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Modular HTTP server: Auth, Caching, Proxy, and more

Project description


mixnmatchttp is a modular HTTP/S server based on Python's http server that lets you "mix 'n' match" various functionalities. It defines several request handlers, which are wrappers around http.server.SimpleHTTPRequestHandler, as well as a ThreadingHTTPServer which can be used in place of Python's http.server.HTTPServer for multi-threading support.

Quick start

Request handlers define special endpoints and/or templates as class attributes.

Endpoints are the RESTful API of the server. A request which does not map to an endpoint is treated as a request for a file or directory (Python's http server handles it, unless your class overrides the do_(GET|POST|...) methods). A request which does map to an endpoint will call an endpoint handler: a method of your class by the name do_{underscope-separated path} with "path" being the most-specific (longest) path for which a method is defined. E.g. /foo/bar/baz will try to call do_foo_bar_baz, then do_foo_bar, then do_foo, and finally do_default. do_default is defined in BaseHTTPRequestHandler but your class may want to override it.

Template pages are parametrized response bodies. Templates specify a template page to be used with and give a dictionary of parameters and values to use with the template. Each parameter value may also contain dynamic parameters, which are given to the BaseHTTPRequestHandler.page_from_template method, which constructs the final page.

You can inherit from one or more of the *HTTPRequestHandlers. Each parent's endpoints/templates will be copied to, without overwriting, your child class' endpoints/templates.

Important notes:

  • If you need to override any of the HTTP method handlers (e.g. do_GET), you must decorate them with mixnmatchttp.handlers.base.methodhandler, as shown in the demo below. And if you need to call any of the parent's HTTP method handlers you must call the original wrapped method using the __wrapped__ attribute, as shown in the demo.

Defining endpoints

Endpoints, templates and template pages constructors have the same signature as for a dictionary. Endpoints are of type mixnmatchttp.endpoints.Endpoint, while templates and template pages are of type mixnmatchttp.common.DictNoClobber. However, you can define them as a dictionary, or any type which has a dictionary-like interface, and BaseHTTPRequestHandler's meta class will convert them to the appropriate class.

For example you can define endpoints like so:

class MyHandler(BaseHTTPRequestHandler):
    _endpoints = mixnmatchttp.endpoints.Endpoint(
                '$allowed_methods': {'GET', 'POST'},
                '$nargs': 1,
                'some_sub_sub': {
                    '$nargs': endpoints.ARGS_ANY,
                    '$raw_args': True, # don't canonicalize rest of path

or like so:

class MyHandler(BaseHTTPRequestHandler):
    _endpoints = mixnmatchttp.endpoints.Endpoint({
            'some_sub': {
                '$allowed_methods': {'GET', 'POST'},
                '$nargs': 1,
                'some_sub_sub': {
                    '$nargs': endpoints.ARGS_ANY,
                    '$raw_args': True, # don't canonicalize rest of path

or like so:

class MyHandler(BaseHTTPRequestHandler):
    _endpoints = {
            'some_sub': {
                '$allowed_methods': {'GET', 'POST'},
                '$nargs': 1,
                'some_sub_sub': {
                    '$nargs': endpoints.ARGS_ANY,
                    '$raw_args': True, # don't canonicalize rest of path
            'some_other_sub': {}

Any keyword arguments or dictionary keys starting with $ correspond to an attribute (without the $) which specifies how an endpoint can be called. All other keyword arguments/keys become child endpoints of the parent; their value should be another Endpoint (or any dictionary-like object).

Default endpoint attributes are:

disabled=False|True            # specifies if the enpoint cannot be called directly;
                               # False for child endpoints but True for root endpoint
allowed_methods={'GET','HEAD'} # a set of allowed HTTP methods; HEAD is added to the
                               # set if 'GET' is present
nargs=0                        # how many slash-separated arguments the endpoint can take;
                               # can be a number of any of:
                               #   mixnmatchttp.endpoints.ARGS_OPTIONAL for 0 or 1
                               #   mixnmatchttp.endpoints.ARGS_ANY      for any number
                               #   mixnmatchttp.endpoints.ARGS_REQUIRED for 1 or more
                               # !!only reliable if raw_args is False!!
raw_args=False                 # whether arguments should not be canonicalized,
                               # e.g. /foo/..//bar/./baz will not be turned to /bar/baz

Child endpoints are enabled by default, the root endpoint is disabled by default; if you want it enabled, either manually change the disabled attribute, or construct it like so:

class MyHandler(BaseHTTPRequestHandler):
    _endpoints = {
        'some_sub': { ... },
        '$disabled': False, # a request for / will now call do_ or do_default
                            # instead of do_(GET|POST|...)

Handling parsed endpoints

When a path resolves to an endpoint, ep, the corresponding endpoint handler (do_???) will be passed a single argument: a mixnmatchttp.endpoints.ParsedEndpoint (inherits from mixnmatchttp.endpoints.Endpoint) initialized from the original ep with the following additional attributes:

  • httpreq: the instance of BaseHTTPRequestHandler for this request
  • handler: partial of the httpreq's method selected as a handler, with the first argument being the ParsedEndpoint itself
  • root: longest path of the endpoint (with a leading /) corresponding to a defined handler, i.e. if the path is /foo/bar and do_foo is selected, root will be /foo; if using do_default, root is empty ('').
  • sub: rest of the path of the endpoint without a leading /, e.g. bar or foo/bar
  • args: everything following the endpoint's path without a leading /
  • argslen: the number of arguments it was called with (length of array from / separated args)

Example: Implementing a server

Some methods that you may want to override, as well as implementing a custom endpoint and template, are shown below for MyHandler:

#  from __future__ import unicode_literals
from __future__ import print_function
from __future__ import division
from __future__ import absolute_import
from builtins import *
from future import standard_library
import re
import ssl
from http.server import HTTPServer
from mixnmatchttp.servers import ThreadingHTTPServer
from mixnmatchttp import endpoints
from mixnmatchttp.handlers import BaseHTTPRequestHandler,methodhandler
from mixnmatchttp.common import DictNoClobber

class MyHandler(BaseHTTPRequestHandler):
    _endpoints = endpoints.Endpoint(
            foobar={ }, # will use do_default handler
                '$nargs': endpoints.ARGS_OPTIONAL,
                # these are for when /debug is called
                '$allowed_methods': {'GET', 'POST'},
                '$nargs': 1,
                'sub': { # will use do_debug handler
                    # these are for when /debug/sub is called
                    '$nargs': endpoints.ARGS_ANY,
                    '$raw_args': True, # don't canonicalize rest of path
    _template_pages = DictNoClobber(
    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <meta charset="UTF-8" />
    _templates = DictNoClobber(
                'HEAD':'<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="${interval}">',
                'BODY':'<h1>Example page, will refresh every ${interval}s.</h1>',
            'page': 'simplehtml',
                'CONTENT':'${info}You called endpoint $root ($sub) ($args)',
            'page': 'simpletxt',

    def do_refreshme(self, ep):
        interval = ep.args
        if not interval:
            interval = '30'

        '''Handler for the endpoint /refreshme'''
        page = self.page_from_template(self.templates['refresh'],
                {'interval': interval})

    def do_debug(self, ep):
        '''Handler for the endpoint /debug'''
        # set a header just for this request
        self.headers_to_send['X-Debug'] = 'Foo'
        page = self.page_from_template(self.templates['debug'],
                {'root': ep.root, 'sub': ep.sub, 'args': ep.args})

    def do_default(self, ep):
        '''Default endpoints handler'''
        page = self.page_from_template(self.templates['debug'],
                {'info': 'This is do_default. ',
                    'root': ep.root, 'sub': ep.sub, 'args': ep.args})

    # Don't forget this decorator!
    def do_GET(self):
        # Do something here, then call parent's undecorated method

    def denied(self):
        '''Deny access to /forbidden'''
        if re.match('^/forbidden(/|$)', self.pathname):
            # return args are passed to BaseHTTPRequestHandler.send_error
            # in that order; both messages are optional
            return (403, None, 'Access denied')
        return super().denied()

    def no_cache(self):
      '''Only allow caching of scripts'''
      return (not self.pathname.endswith('.js')) or super().no_cache()

    def send_custom_headers(self):
      '''Send our custom headers'''
      self.send_header('X-Foo', 'Foobar')

if __name__ == "__main__":
    use_SSL = False
    keyfile = '' # path to PEM key, if use_SSL is True
    certfile = '' # path to PEM certificate, if use_SSL is True
    srv_cls = HTTPServer
    # srv_cls = ThreadingHTTPServer # if using multi-threading
    address = ''
    port = 58080

    httpd = srv_cls((address, port), MyHandler)
    if use_SSL:
        httpd.socket = ssl.wrap_socket(

    except KeyboardInterrupt:
  • A request for /debug/sub/..//foo/../bar/./baz will call self.do_debug with ep, a copy of MyHandler._endpoints['debug']['sub']. ep.root will be "debug", ep.sub will be "sub", ep.args will be "..//foo/../bar/./baz". self.command will give the HTTP method.
  • A request for /debug/foo/../bar will canonicalize the path to /debug/bar (since raw_args for /debug is False) call do_debug with ep, a copy of MyHandler._endpoints['debug']. ep.root will be "debug", ep.sub will be "", ep.args will be "bar".
  • A request for /debug/../bar will raise mixnmatchttp.endpoints.NotAnEndpointError since the path will be canonicalized (as above) and result in /bar, and bar is not a valid endpoint.
  • A POST request for /foobar will raise mixnmatchttp.endpoints.MethodNotAllowedError since /foobar only allows HTTP GET.
  • A request for /debug/../foobar will call parent's do_default with ep, a copy of MyHandler._endpoints['foobar']. ep.root will be "", ep.sub will be "foobar", ep.args will be "".
  • A request for /debug/foo/bar will raise mixnmatchttp.endpoints.ExtraArgsError since /debug expect exactly one argument.
  • A request for /debug will raise mixnmatchttp.endpoints.MissingArgsError since /debug expect exactly one argument.
  • A request for /refreshme will render a page which refreshes every 30 seconds (default).
  • A request for /refreshme/5 will render a page which refreshes every 5 seconds.



Implements username:password authentication via form or JSON POST request. Has configurable file paths/endpoints for which authentication is required.

If no file containing username:password is set (as a _userfile class attribute), it implements dummy authentication (all logins succeed).

  • GET|POST /login: Issues a SESSION cookie if username and password is valid
    • Supported URL parameters:
      • goto: Redirect to this URL
    • Required body or URL parameters (unless no userfile was given, in which case it always authenticates):
      • username: Username (duh)
      • password: Password (duh)
    • Response codes:
      • 200 OK: Authentication successful; SESSION cookie is set
      • 401 Unauthorized: Username or password invalid;
      • 302 Found: Location is as requested via the goto parameter
    • Notes:
      • Sessions are forgotten on the server side upon restart
      • Cookies are issued with the HttpOnly flag, and if over SSL with the Secure flag as well
  • GET /logout: Clears the SESSION cookie from the browser and the server
    • Supported URL parameters:
      • goto: Redirect to this URL
    • Response codes:
      • 200 OK: Empty body
      • 302 Found: Location is as requested via the goto parameter
  • GET|POST /changepwd: Changes the password for a given username
    • Supported URL parameters:
      • goto: Redirect to this URL
    • Required body or URL parameters:
      • username: Username (duh)
      • password: Current password
      • new_password: New password (duh)
    • Response codes:
      • 200 OK: Success; password is changed, current SESSION is invalidated and a new SESSION cookie is set
      • 401 Unauthorized: Username or password invalid
      • 302 Found: Location is as requested via the goto parameter


Allows saving of content as a named page for later request, or displaying the encoded (URL or base64) request content as a page in response.

  • POST /echo: Render the requested content
    • Supported URL parameters:
      • data: The encoded content of the page to be rendered (required)
      • type: The content type of the rendered page (defaults to text/plain)
    • Supported formats:
      • application/json with base64 encoded data
      • application/x-www-form-urlencoded (with URL encoded data)
    • Response codes:
      • 200 OK: The body and Content-Type are as requested
      • 400 Bad Request: Cannot decode data or find the data parameter
  • POST /cache/{name}: Temporarily save the requested content (in memory only)
    • Supported URL parameters and formats are the same as for POST /echo
    • Response codes:
      • 204 No Content: Page cached
      • 500 Server Error: Maximum cache memory reached, or page {name} already cached
    • Notes:
      • Once saved, a page cannot be overwritten (until the server is shutdown) even if it is cleared from memory (see /cache/clear)
  • GET /cache/{name}: Retrieve a previously saved page
    • Response codes:
      • 200 OK: The body and Content-Type are as requested during caching
      • 500 Server Error: No such cached page, or page cleared from memory
  • GET /cache/clear/{name}: Clear a previously saved page to free memory
    • Response codes:
      • 204 No Content: Page cleared
  • GET /cache/clear: Clear all previously saved pages to free memory
    • Response codes:
      • 204 No Content: All pages cleared
  • GET /cache/new: Get a random UUID
    • Response codes:
      • 200 OK: Body contains a randomly generated UUID; use in POST /cache/{uuid}


Redirects (with 307) to any address given in the URL.

  • GET /goto/{address}: Redirect to this (URI-decoded) address
    • Response codes:
      • 302 Found: Location is the address which follows /goto/; if domain is not given (i.e. address does not start with schema:// or //) it is taken from the Referer, Origin, X-Forwarded-Host, X-Forwarded-For or Forwarded
      • 200 OK: Empty body; this happens if address was relative (no domain) and neither of the aforementioned headers was given
    • Notes:
      • Unlike the address given as a goto parameter to some of the other endpoints, the address here is not URI-decoded
      • The {address} is not parsed at all, its path is not canonicalized unlike calls to other endpoints. I.e. /login///foo.baz/../..//cache will call /cache, but /goto///foo.baz/../..//cache will redirect to //foo.baz/../..//cache (remote host foo.baz with path ../..//cache)

Known issues

  • Clearing of cache is not done safely in mutli-threaded context. You may experience issues under heavy load. Solution: Wait for fix...
  • When running as a signle thread (default), the server sometimes hangs. It seems to be an issue whereby some browsers don't close the socket. Solution: Run the server in multi-thread mode (-t option).
  • Occasionally a BrokenPipeError is thrown. It happens with some browsers which close the socket abruptly. Solution: Just ignore it.

Coming soon

  • MT-safe saving and clearing of cache

Possibly coming at some point

  • Database lookup of users
  • Password policy

Demos and source

Source code and demo scripts which build on the handlers can be found at

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