated into XML; the default behaviour is for None to raise a TypeError. This is a commonly-used extension to the XML-RPC specification, but isn’t supported by all clients and servers; see http://ontosys.com/xml-rpc/extensions.php for a description. The use_datetime flag can be used to cause date/time values to be presented as datetime.datetime objects; this is false by default. datetime.datetime objects may be passed to calls.

Both the HTTP and HTTPS transports support the URL syntax extension for HTTP Basic Authentication: http://user:pass@host:port/path. The user:pass portion will be base64-encoded as an HTTP ‘Authorization’ header, and sent to the remote server as part of the connection process when invoking an XML-RPC method. You only need to use this if the remote server requires a Basic Authentication user and password.

The returned instance is a proxy object with methods that can be used to invoke corresponding RPC calls on the remote server. If the remote server supports the introspection API, the proxy can also be used to query the remote server for the methods it supports (service discovery) and fetch other server-associated metadata.

ServerProxy instance methods take Python basic types and objects as arguments and return Python basic types and classes. Types that are conformable (e.g. that can be marshalled through XML), include the following (and except where noted, they are unmarshalled as the same Python type):

Name Meaning
boolean The True and False constants
integers Pass in directly
floating-point numbers Pass in directly
strings Pass in directly
arrays Any Python sequence type containing conformable elements. Arrays are returned as lists
structures A Python dictionary. Keys must be strings, values may be any conformable type. Objects of user-defined classes can be passed in; only their __dict__ attribute is transmitted.
dates in seconds since the epoch (pass in an instance of the DateTime class) or a datetime.datetime instance.
binary data pass in an instance of the Binary wrapper class

This is the full set of data types supported by XML-RPC. Method calls may also raise a special Fault instance, used to signal XML-RPC server errors, or ProtocolError used to signal an error in the HTTP/HTTPS transport layer. Both Fault and ProtocolError derive from a base class called Error. Note that the xmlrpc client module currently does not marshal instances of subclasses of built-in types.

When passing strings, characters special to XML such as <, >, and & will be automatically escaped. However, it’s the caller’s responsibility to ensure that the string is free of characters that aren’t allowed in XML, such as the control characters with ASCII values between 0 and 31 (except, of course, tab, newline and carriage return); failing to do this will result in an XML-RPC request that isn’t well-formed XML. If you have to pass arbitrary strings via XML-RPC, use the Binary wrapper class described below.

Server is retained as an alias for ServerProxy for backwards compatibility. New code should use ServerProxy.

See also

XML-RPC HOWTO
A good description of XML-RPC operation and client software in several languages. Contains pretty much everything an XML-RPC client developer needs to know.
XML-RPC Introspection
Describes the XML-RPC protocol extension for introspection.
XML-RPC Specification
The official specification.
Unofficial XML-RPC Errata
Fredrik Lundh’s “unofficial errata, intended to clarify certain details in the XML-RPC specification, as well as hint at ‘best practices’ to use when designing your own XML-RPC implementations.”

20.23.1. ServerProxy Objects

A ServerProxy instance has a method corresponding to each remote procedure call accepted by the XML-RPC server. Calling the method performs an RPC, dispatched by both name and argument signature (e.g. the same method name can be overloaded with multiple argument signatures). The RPC finishes by returning a value, which may be either returned data in a conformant type or a Fault or ProtocolError object indicating an error.

Servers that support the XML introspection API support some common methods grouped under the reserved system member:

ServerProxy.system.listMethods()
This method returns a list of strings, one for each (non-system) method supported by the XML-RPC server.
ServerProxy.system.methodSignature(name)

This method takes one parameter, the name of a method implemented by the XML-RPC server. It returns an array of possible signatures for this method. A signature is an array of types. The first of these types is the return type of the method, the rest are parameters.

Because multiple signatures (ie. overloading) is permitted, this method returns a list of signatures rather than a singleton.

Signatures themselves are restricted to the top level parameters expected by a method. For instance if a method expects one array of structs as a parameter, and it returns a string, its signature is simply “string, array”. If it expects three integers and returns a string, its signature is “string, int, int, int”.

If no signature is defined for the method, a non-array value is returned. In Python this means that the type of the returned value will be something other than list.

ServerProxy.system.methodHelp(name)
This method takes one parameter, the name of a method implemented by the XML-RPC server. It returns a documentation string describing the use of that method. If no such string is available, an empty string is returned. The documentation string may contain HTML markup.

A working example follows. The server code:

from xmlrpc.server import SimpleXMLRPCServer

def is_even(n):
    return n%2 == 0

server = SimpleXMLRPCServer(("localhost", 8000))
print("Listening on port 8000...")
server.register_function(is_even, "is_even")
server.serve_forever()

The client code for the preceding server:

import xmlrpc.client

proxy = xmlrpc.client.ServerProxy("http://localhost:8000/")
print("3 is even: %s" % str(proxy.is_even(3)))
print("100 is even: %s" % str(proxy.is_even(100)))

20.23.2. DateTime Objects

This class may be initialized with seconds since the epoch, a time tuple, an ISO 8601 time/date string, or a datetime.datetime instance. It has the following methods, supported mainly for internal use by the marshalling/unmarshalling code:

DateTime.decode(string)
Accept a string as the instance’s new time value.
DateTime.encode(out)
Write the XML-RPC encoding of this DateTime item to the out stream object.

It also supports certain of Python’s built-in operators through rich comparison and __repr__() methods.

A working example follows. The server code:

import datetime
from xmlrpc.server import SimpleXMLRPCServer
import xmlrpc.client

def today():
    today = datetime.datetime.today()
    return xmlrpc.client.DateTime(today)

server = SimpleXMLRPCServer(("localhost", 8000))
print("Listening on port 8000...")
server.register_function(today, "today")
server.serve_forever()

The client code for the preceding server:

import xmlrpc.client
import datetime

proxy = xmlrpc.client.ServerProxy("http://localhost:8000/")

today = proxy.today()
# convert the ISO8601 string to a datetime object
converted = datetime.datetime.strptime(today.value, "%Y%m%dT%H:%M:%S")
print("Today: %s" % converted.strftime("%d.%m.%Y, %H:%M"))

20.23.3. Binary Objects

This class may be initialized from string data (which may include NULs). The primary access to the content of a Binary object is provided by an attribute:

Binary.data
The binary data encapsulated by the Binary instance. The data is provided as an 8-bit string.

Binary objects have the following methods, supported mainly for internal use by the marshalling/unmarshalling code:

Binary.decode(string)
Accept a base64 string and decode it as the instance’s new data.
Binary.encode(out)

Write the XML-RPC base 64 encoding of this binary item to the out stream object.

The encoded data will have newlines every 76 characters as per RFC 2045 section 6.8, which was the de facto standard base64 specification when the XML-RPC spec was written.

It also supports certain of Python’s built-in operators through __eq__() and __ne__() methods.

Example usage of the binary objects. We’re going to transfer an image over XMLRPC:

from xmlrpc.server import SimpleXMLRPCServer
import xmlrpc.client

def python_logo():
    with open("python_logo.jpg", "rb") as handle:
        return xmlrpc.client.Binary(handle.read())

server = SimpleXMLRPCServer(("localhost", 8000))
print("Listening on port 8000...")
server.register_function(python_logo, 'python_logo')

server.serve_forever()

The client gets the image and saves it to a file:

import xmlrpc.client

proxy = xmlrpc.client.ServerProxy("http://localhost:8000/")
with open("fetched_python_logo.jpg", "wb") as handle:
    handle.write(proxy.python_logo().data)

20.23.4. Fault Objects

A Fault object encapsulates the content of an XML-RPC fault tag. Fault objects have the following members:

Fault.faultCode
A string indicating the fault type.
Fault.faultString
A string containing a diagnostic message associated with the fault.

In the following example we’re going to intentionally cause a Fault by returning a complex type object. The server code:

from xmlrpc.server import SimpleXMLRPCServer

# A marshalling error is going to occur because we're returning a
# complex number
def add(x,y):
    return x+y+0j

server = SimpleXMLRPCServer(("localhost", 8000))
print("Listening on port 8000...")
server.register_function(add, 'add')

server.serve_forever()

The client code for the preceding server:

import xmlrpc.client

proxy = xmlrpc.client.ServerProxy("http://localhost:8000/")
try:
    proxy.add(2, 5)
except xmlrpc.client.Fault as err:
    print("A fault occurred")
    print("Fault code: %d" % err.faultCode)
    print("Fault string: %s" % err.faultString)

20.23.5. ProtocolError Objects

A ProtocolError object describes a protocol error in the underlying transport layer (such as a 404 ‘not found’ error if the server named by the URI does not exist). It has the following members:

ProtocolError.url
The URI or URL that triggered the error.
ProtocolError.errcode
The error code.
ProtocolError.errmsg
The error message or diagnostic string.
ProtocolError.headers
A dict containing the headers of the HTTP/HTTPS request that triggered the error.

In the following example we’re going to intentionally cause a ProtocolError by providing an invalid URI:

import xmlrpc.client

# create a ServerProxy with an URI that doesn't respond to XMLRPC requests
proxy = xmlrpc.client.ServerProxy("http://google.com/")

try:
    proxy.some_method()
except xmlrpc.client.ProtocolError as err:
    print("A protocol error occurred")
    print("URL: %s" % err.url)
    print("HTTP/HTTPS headers: %s" % err.headers)
    print("Error code: %d" % err.errcode)
    print("Error message: %s" % err.errmsg)

20.23.6. MultiCall Objects

In http://www.xmlrpc.com/discuss/msgReader%241208, an approach is presented to encapsulate multiple calls to a remote server into a single request.

class xmlrpc.client.MultiCall(server)
Create an object used to boxcar method calls. server is the eventual target of the call. Calls can be made to the result object, but they will immediately return None, and only store the call name and parameters in the MultiCall object. Calling the object itself causes all stored calls to be transmitted as a single system.multicall request. The result of this call is a generator; iterating over this generator yields the individual results.

A usage example of this class follows. The server code

from xmlrpc.server import SimpleXMLRPCServer

def add(x,y):
    return x+y

def subtract(x, y):
    return x-y

def multiply(x, y):
    return x*y

def divide(x, y):
    return x/y

# A simple server with simple arithmetic functions
server = SimpleXMLRPCServer(("localhost", 8000))
print("Listening on port 8000...")
server.register_multicall_functions()
server.register_function(add, 'add')
server.register_function(subtract, 'subtract')
server.register_function(multiply, 'multiply')
server.register_function(divide, 'divide')
server.serve_forever()

The client code for the preceding server:

import xmlrpc.client

proxy = xmlrpc.client.ServerProxy("http://localhost:8000/")
multicall = xmlrpc.client.MultiCall(proxy)
multicall.add(7,3)
multicall.subtract(7,3)
multicall.multiply(7,3)
multicall.divide(7,3)
result = multicall()

print("7+3=%d, 7-3=%d, 7*3=%d, 7/3=%d" % tuple(result))

20.23.7. Convenience Functions

xmlrpc.client.dumps(params, methodname=None, methodresponse=None, encoding=None, allow_none=False)
Convert params into an XML-RPC request. or into a response if methodresponse is true. params can be either a tuple of arguments or an instance of the Fault exception class. If methodresponse is true, only a single value can be returned, meaning that params must be of length 1. encoding, if supplied, is the encoding to use in the generated XML; the default is UTF-8. Python’s None value cannot be used in standard XML-RPC; to allow using it via an extension, provide a true value for allow_none.
xmlrpc.client.loads(data, use_datetime=False)
Convert an XML-RPC request or response into Python objects, a (params, methodname). params is a tuple of argument; methodname is a string, or None if no method name is present in the packet. If the XML-RPC packet represents a fault condition, this function will raise a Fault exception. The use_datetime flag can be used to cause date/time values to be presented as datetime.datetime objects; this is false by default.

20.23.8. Example of Client Usage

# simple test program (from the XML-RPC specification)
from xmlrpc.client import ServerProxy, Error

# server = ServerProxy("http://localhost:8000") # local server
server = ServerProxy("http://betty.userland.com")

print(server)

try:
    print(server.examples.getStateName(41))
except Error as v:
    print("ERROR", v)

To access an XML-RPC server through a proxy, you need to define a custom transport. The following example shows how:

import xmlrpc.client, http.client

class ProxiedTransport(xmlrpc.client.Transport):
    def set_proxy(self, proxy):
        self.proxy = proxy
    def make_connection(self, host):
        self.realhost = host
        h = http.client.HTTP(self.proxy)
        return h
    def send_request(self, connection, handler, request_body):
        connection.putrequest("POST", 'http://%s%s' % (self.realhost, handler))
    def send_host(self, connection, host):
        connection.putheader('Host', self.realhost)

p = ProxiedTransport()
p.set_proxy('proxy-server:8080')
server = xmlrpc.client.Server('http://time.xmlrpc.com/RPC2', transport=p)
print(server.currentTime.getCurrentTime())

20.23.9. Example of Client and Server Usage

See SimpleXMLRPCServer Example.