Historical Documents

Here are documents which contain no pertinent information or documentation. People from the Twisted team have published them, and they serve as interesting land marks and thoughts. Please don’t look here for documentation – however, if you are interested in the history of Twisted, or want to quote from these documents, feel free. Remember, however – the documents here may contain wrong information – they are not updated as Twisted is, to keep their historical value intact.


Python Community Conference

These papers were part of the Python Community Conference (PyCon) in March of 2003.

Generalization of Deferred Execution in Python

A deceptively simple architectural challenge faced by many multi-tasking applications is gracefully doing nothing. Systems that must wait for the results of a long-running process, network message, or database query while continuing to perform other tasks must establish conventions for the semantics of waiting. The simplest of these is blocking in a thread, but it has significant scalability problems. In asynchronous frameworks, the most common approach is for long-running methods to accept a callback that will be executed when the command completes. These callbacks will have different signatures depending on the nature of the data being requested, and often, a great deal of code is necessary to glue one portion of an asynchronous networking system to another. Matters become even more complicated when a developer wants to wait for two different events to complete, requiring the developer to “juggle” the callbacks and create a third, mutually incompatible callback type to handle the final result.

This paper describes the mechanism used by the Twisted framework for waiting for the results of long-running operations. This mechanism, the Deferred , handles the often-neglected problems of error handling, callback juggling, inter-system communication and code readability.

Applications of the Twisted Framework

Two projects developed using the Twisted framework are described; one, Twisted.names, which is included as part of the Twisted distribution, a domain name server and client API, and one, Pynfo, which is packaged separately, a network information robot.

Twisted Conch: SSH in Python with Twisted

Conch is an implementation of the Secure Shell Protocol (currently in the IETF standarization process). Secure Shell (or SSH) is a popular protocol for remote shell access, file management and port forwarding protected by military-grade security. SSH supports multiple encryption and compression protocols for the wire transports, and a flexible system of multiplexed channels on top. Conch uses the Twisted networking framework to supply a library which can be used to implement both SSH clients and servers. In addition, it also contains several ready made client programs, including a drop-in replacement for the OpenSSH program from the OpenBSD project.

The Lore Document Generation Framework

Lore is a documentation generation system which uses a limited subset of XHTML, together with some class attributes, as its source format. This allows for lower barrier of entry than many other similar systems, since HTML authoring tools are plentiful as is knowledge of HTML writing. As an added advantage, the source format is viewable directly, so that even if Lore is not available the documentation is useful. It currently outputs LaTeX and HTML, which allows for most use-cases.

Perspective Broker: “Translucent” Remote Method calls in Twisted

One of the core services provided by the Twisted networking framework is “Perspective Broker” , which provides a clean, secure, easy-to-use Remote Procedure Call (RPC) mechanism. This paper explains the novel features of PB, describes the security model and its implementation, and provides brief examples of usage.

Managing the Release of a Large Python Project

Twisted is a Python networking framework. At last count, the project contains nearly 60,000 lines of effective code (not comments or blank lines). When preparing a release, many details must be checked, and many steps must be followed. We describe here the technologies and tools we use, and explain how we built tools on top of them which help us make releasing as painless as possible.

Twisted Reality: A Flexible Framework for Virtual Worlds

Flexibly modelling virtual worlds in object-oriented languages has historically been difficult; the issues arising from multiple inheritance and order-of-execution resolution have limited the sophistication of existing object-oriented simulations. Twisted Reality avoids these problems by reifying both actions and relationships, and avoiding inheritance in favor of automated composition through adapters and interfaces.