This page shows how to create an Ice application with Python.
On this page:
Compiling a Slice Definition for Python
The first step in creating our Python application is to compile our Slice definition to generate Python proxies and skeletons. You can compile the definition as follows:
slice2py compiler produces a single source file,
Printer_ice.py, from this definition. The compiler also creates a Python package for the
Demo module, resulting in a subdirectory named
Demo. The exact contents of the source file do not concern us for now — it contains the generated code that corresponds to the
Printer interface we defined in
Writing a Server in Python
To implement our
Printer interface, we must create a servant class. By convention, a servant class uses the name of its interface with an
I-suffix, so our servant class is called
PrinterI class inherits from a base class called
Demo.Printer, which is generated by the
slice2py compiler. The base class is abstract and contains a
printString method that accepts a string for the printer to print and a parameter of type
Ice.Current. (For now we will ignore the
Ice.Current parameter.) Our implementation of the
printString method simply writes its argument to the terminal.
The remainder of the server code, in
Server.py, follows our servant class and is shown in full here:
The body of the main program contains a
with block in which we place all the server code. If the code throws an exception, it will be handled by the Python interpreter which typically prints out the exception and then returns failure to the operating system.
Ice.Communicator object implements the Python context manager protocol, which allows us to use the
with statement for the initialization of the
Ice.Communicator object. This ensures the communicator
destroy method is called when the
with block goes out of scope. Doing this is essential in order to correctly finalize the Ice run time
Failure to call
destroy on the communicator before the program exits results in undefined behavior.
The server code goes through the following steps:
- We initialize the Ice run time by calling
Ice.initialize. (We pass
sys.argvto this call because the server may have command-line arguments that are of interest to the run time; for this example, the server does not require any command-line arguments.) The call to
Ice.Communicatorreference, which is the main object in the Ice run time.
- We create an object adapter by calling
Communicatorinstance. The arguments we pass are
"SimplePrinterAdapter"(which is the name of the adapter) and
"default -p 10000", which instructs the adapter to listen for incoming requests using the default protocol (TCP/IP) at port number 10000.
- At this point, the server-side run time is initialized and we create a servant for our
Printerinterface by instantiating a
- We inform the object adapter of the presence of a new servant by calling
addon the adapter; the arguments to
addare the servant we have just instantiated, plus an identifier. In this case, the string
"SimplePrinter"is the name of the Ice object. (If we had multiple printers, each would have a different name or, more correctly, a different object identity.)
- Next, we activate the adapter by calling its
activatemethod. (The adapter is initially created in a holding state; this is useful if we have many servants that share the same adapter and do not want requests to be processed until after all the servants have been instantiated.)
- Finally, we call
waitForShutdown. This call suspends the calling thread until the server implementation terminates, either by making a call to shut down the run time, or in response to a signal. (For now, we will simply interrupt the server on the command line when we no longer need it.)
Note that, even though there is quite a bit of code here, that code is essentially the same for all servers. You can put that code into a helper class and, thereafter, will not have to bother with it again. (Ice provides such a helper class, called
Ice.Application.) As far as actual application code is concerned, the server contains only a few lines: three lines for the definition of the
PrinterI class, plus two lines to instantiate a
PrinterI object and register it with the object adapter.
Writing a Client in Python
The client code, in
Client.py, looks very similar to the server. Here it is in full:
Note that the overall code layout is the same as for the server: we use the same
with block. The code does the following:
- As for the server, we initialize the Ice run time by calling
- The next step is to obtain a proxy for the remote printer. We create a proxy by calling
stringToProxyon the communicator, with the string
"SimplePrinter:default -p 10000". Note that the string contains the object identity and the port number that were used by the server. (Obviously, hard-coding object identities and port numbers into our applications is a bad idea, but it will do for now; we will see more architecturally sound ways of doing this when we discuss IceGrid.)
- The proxy returned by
stringToProxyis of type
Ice.ObjectPrx, which is at the root of the inheritance tree for interfaces and classes. But to actually talk to our printer, we need a proxy for a
Demo::Printerinterface, not an
Objectinterface. To do this, we need to do a down-cast by calling
Demo.PrinterPrx.checkedCast. A checked cast sends a message to the server, effectively asking "is this a proxy for a
Demo::Printerinterface?" If so, the call returns a proxy of type
Demo.PrinterPrx; otherwise, if the proxy denotes an interface of some other type, the call returns
- We test that the down-cast succeeded and, if not, throw an error message that terminates the client.
- We now have a live proxy in our address space and can call the
printStringmethod, passing it the time-honored
"Hello World!"string. The server prints that string on its terminal.
Running Client and Server in Python
To run client and server, we first start the server in a separate window:
At this point, we won't see anything because the server simply waits for a client to connect to it. We run the client in a different window:
The client runs and exits without producing any output; however, in the server window, we see the
"Hello World!" that is produced by the printer. To get rid of the server, we interrupt it on the command line for now. (We will see cleaner ways to terminate a server in our discussion of
If anything goes wrong, the client will print an error message. For example, if we run the client without having first started the server, we get something like the following:
Note that, to successfully run the client and server, the Python interpreter must be able to locate the Ice extension for Python. See the Ice for Python installation instructions for more information.