Notes on Flask
Notes taken from the Flask documentation when the latest version was 0.9:
Foreword for experienced programmers
- Flask uses thread-local objects internally so that you don’t have to pass objects around from function to function within a request in order to stay threadsafe.
Flaskconstructor takes the module or package name to know where to look for templates, static files, and so on.
debugis disabled, pass
run()to listen on all public IPs and make the server publicly available.
Trueallows the execution of arbitrary code, and so should never be run in production environments.
- A variable part of an URL with a
pathconverter is like the default string converter, but also accepts slashes.
- If a URL has a trailing slash, accessing it without one will automatically redirect; if a URL doesn’t have a trailing slash, accessing it with one will generate a 404.
url_formethod maps keyword arguments to variable parts; unknown parts are appended as query parameters.
PUTis similar to
POST, but the server might trigger the store procedure multiple times by overwriting the old values more than once.
- Form data in a
POSTrequest is accessed through the
formattribute; query parameters are accessed through
- Passing an error code to
abortcalls the corresponding method with an
errorhandler()decorator, which must return the error code after its
sessionobject is separate from the
requestobject, and is implemented using cryptographically signed cookies.
- To generate a good secret key for sessions, use the output from a call to
- In templates you have access to the
gobjects, and the
- If using the
tojson()filter, chain it with
safe()if the output is displayed inside a
- If you want to inject secure HTML into a template, wrap it in a
Markupobject before passing it to the template.
- The keys and values returned by a context processor are merged with the template context, for all templates in the app.
Testing Flask applications
- Flask allows testing your application by exposing the Werkzeug test
Clientand handling the context locals for you.
TESTINGconfiguration flag disables the error catching during request handling so that you get better error reports when issuing requests.
withstatement activates a request context temporarily, giving access to the
sessionobjects like in view functions.
after_request()functions aren’t called with a test request context; for the former, call
session_transaction()function allows creating or modifying a session before a request is issued in the context of the test client.
Logging application errors
- To override the human-readable time returned by
%(asctime)s, subclass the formatter and override the
- To configure loggers for third-party modules like
sqlalchemy, retrieve them using
configattribute is where Flask itself puts certain configuration values, extensions put their configuration values, and you can put configuration values.
- For debugging, set
Trueto not execute error handlers of HTTP exceptions, and
Trueto return tracebacks for Werkzeug and
from_envvarfunction specifies an environment variable that is a pathname; its contents then override values in the configuration.
- Best practice is to keep a default configuration, use an environment variable to switch between configurations, and use a tool like fabric to push code and configurations separately.
- Instance folders are suitable for values that change at runtime or configuration files, and can specify resources outside the application’s folder, or
connected_to()helper method allows temporarily subscribing a function to a signal with a context manager on its own.
- Signals, or events, are singletons; to emit a signal, you must pass the sender to its
- If emitting a signal from a random function, you can pass
current_app._get_current_object()as the sender.
- By representing views as methods of classes, you can use inheritance and pass differing arguments to the constructor to promote reuse and modularity.
- To specify decorators for the view function of a pluggable class, create a static, list variable named
The application context
- The application context contains functionality that may be needed during a request, but is derived from the application, and not the request.
- The application context never moves between threads or is shared between requests, and is therefore suitable to store database connection information, etc.
The request context
- The request context is internally maintained as a stack; pushing and popping multiple times is useful to implement things like internal redirects.
- If a
before_request()function executed before the view returns a response, the other functions are no longer called.
- With an unhandled exception, the
after_request()callbacks are not called, but the
teardown_request()function is always executed.
- Note that when using
with app.test_client()in tests,
teardown_request()callbacks aren’t executed until the block has been exited.
_get_current_object()returns the underlying proxied object for inheritance checks or when the real object reference is needed, like for sending signals.
- Blueprints provide separation at the Flask level, share application configuration, and can change an application object as necessary.
- Whether a blueprint can be mounted more than once depends on how it is implemented.
- A blueprint’s template folder is added to the searchpath of templates but with a lower priority than that of the application, allowing overriding of templates.
- When using
url_for()outside a blueprint, you must qualify endpoints with the blueprint name; inside the blueprint, prefix the endpoint with
Patterns: Larger applications
__init__.pyfile should create the Flask application object, and then import all the view functions.
Patterns: Deploying with Distribute
- distribute, formerly setuptools, extends distutils to add dependency support, a package registry, and
easy_install, soon to be replaced by
- Distributing resources with standard modules is not supported by distribute; your application must be a package.
- For distribute to lookup subpackages automatically instead of listing them explicitly, use
- To include the
staticsubdirectories, add them to your
MANIFEST.infile and set
installcommand copies into the site-packages folder;
developcreates a symlink so changes are seen instantly.
Patterns: Deploying with Fabric
- To use Fabric, the application already has to be a package and requires a working
- All functions defined in
fabfile.pyare fab subcommands, and execute on hosts defined either in the file or on the command line.
- The WSGI file must import the application and also set an environment variable so that the application knows where to find the configuration file.
- To handle differing configuration files between servers, copy them to all servers, and then symlink each file for a server to its expected location, like in
Patterns: SQLAlchemy in Flask
- If not using the Flask-SQLAlchemy extension, you must use
scoped_session, and have a
teardown_requestdecorator that calls
Patterns: View decorators
- When defining a decorator, use
functools.wraps()to update the
__module__, and some other attributes of a function.
- Common decorator uses include redirecting logged out users to a login page when needed, and returning values from and populating a cache.
Patterns: Form validation with WTForms
- The Flask-WTF extension adds a handful of helper functions that make working with forms easier in Flask.
- Rendered fields in WTForms accept HTML attributes as keyword arguments, and because they are already HTML escaped, should be passed through the
Patterns: Template inheritance
extendstag must be the first tag in a child template.
- To render the contents of a block defined in the parent template, use “.
Patterns: Message flashing
- Flashing allows recording a message at the end of a request and accessing it on the next request, and only that request.
- Categories can be used to style messages differently, or to display only a subset of messages to the user.
Patterns: AJAX with jQuery
url_for()method handles your application moving to a different path; in a
scripttag, set the root as
scripttag is declared CDATA and so there must not be
tojsonfilter will escape slashes for you in this context.
Patterns: Custom error pages
- If you have some kind of access control on your website, send a 403 (forbidden) code for disallowed resources.
- The 410 (gone) code is for resources that previously existed but were deleted.
Patterns: Deferred request callbacks
- If you must modify the response at a point where the response doesn’t exist yet, attach callbacks to the
gobject and call them in an
API: Application object
- If using a single module, pass
Flaskconstructor; if using a package, hardcode the name, or pass
app_context()binds the application only; as long it is bound to the current context,
flask.current_apppoints to that application.
True, the debugger is run when an unhandled exception occurs, and the integrated server automatically recognizes changes to the code.
errorhandlerdecorator can be registered not just with status codes, but with arbitrary exception types.
- By default the logger name is the name passed to the
response_classinstance; a passed string is used as the response body, or it accepts a
(response, status, headers)tuple.
- Instead of overriding
open_session, replace the
permanent_session_lifetimespecifies the expiration date of a permanent session; by default it is 31 days.
- To run the application in debug mode, but disable the code execution on the interactive debugger, pass
- Teardown functions registered with
teardown_request()must take every necessary step to avoid failure, like catching all exceptions.
g, and everything template context processors want to inject into the given template context.
API: Incoming request data
valuesattribute combines the contents of both
- If the mimetype is application/json then the JSON is stored in the
jsonattribute; otherwise it is in the
API: Response objects
- Typically you don’t have to create a response object because
make_response()will do this for you.
- Modifications of mutable structures in a sessions are not picked up automatically; you must set
False, then the session will be deleted when the user closes the browser.
API: Session interface
- To aid user experience, a ready-only null session is used if real session support could not be loaded due to a configuration error.
API: Application globals
flask.gallows sharing data between functions for the lifetime of a request in a thread-safe manner; useful for storing the user currently logged in.
API: Useful functions and classes
flask.Flask.make_response(), and can accept the same parameters, like the status code.
after_this_requestdecorator is useful when not in a view function and the response object is not yet created.
safe_join()safely joins a directory and filename, raising
NotFoundif the resulting path is outside the directory.
- Wrapping a value in
Markupmarks it as without need for escaping; to actually escape a value before wrapping, call
Markupextends the unicode (string) class, and so it supports operations like
+while escaping the arguments.
API: Returning JSON
dumps()function of the JSON module is available as the
tojsonfilter; inside a
<script>tag, pass its output through
safeto disable escaping.
- When loading a configuration from a file or module, only uppercase keys are added, so lowercase values can be used as temporary ones.
- When loading configurations,
from_pyfile()behaves as if the file were imported with
from_envvar()as if read using