Gregory Trubetskoy

Notes to self.

Hacking on Mod_python (Again)

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Nearly eight years after my last commit to Mod_python I’ve decided to spend some time hacking on it again.

Five years without active development and thirteen since its first release, it still seems to me an entirely useful and viable tool. The code is exceptionally clean, the documentation is amazing, and the test suite is awesome. Which is a real testament to the noble efforts of all the people who contributed to its development.

We live in this new c10k world now where Apache Httpd no longer has the market dominance it once enjoyed, while the latest Python web frameworks run without requiring or recommending Mod_python. My hunch, however, is that given a thorough dusting it could be quite useful (perhaps more than ever) and applied in very interesting ways to solve the new problems. I also think the Python language is at a very important inflection point. Pyhton 3 is now mature, and is slowly but steadily becoming the preferred language of many interesting communities such as data science, for example.

The current status of Mod_python as an Apache project is that it’s in the attic. This means that the ASF isn’t providing much in the way of infrastructure support any longer, nor will you see an “official” ASF release any time soon. (If ever - Mod_python would have to re-enter as an incubator project and at this point it is entirely premature to even consider such an option).

For now the main goal is to re-establish the community, and as part of that I will have to sort out how to do issue tracking, discussion groups, etc. At this point the only thing I’ve decided is that the main repository will live on github.

The latest code is in 4.0.x branch. My initial development goal is to bring it up to compatibility with Python 2.7 and Apache Httpd 2.4 (I’m nearly there already), then potentially move on to Python 3 support. I have rolled back a few commits (most notably the new importer) because I did not understand them. There are still a few changes in Apache 2.4 that need to be addressed, but they seem relatively minor at this point. Authentication has been changed significantly in 2.4, though mod_python never had much coverage in that area.

Let’s see where this takes us? And if you like this, feel free to star and fork Mod_python on github and follow it on Twitter: