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HTTP server and request handler built on top of BaseHTTPServer intended for Raspberry Pi projects with a web interface

Project description

HTTP server and request handler built on top of Python standard library’s BaseHTTPServer. Originally intended for Raspberry Pi projects with a web interface, the small web server and associated request handler add some interesting features to BaseHTTPServer and can be used independently of Raspberry Pi.

The provided example shows how to create a simple web interface to switch ON / OFF a LED via Raspberry GPIO.


  • config in json file
  • optional multithreaded server
  • static file serving with cache
  • POST parsing
  • QS parsing
  • dynamic routing based on configuration or convention

Basic usage:

If you are familiar with Python standard library’s BaseHTTPServer and BaseHTTPRequestHandler it should be pretty straightforward: add a method named routed_<request> to your handler class in order to handle a request to the /<request> URL and set the self.content property to the HTML string to be served over HTTP.

class MyHandler(RPiHTTPRequestHandler):
  def routed_whatever:
  # your method definition to serve http://<my_address>:<my_port>/whatever
  # do cool stuff
    self.content = "<html><body>whatever</body></html>"

MyServer = RPiHTTPServer(path_to_config_file, MyHandler)

Default config:

  "SERVER_PORT": 80,
  "STATIC_URL_PREFIX": '/static',
  "STATIC_FOLDER": os.getcwd(), # take cwd as default
  "STATIC_CACHE": 604800,
  "ROUTE": { # basic dynamic routing
    "GET": {
      "": "default_response",
    "POST": {
      "": "default_response",

Detailed instructions

Configuration file

Prepare your config file in JSON format following the default config provided.

Add whatever configuration additional parameter you may need, for instance “GPIO_PIN”: 5.

Leave “ROUTE” like it is for the time being (read more about routes below).

Static files

If you want to be able to serve static content, such as images, css, javascripts, etc., prepare a folder for such files and put the absolute path in the config parameter “STATIC_FOLDER”.

You can serve static content directly from the directory where your python script is: in such case, just omit the “STATIC_FOLDER” parameter in the config file.

The config parameter “STATIC_URL_PREFIX” identifies the virtual path to be prepended in the URL to reach static files from HTTP. So, for instance, if you leave the default “STATIC_URL_PREFIX” and you have an image named “foo.png” directly under the configured “STATIC_FOLDER”, this will be served via HTTP under


Python script

Now in your Python script you need to define the logic by extending the RPiHTTPRequestHandler class. By default every request to the HTTP server is mapped to a method of the extended class with the same name of the request prepended by routed_.

For instance, a request to http://<your_server_address>:<your_port>/switchon, will look for the method routed_switchon of the request handler class. If the method is not available the server will simply give a 404 error.

If you want to specify a custom method for a request, define the method in the “ROUTE” config parameter. One method you would like almost certainly define (or override) is the default_response (request for the / URL).

The mapped method just need to set the self.content variable (as a string) and such content will be served over HTTP.

In such scenario, your code could look like this:

class MyHandler(RPiHTTPRequestHandler):
    def routed_switchon(self):
        # DO something cool, e.g.: GPIO.output(self.config.GPIO_PIN, GPIO.HIGH)
        self.content = "<!DOCTYPE html><html><h1>Switch on</h1></html>"

MyServer = RPiHTTPServer("path/to/config.json", MyHandler)

From the example above you see that you can have access to the config parameters via self.config.PARAMETER_NAME. You can also add additional properties to the server property of the RPiHTTPServer instance, and that will make them available in the request handler class under self.server.PROPERTY_NAME. So for instance, referring to the example above you could write:

MyServer = RPiHTTPServer("path/to/config.json", MyHandler)
MyServer.server.switch_status = 0

Now in MyHandler you can access to switch_status via self.server.switch_status.

Other properties you can specify/alter before setting self.content:

  • self.content_type: by default set to “text/html; charset=UTF-8”
  • self.response_status: integer, by default set to 200
  • self.response_headers: by default an empty dictionary, it will be automatically filled with Content-Type and Content-Length before serving the request. Set additional dictionary keys to serve additional headers.

Other useful properties accessible in the request handler class:

  • self.config: gives you access to the configuration
  • self.url: urlparse result on the request path (see
  • self.qs: dictionary containing the parameters of the parsed query string urlparse.parse_qs
  • self.form: cgi.FieldStorage containing the parameters of the parsed POST request
  • self.request_xhr: boolean set to true if the request was issued via xhr

HTML templates

At this stage the library does not handle HTML templates for you: you have to set the self.content variable to the string that will be served over HTTP.


  • improve documentation
  • provide template handling
  • support for Python 3k
  • handle config file parse error
  • handle array params in POST request
  • safely handle non utf-8 chars in POST request

Project details

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