You want to provide an interface into your application that can be used by other programs. For example, a bug tracking system could support some way for users to write scripts that retrieve the list of bugs assigned to them.
Write an XML-RPC interface. Quixote includes a helper function in the quixote.util module that simplifies the task.
from quixote.util import xmlrpc def rpc (request, rpc_process): return xmlrpc(request, rpc_process) def rpc_process (meth, params): if meth == 'list_bugs': user, password = params return retrieve_bugs_for_user(user, password) else: raise RuntimeError, "Unknown XML-RPC method: %r" % meth
To call the interface implemented above from a Python script, you would use the following code:
import xmlrpclib s = xmlrpclib.Server('http://your.server.example.com/rpc') bugs = s.list_bugs('amk', 'password')
XML-RPC implementations are available for most other languages, so the list_bugs() method could be called from any of them.
XML-RPC's data types are relatively limited. You can return numbers, strings, lists, and dictionaries. You can't return Python objects, complex numbers,or Python's None value (the most irritating omission).
Consult the web-services.txt documentation file included with Quixote for more information about implementing XML-RPC interfaces.
The 'RPC' stands for Remote Procedure Call, since you're basically providing a way to call a function on your server. REST is a competing application design approach that uses URLs to represent operations and queries, and therefore has certain nice properties. For example, if you have a URL representing "amk's bug list", this URL can be bookmarked, forwarded to other people, and have RDF assertions made about it, none of which are possible with XML-RPC queries.