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A sample Flask application

Today I bring you a game made with Python and Flask extracted from my book Python 3 Combat Guide.

It is a very simple game where you have to choose what Star wars robot you prefer.

Then an internal counter, kept in a static variable, is updated.

I display the time as well, to show the use of a in import and dynamic contents printed as well.

I added a Dockerfile and a bash script to build the Docker Image, so you can run the Docker Container without installing anything in your computer.

You can download the code from here:

https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/python-flask-r2d2

Or clone the project:

git clone https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/python-flask-r2d2.git

Then build the image with the script I provided:

sudo ./build_docker.sh 

After Docker Image flask_app is built, you can run a Docker Container based on it with:

sudo docker run -d -p 5000:5000 --name flask_app flask_app

After you’re done, in order to stop the Container type:

sudo docker stop flask_app

Here is the source code of the Python file flask_app.py:

#
# flask_app.py
#
# Author: Carles Mateo
# Creation Date: 2020-05-10 20:50 GMT+1
# Description: A simple Flask Web Application
#              Part of the samples of https://leanpub.com/pythoncombatguide
#              More source code for the book at https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/python_combat_guide
#

from flask import Flask
import datetime


def get_datetime(b_milliseconds=False):
    """
    Return the datetime with miliseconds in format YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS.xxxxx
    or without milliseconds as YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS
    """
    if b_milliseconds is True:
        s_now = str(datetime.datetime.now())
    else:
        s_now = str(datetime.datetime.now().strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"))

    return s_now


app = Flask(__name__)

# Those variables will keep their value as long as Flask is running
i_votes_r2d2 = 0
i_votes_bb8 = 0


@app.route('/')
def page_root():
    s_page = "<html>"
    s_page += "<title>My Web Page!</title>"
    s_page += "<body>"
    s_page += "<h1>Time now is: " + get_datetime() + "</h1>"
    s_page += """<h2>Who is more sexy?</h2>
<a href="r2d2"><img src="static/r2d2.png"></a> <a href="bb8"><img width="250" src="static/bb8.jpg"></a>"""
    s_page += "</body>"
    s_page += "</html>"

    return s_page


@app.route('/bb8')
def page_bb8():
    global i_votes_bb8

    i_votes_bb8 = i_votes_bb8 + 1

    s_page = "<html>"
    s_page += "<title>My Web Page!</title>"
    s_page += "<body>"
    s_page += "<h1>Time now is: " + get_datetime() + "</h1>"
    s_page += """<h2>BB8 Is more sexy!</h2>
                <img width="250" src="static/bb8.jpg">"""
    s_page += "<p>I have: " + str(i_votes_bb8) + "</p>"
    s_page += "</body>"
    s_page += "</html>"

    return s_page


@app.route('/r2d2')
def page_r2d2():
    global i_votes_r2d2

    i_votes_r2d2 = i_votes_r2d2 + 1

    s_page = "<html>"
    s_page += "<title>My Web Page!</title>"
    s_page += "<body>"
    s_page += "<h1>Time now is: " + get_datetime() + "</h1>"
    s_page += """<h2>R2D2 Is more sexy!</h2>
                <img src="static/r2d2.png">"""
    s_page += "<p>I have: " + str(i_votes_r2d2) + "</p>"
    s_page += "</body>"
    s_page += "</html>"

    return s_page


if __name__ == "__main__":
    app.run(host="0.0.0.0", port=5000, debug=True)

As always, the naming of the variables is based on MT Notation.

The Dockerfile is very straightforward:

FROM ubuntu:20.04

MAINTAINER Carles Mateo

ARG DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive

RUN apt update && \
    apt install -y vim python3-pip &&  pip3 install pytest && \
    apt-get clean

ENV PYTHON_COMBAT_GUIDE /var/python_combat_guide

RUN mkdir -p $PYTHON_COMBAT_GUIDE

COPY ./ $PYTHON_COMBAT_GUIDE

ENV PYTHONPATH "${PYTHONPATH}:$PYTHON_COMBAT_GUIDE/src/:$PYTHON_COMBAT_GUIDE/src/lib"

RUN pip3 install -r $PYTHON_COMBAT_GUIDE/requirements.txt

# This is important so when executing python3 -m current directory will be added to Syspath
# Is not necessary, as we added to PYTHONPATH
#WORKDIR $PYTHON_COMBAT_GUIDE/src/lib

EXPOSE 5000

# Launch our Flask Application
CMD ["/usr/bin/python3", "/var/python_combat_guide/src/flask_app.py"]

News from the blog 2021-07-23

  • I’ve released v. 0.99 of carleslibs package
    This package includes utilities for:
    • Files and Directories handling
    • Date/Time retrieval
    • Python version detection

You can install it with:

pip install carleslibs

The minimum requirement declared is Python 3.6, although they work with Python 3.5 and Python 2.7, as I want to drop support for no longer supported versions.

Instructions can be found in here: carleslibs page.

Video: Beginners Python: teaching to work with for, range, lists, dicts

I recorded this class where some university colleagues and few of my students joined me.

It is recorded at Full HD. Increase Youtube’s quality to make sure the video is smoothly displayed.

You can download the source code from a previous class and this one in Gitlab:

https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/python-classes

If you are looking for my technical books follow the link.

If you would like to become one of my students, or to have me as Mentor, check this section in my blog:

Classes and Mentor

A small Python + MySql + Docker program as a sample

This article can be found in my book Python Combat Guide.

I wrote this code and article in order to help my Python students to mix together Object Oriented Programming, MySql, and Docker.

You can have everything in action with only downloading the code and running the docker_build.sh and docker_run.sh scripts.

You can download the source code from:

https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/python-mysql-example

and clone with:

git clone https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/python-mysql-example.git

Installing the MySql driver

You can download the source code from:

https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/python-mysql-example

and clone with:

git clone https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/python-mysql-example.git

Installing the MySql driver

We are going to use Oracle’s official MySql driver for Python.

All the documentation is here:

https://dev.mysql.com/doc/connector-python/en/

In order to install we will use pip.

To install it in Ubuntu:

pip install mysql-connector-python

In Mac Os X you have to use pip3 instead of pip.

However we are going to run everything from a Docker Container so the only thing you need is to have installed Docker.

If you prefer to install MySql in your computer (or Virtual Box instance) directly, skip the Docker steps.

Dockerfile

The Dockerfile is the file that Docker uses to build the Docker Container.

Ours is like that:

FROM ubuntu:20.04

MAINTAINER Carles Mateo

ARG DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive

RUN apt update && apt install -y python3 pip mysql-server vim mc wget curl && apt-get clean
RUN pip install mysql-connector-python

EXPOSE 3306

ENV FOLDER_PROJECT /var/mysql_carles

RUN mkdir -p $FOLDER_PROJECT

COPY docker_run_mysql.sh $FOLDER_PROJECT
COPY start.sql $FOLDER_PROJECT
COPY src $FOLDER_PROJECT

RUN chmod +x /var/mysql_carles/docker_run_mysql.sh

CMD ["/var/mysql_carles/docker_run_mysql.sh"]

The first line defines that we are going to use Ubuntu 20.04 (it’s a LTS version).

We install all the apt packages in a single line, as Docker works in layers, and what is used as disk space in the previous layer is not deleted even if we delete the files, so we want to run apt update, install all the packages, and clean the temporal files in one single step.

I also install some useful tools like: vim, mc, less, wget and curl.

We expose to outside the port 3306, in case you want to run the Python code from your computer, but having the MySql in the Container.

The last line executes a script that starts the MySql service, creates the table, the user, and add two rows and runs an infinite loop so the Docker does not finish.

build_docker.sh

build_docker.sh is a Bash script that builds the Docker Image for you very easily.

It stops the container and removes the previous image, so your hard drive does not fill with Docker images if you do modifications.

It checks for errors building and it also remembers you how to run and debug the Docker Container.

#!/bin/bash

# Execute with sudo

s_DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME="blog_carlesmateo_com_mysql"

printf "Stopping old image %s\n" "${s_DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME}"
sudo docker stop "${s_DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME}"

printf "Removing old image %s\n" "${s_DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME}"
sudo docker rm "${s_DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME}"

printf "Creating Docker Image %s\n" "${s_DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME}"
sudo docker build -t ${s_DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME} . --no-cache

i_EXIT_CODE=$?
if [ $i_EXIT_CODE -ne 0 ]; then
printf "Error. Exit code %s\n" ${i_EXIT_CODE}
exit
fi

echo "Ready to run ${s_DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME} Docker Container"
echo "To run type: sudo docker run -d -p 3306:3306 --name ${s_DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME} ${s_DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME}"
echo "or just use run_in_docker.sh"
echo
echo "Debug running Docker:"
echo "docker exec -it ${s_DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME} /bin/bash"
echo

docker_run.sh

I also provide a script named docker_run.sh that runs your Container easily, exposing the MySql port.

#!/bin/bash

# Execute with sudo

s_DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME="blog_carlesmateo_com_mysql"

docker run -d -p 3306:3306 --name ${s_DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME} ${s_DOCKER_IMAGE_NAME}

echo "Showing running Instances"
docker ps

As you saw before I named the image after blog_carlesmateo_com_mysql.

I did that so basically I wanted to make sure that the name was unique, as the build_docker.sh deletes an image named like the name I choose, I didn’t want to use a generic name like “mysql” that may lead to you to delete the Docker Image inadvertently.

docker_run_mysql.sh

This script will run when the Docker Container is launched for the first time:

#!/bin/bash

# Allow to be queried from outside
sed -i '31 s/bind-address/#bind-address/' /etc/mysql/mysql.conf.d/mysqld.cnf

service mysql start

# Create a Database, a user with password, and permissions
cd /var/mysql_carles
mysql -u root < start.sql

while [ true ]; do sleep 60; done

With sed command we modify the line 31 of the the MySQL config file so we can connect from Outside the Docker Instance (bind-address: 127.0.0.1)

As you can see it executes the SQL contained in the file start.sql as root and we start MySql.

Please note: Our MySql installation has not set a password for root. It is only for Development purposes.

start.sql

The SQL file that will be ran inside our Docker Container.

CREATE DATABASE carles_database;


CREATE USER ‘python’@’localhost’ IDENTIFIED BY ‘blog.carlesmateo.com-db-password’;
CREATE USER ‘python’@’%’ IDENTIFIED BY ‘blog.carlesmateo.com-db-password’;
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON carles_database.* TO ‘python’@’localhost’;
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON carles_database.* TO ‘python’@’%’;


USE carles_database;


CREATE TABLE car_queue (
i_id_car int,
s_model_code varchar(25),
s_color_code varchar(25),
s_extras varchar(100),
i_right_side int,
s_city_to_ship varchar(25)
);

INSERT INTO car_queue (i_id_car, s_model_code, s_color_code, s_extras, i_right_side, s_city_to_ship) VALUES (1, "GOLF2021", "BLUE7", "COND_AIR, GPS, MULTIMEDIA_V3", 0, "Barcelona");
INSERT INTO car_queue (i_id_car, s_model_code, s_color_code, s_extras, i_right_side, s_city_to_ship) VALUES (2, "GOLF2021_PLUGIN_HYBRID", "BLUEMETAL_5", "COND_AIR, GPS, MULTIMEDIA_V3, SECURITY_V5", 1, "Cork");

As you can see it creates the user “python” with the password ‘blog.carlesmateo.com-db-password’ for access local and remote (%).

It also creates a Database named carles_database and grants all the permissions to the user “python”, for local and remote.

This is the user we will use to authenticate from out Python code.

Then we switch to use the carles_database and we create the car_queue table.

We insert two rows, as an example.

select_values_example.py

Finally the Python code that will query the Database.

import mysql.connector

if __name__ == "__main__":
    o_conn = mysql.connector.connect(user='python', password='blog.carlesmateo.com-db-password', database='carles_database')
    o_cursor = o_conn.cursor()

    s_query = "SELECT * FROM car_queue"

    o_cursor.execute(s_query)

    for a_row in o_cursor:
        print(a_row)

    o_cursor.close()
    o_conn.close()

Nothing special, we open a connection to the MySql and perform a query, and parse the cursor as rows/lists.

Please note: Error control is disabled so you may see any exception.

Executing the Container

First step is to build the Container.

From the directory where you cloned the project, execute:

sudo ./build_docker.sh

Then run the Docker Container:

sudo ./docker_run.sh

The script also performs a docker ps command, so you can see that it’s running.

Entering the Container and running the code

Now you can enter inside the Docker Container:

docker exec -it blog_carlesmateo_com_mysql /bin/bash

Then change to the directory where I installed the sample files:

cd /var/mysql_carles

And execute the Python 3 example:

python3 select_values_example.py

Tying together MySql and a Python Menu with Object Oriented Programming

In order to tie all together, and specially to give a consistent view to my students, to avoid showing only pieces but a complete program, and to show a bit of Objects Oriented in action I developed a small program which simulates the handling of a production queue for Volkswagen.

MySQL Library

First I created a library to handle MySQL operations.

lib/mysqllib.py

import mysql.connector


class MySql():

    def __init__(self, s_user, s_password, s_database, s_host="127.0.0.1", i_port=3306):
        self.s_user = s_user
        self.s_password = s_password
        self.s_database = s_database
        self.s_host = s_host
        self.i_port = i_port

        o_conn = mysql.connector.connect(host=s_host, port=i_port, user=s_user, password=s_password, database=s_database)
        self.o_conn = o_conn

    def query(self, s_query):
        a_rows = []

        o_cursor = self.o_conn.cursor()

        o_cursor.execute(s_query)

        for a_row in o_cursor:
            a_rows.append(a_row)

        o_cursor.close()

        return a_rows

    def insert(self, s_query):

        o_cursor = self.o_conn.cursor()

        o_cursor.execute(s_query)
        i_inserted_row_count = o_cursor.rowcount

        # Make sure data is committed to the database
        self.o_conn.commit()

        return i_inserted_row_count

    def delete(self, s_query):

        o_cursor = self.o_conn.cursor()

        o_cursor.execute(s_query)
        i_deleted_row_count = o_cursor.rowcount

        # Make sure data is committed to the database
        self.o_conn.commit()

        return i_deleted_row_count


    def close(self):

        self.o_conn.close()

Basically when this class is instantiated, a new connection to the MySQL specified in the Constructor is established.

We have a method query() to send SELECT queries.

We have a insert method, to send INSERT, UPDATE queries that returns the number of rows affected.

This method ensures to perform a commit to make sure changes persist.

We have a delete method, to send DELETE Sql queries that returns the number of rows deleted.

We have a close method which closes the MySql connection.

A Data Object: CarDO

Then I’ve defined a class, to deal with Data and interactions of the cars.

do/cardo.py


class CarDO():

    def __init__(self, i_id_car=0, s_model_code="", s_color_code="", s_extras="", i_right_side=0, s_city_to_ship=""):
        self.i_id_car = i_id_car
        self.s_model_code = s_model_code
        self.s_color_code = s_color_code
        self.s_extras = s_extras
        self.i_right_side = i_right_side
        self.s_city_to_ship = s_city_to_ship

        # Sizes for render
        self.i_width_id_car = 6
        self.i_width_model_code = 25
        self.i_width_color_code = 25
        self.i_width_extras = 50
        self.i_width_side = 5
        self.i_width_city_to_ship = 15

    def print_car_info(self):
        print("Id:", self.i_id_car)
        print("Model Code:", self.s_model_code)
        print("Color Code:", self.s_color_code)
        print("Extras:", self.s_extras)
        s_side = self.get_word_for_driving_side()
        print("Drive by side:", s_side)
        print("City to ship:", self.s_city_to_ship)

    def get_word_for_driving_side(self):
        if self.i_right_side == 1:
            s_side = "Right"
        else:
            s_side = "Left"

        return s_side

    def get_car_info_for_list(self):

        s_output = str(self.i_id_car).rjust(self.i_width_id_car) + " "
        s_output += self.s_model_code.rjust(self.i_width_model_code) + " "
        s_output += self.s_color_code.rjust(self.i_width_color_code) + " "
        s_output += self.s_extras.rjust(self.i_width_extras) + " "
        s_output += self.get_word_for_driving_side().rjust(self.i_width_side) + " "
        s_output += self.get_s_city_to_ship().rjust(self.i_width_city_to_ship)

        return s_output

    def get_car_header_for_list(self):
        s_output = str("Id Car").rjust(self.i_width_id_car) + " "
        s_output += "Model Code".rjust(self.i_width_model_code) + " "
        s_output += "Color Code".rjust(self.i_width_color_code) + " "
        s_output += "Extras".rjust(self.i_width_extras) + " "
        s_output += "Drive".rjust(self.i_width_side) + " "
        s_output += "City to Ship".rjust(self.i_width_city_to_ship)

        i_total_length = self.i_width_id_car + self.i_width_model_code + self.i_width_color_code + self.i_width_extras + self.i_width_side + self.i_width_city_to_ship
        # Add the space between fields
        i_total_length = i_total_length + 5

        s_output += "\n"
        s_output += "=" * i_total_length

        return s_output

    def get_i_id_car(self):
        return self.i_id_car

    def get_s_model_code(self):
        return self.s_model_code

    def get_s_color_code(self):
        return self.s_color_code

    def get_s_extras(self):
        return self.s_extras

    def get_i_right_side(self):
        return self.i_right_side

    def get_s_city_to_ship(self):
        return self.s_city_to_ship

Initially I was going to have a CarDO Object without any logic. Only with Data.

In OOP the variables of the Instance are called Properties, and the functions Methods.

Then I decided to add some logic, so I can show what’s the typical use of the objects.

So I will use CarDO as Data Object, but also to do few functions like printing the info of a Car.

Queue Manager

Finally the main program.

We also use Object Oriented Programming, and we use Dependency Injection to inject the MySQL Instance. That’s very practical to do Unit Testing.

from lib.mysqllib import MySql
from do.cardo import CarDO


class QueueManager():

    def __init__(self, o_mysql):
        self.o_mysql = o_mysql

    def exit(self):
        exit(0)

    def main_menu(self):
        while True:
            print("Main Menu")
            print("=========")
            print("")
            print("1. Add new car to queue")
            print("2. List all cars to queue")
            print("3. View car by Id")
            print("4. Delete car from queue by Id")
            print("")
            print("0. Exit")
            print("")

            s_option = input("Choose your option:")
            if s_option == "1":
                self.add_new_car()
            if s_option == "2":
                self.see_all_cars()
            if s_option == "3":
                self.see_car_by_id()
            if s_option == "4":
                self.delete_by_id()

            if s_option == "0":
                self.exit()

    def get_all_cars(self):
        s_query = "SELECT * FROM car_queue"

        a_rows = self.o_mysql.query(s_query)
        a_o_cars = []

        for a_row in a_rows:
            i_id_car = a_row[0]
            s_model_code = a_row[1]
            s_color_code = a_row[2]
            s_extras = a_row[3]
            i_right_side = a_row[4]
            s_city_to_ship = a_row[5]

            o_car = CarDO(i_id_car=i_id_car, s_model_code=s_model_code, s_color_code=s_color_code, s_extras=s_extras, i_right_side=i_right_side, s_city_to_ship=s_city_to_ship)
            a_o_cars.append(o_car)

        return a_o_cars

    def get_car_by_id(self, i_id_car):
        b_success = False
        o_car = None

        s_query = "SELECT * FROM car_queue WHERE i_id_car=" + str(i_id_car)

        a_rows = self.o_mysql.query(s_query)

        if len(a_rows) == 0:
            # False, None
            return b_success, o_car

        i_id_car = a_rows[0][0]
        s_model_code = a_rows[0][1]
        s_color_code = a_rows[0][2]
        s_extras = a_rows[0][3]
        i_right_side = a_rows[0][4]
        s_city_to_ship = a_rows[0][5]

        o_car = CarDO(i_id_car=i_id_car, s_model_code=s_model_code, s_color_code=s_color_code, s_extras=s_extras, i_right_side=i_right_side, s_city_to_ship=s_city_to_ship)
        b_success = True

        return b_success, o_car

    def replace_apostrophe(self, s_text):
        return s_text.replace("'", "´")

    def insert_car(self, o_car):

        s_sql = """INSERT INTO car_queue 
                                (i_id_car, s_model_code, s_color_code, s_extras, i_right_side, s_city_to_ship) 
                         VALUES 
                                (""" + str(o_car.get_i_id_car()) + ", '" + o_car.get_s_model_code() + "', '" + o_car.get_s_color_code() + "', '" + o_car.get_s_extras() + "', " + str(o_car.get_i_right_side()) + ", '" + o_car.get_s_city_to_ship() + "');"

        i_inserted_row_count = self.o_mysql.insert(s_sql)

        if i_inserted_row_count > 0:
            print("Inserted", i_inserted_row_count, " row/s")
            b_success = True
        else:
            print("It was impossible to insert the row")
            b_success = False

        return b_success

    def add_new_car(self):
        print("Add new car")
        print("===========")

        while True:
            s_id_car = input("Enter new ID: ")
            if s_id_car == "":
                print("A numeric Id is needed")
                continue

            i_id_car = int(s_id_car)

            if i_id_car < 1:
                continue

            # Check if that id existed already
            b_success, o_car = self.get_car_by_id(i_id_car=i_id_car)
            if b_success is False:
                # Does not exist
                break

            print("Sorry, this Id already exists")

        s_model_code = input("Enter Model Code:")
        s_color_code = input("Enter Color Code:")
        s_extras = input("Enter extras comma separated:")
        s_right_side = input("Enter R for Right side driven:")
        if s_right_side.upper() == "R":
            i_right_side = 1
        else:
            i_right_side = 0
        s_city_to_ship = input("Enter the city to ship the car:")

        # Sanitize SQL replacing apostrophe
        s_model_code = self.replace_apostrophe(s_model_code)
        s_color_code = self.replace_apostrophe(s_color_code)
        s_extras = self.replace_apostrophe(s_extras)
        s_city_to_ship = self.replace_apostrophe(s_city_to_ship)

        o_car = CarDO(i_id_car=i_id_car, s_model_code=s_model_code, s_color_code=s_color_code, s_extras=s_extras, i_right_side=i_right_side, s_city_to_ship=s_city_to_ship)
        b_success = self.insert_car(o_car)

    def see_all_cars(self):
        print("")

        a_o_cars = self.get_all_cars()

        if len(a_o_cars) > 0:
            print(a_o_cars[0].get_car_header_for_list())
        else:
            print("No cars in queue")
            print("")
            return

        for o_car in a_o_cars:
            print(o_car.get_car_info_for_list())

        print("")

    def see_car_by_id(self, i_id_car=0):
        if i_id_car == 0:
            s_id = input("Car Id:")
            i_id_car = int(s_id)

        s_id_car = str(i_id_car)

        b_success, o_car = self.get_car_by_id(i_id_car=i_id_car)
        if b_success is False:
            print("Error, car id: " + s_id_car + " not located.")
            return False

        print("")
        o_car.print_car_info()
        print("")

        return True

    def delete_by_id(self):

        s_id = input("Enter Id of car to delete:")
        i_id_car = int(s_id)

        if i_id_car == 0:
            print("Invalid Id")
            return

        # reuse see_car_by_id
        b_found = self.see_car_by_id(i_id_car=i_id_car)
        if b_found is False:
            return

        s_delete = input("Are you sure you want to DELETE. Type Y to delete: ")
        if s_delete.upper() == "Y":
            s_sql = "DELETE FROM car_queue WHERE i_id_car=" + str(i_id_car)
            i_num = self.o_mysql.delete(s_sql)

            print(i_num, " Rows deleted")

            # if b_success is True:
            #     print("Car deleted successfully from the queue")


if __name__ == "__main__":

    try:

        o_mysql = MySql(s_user="python", s_password="blog.carlesmateo.com-db-password", s_database="carles_database", s_host="127.0.0.1", i_port=3306)

        o_queue_manager = QueueManager(o_mysql=o_mysql)
        o_queue_manager.main_menu()
    except KeyboardInterrupt:
        print("Detected CTRL + C. Exiting")

This program talks to MySQL, that we have started in a Docker previously.

We have access from inside the Docker Container, or from outside.

The idea of this simple program is to use a library for dealing with MySql, and objects for dealing with the Cars. The class CarDO contributes to the render of its data in the screen.

To enter inside the Docker once you have generated it and is running, do:

docker exec -it blog_carlesmateo_com_mysql /bin/bash

Then:

cd /var/mysql_carles 
python3 queue_manager.py

Bonus

I added a file called queue_manager.php so you can see how easy is to render a HTML page with data coming from the Database, from PHP.

News from the Blog 2021-07-01

  • Google Instances’ Performance
    I’ve updated the CMIPS score for the latest Google instances vs last Amazon’s I tried and baremetals.

This is the changelog for latest version:

v. 0.99
 A whole new chapter showing sorting in Python and lambdas. (.sort() and sorted() package First)

 I show writing lambdas for Sorting, and also what makes them crash.

 Explained why Lambdas are not recommended unless you use for working with data, like for sorting or filtering out, and unless you know what you are doing. They are difficult to Debug.

 Explained about PEP8 tool to validate style.

 Explaining why we define Instance variables in the Constructor.

 Provided more samples for Flask Applications.

 Fixed code sample https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/python_combat_guide/-/blob/master/src/keywords.py as the editor removed the white line spaces.

 Added more books to the bibliography

 I explain the importance of running Unit Testing as both root and as regular users.

 Explain how to run as regular user inside a Docker Container.

 Explained requirements.txt file. And how integrates PyCharm to create venv/ Virtual Environment.

 Also how it is used in Dockerfile to make sure all the dependencies are satisfied in the Docker Container.

As any project committed to saving human lives, she has all my support and admiration.

Upgrading Amazon AWS EC2 Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

I’ve upgraded one of my AWS machines from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

The process was really straightforward, basically run:

sudo apt update
sudp apt upgrade

Then Reboot in order to load the last kernel.

Then execute:

sudo do-release-upgrade

And ask two or three questions in different moments.

After, reboot, and that’s it.

All my Firewall rules, were kept, the services were restarted as they were available, or deferred to be executed when the service is reinstalled in case of dependencies (like for PHP, which was upgraded before Apache) and I’ve not found anything out of place, by the moment. The Kernels were special, with Amazon customization too.

I always recommend, for Production, to run the Ubuntu LTS version.

Microservices vs. Service Based Architecture

This video by Mark Richards writer of Fundamentals of Software Architecture book, about Microservices vs Service Based Architecture is very interesting and short.

Just a bit of common sense and light about complexity in projects, and moving out from the monolith.

Swap, swappiness, Servers not responding

I have read a lot of wrong recommendations about the use of Swap and Swappiness so I want to bring some light about it.

The first to say is that every project is different, so it is not possible to make a general rule. However in most of the cases we want systems to operate as fast and efficiently as possible.

So this suggestions try to covert 99% of the cases.

By default Linux will try to be as efficient as possible. So for example, it will use Free Memory to keep IO efficient by keeping in Memory cache and buffers.

That means that if you are using files often, Linux will keep that information cached in RAM.

The swappiness Kernel setting defines what tradeoff will take Linux between keeping buffers with Free Memory and using the available Swap Memory.

# sysctl vm.swappiness
vm.swappiness = 60

The default value is 60 and more or less means that when RAM memory gets to 60%, swap will start to be used.

And so we can find Servers with 256GB of RAM, that when they start to use more than 153 GB of RAM, they start to swap.

Let’s analyze the output of free -h:

carles@vbi78g:~/Desktop/Software/checkswap$ free -h
              total        used        free      shared  buff/cache   available
Mem:          2.9Gi       1.6Gi       148Mi        77Mi       1.2Gi       1.1Gi
Swap:         2.0Gi        27Mi       2.0Gi

So from this VM that has 2.9GB of RAM Memory, 1.6GB are used by applications.

The are 148MB that can immediately used by Applications, and there are 1.2GB in buffers/cache. Does that means that we can only use 148MB (plus swap)?. No, that mean that Linux tried to optimize io speed by keeping 1.2GB of RAM memory in buffers. But this is the best effort of Linux to have performance, for real applications will be also able to use 1.1GB that corresponds to the available field.

About swap, from 2GB, only 27MB have been used.

As vm.swappiness is set to 60, more RAM will be swapped out to swap, even if we have lots available.

As I said every case is different. If we are talking about a Desktop that has NVMe drives, the impact will be low. But if we are talking about a Server that is a hypervisor running VMs and has high usage on CPU and has the swap partition or the swap in a file, that could lead to huge problems. If there is a physical Server with a single spinning drive (or logical unit through RAID), and one partition is for Swap, and the other for mountpoints, and a process is heavily reading/writing to a partition mounted (an elastic search, or a telegraf, prometheus…), and the System tries to swap, then they will be competing for the magnetic head of disk, slowing down everything.

If you take a look on how the process of swapping memory pages from the memory to disk, you will understand that applications may need certain pages before being able to run, so in many cases we get to lock situations, that force everything to wait.

In my career I found Servers that temporarily stopped responding to ping. After a while ping came back, I was able to ssh and uptime showed that the Server did not reboot.

I troubleshooted that, and I saw a combination of high CPU usage spikes and Swap usage.

Using iostat and iotop I monitored what was speed of transference of only 1 MB/second!!.

I even did swapoff and it took one hour to free 4 GB swap partition!.

I also saw swap partition being in a spinning disk, and in another partition of the same spinning drive, having a swapfile. Magnetic spinning drives can only access one are of the drive at the same time, so that situation, using swap is very bad.

And I have seen situations were the swap or swapfile was mounted in a block device shared via network with the Server (like iSCSI or NFS), causing terrible performance when swapping.

So you have to adapt the strategy according to the project.

My preferred strategy for Compute Nodes and NoSQL Databases is to not use swap at all. In other cases, like MySQL Databases I may set swappiness to preferably to 1 or to 10.

I quote here the recommendations from couchbase docs:

The Linux kernel’s swappiness setting defines how aggressively the kernel will swap memory pages versus dropping pages from the page cache. A higher value increases swap aggressiveness, while a lower value tells the kernel to swap as little as possible to disk and favor RAM. The swappiness range is from 0 to 100, and most Linux distributions have swappiness set to 60 by default.

Couchbase Server is optimized with its managed cache to use RAM, and is capable of managing what should be in RAM and what shouldn’t be. Allowing the OS to have too much control over what memory pages are in RAM is likely to lower Couchbase Server’s performance. Therefore, it’s recommended that swappiness be set to the levels listed below.

https://docs.couchbase.com/server/current/install/install-swap-space.html

Another theme, is when you log to a Server and you see all the Swap memory in use.

Linux may have moved the pages that were less used, and that may be Ok for some cases, for example a Cron Service that waits and runs every 24 hours. It is safe to swap that (as long as the swap IO is decent).

When Kernel Swaps it may generate locks.

But if we log to a Server and all the Swap is in use, how can we know that the Swap has been quiet there?.

Well, you can use iostat or iotop or you can:

cat /proc/vmstat

This file contains a lot of values related to Memory, we will focus on:

pswpin 508992338
pswpout 280871088

In https://superuser.com/questions/785447/what-is-the-exact-difference-between-the-parameters-pgpgin-pswpin-and-pswpou you can find very interesting description of those values. I paste here an excerpt:

Paging refers to writing portions, termed pages, of a process’ memory to disk.
Swapping, strictly speaking, refers to writing the entire process, not just part, to disk.
In Linux, true swapping is exceedingly rare, but the terms paging and swapping often are used interchangeably.

page-out: The system’s free memory is less than a threshold “lotsfree” and unnused / least used pages are moved to the swap area.
page-in: One process which is running requested for a page that is not in the current memory (page-fault), it’s pages are being brought back to memory.
swap-out: System is thrashing and has deactivated a process and it’s memory pages are moved into the swap area.
swap-in: A deactivated process is back to work and it’s pages are being brought into the memory.

Values from /proc/vmstat:

pgpgin, pgpgout – number of pages that are read from disk and written to memory, you usually don’t need to care that much about these numbers

pswpin, pswpout – you may want to track these numbers per time (via some monitoring like prometheus), if there are spikes it means system is heavily swapping and you have a problem.

In this actual example that means that since the start of the Server there has been 508992338 Page Swap In (with 4K memory pages this is 1,941 GB, so almost 2 TB transferred) and for Page Swat Out (with 4K memory pages this is 1,071 GB, so 1 TB of transferred). I’m talking about a Server that had a 4GB swap partition in a spinning disk and a 12 GB swapfile in another ext4 partition of the same spinning disk.

The 16 GB of swap were in use and iotop showed only two sources of IO, one being 2 VMs writing, another was a journaling process writing to the mountpoint where the swapfile was. That was an spinning drive (underlying hardware was raid, for simplicity I refer to one single drive. I checked that both spinning drives were healthy and fast). I saw small variations in the size of the Swap, so I decided to monitor the changes in pswpin and pswpout in /proc/vmstat to see how much was transferred from/to swap.

I saw then how many pages were being transferred!.

I wrote a small Python program to track those changes:

https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/checkswap

This little program works in Python 2 and Python 3, and will show the evolution of pswpin and pswpout in /proc/vmstat and will offer the average for last 5 minutes and keep the max value detected as well.

As those values show the page swaps since the start of the Server, my little program, makes the adjustments to show the Page Swaps per second.

A cheap way to reproduce collapse by using swap is using VirtualBox: install an Ubuntu 20.04 LTS in there, with 2 GB of less of memory, and one single core. Ping that VM from elsewhere.

Then you may run a little program like this in order to force it to swap:

#!/usr/bin/env python3
a_items = []
i_total = 0
# Add zeros if your VM has more memory
for i in range(0, 10000000):
    i_total = i_total + i
    a_items.append(i_total)

And checkswap will show you the spikes:

Many voices are discordant. Some say swappiness default value of 60 is good, as Linux will use the RAM memory to optimize the IO. In my experience, I’ve seen Hypervisors Servers running Virtual Machines that fit on the available physical RAM and were doing pure CPU calculations, no IO, and the Hypersivor was swapping just because it had swappiness to 60. Also having swap on spinning drives, mixing swap partition and swapfile, and that slowing down everything. In a case like that it would be much better not using Swap at all.

In most cases the price of Swapping to disk is much more higher than the advantage than a buffer for IO brings. And in the case of a swapfile, well, it’s also a file, so my suspect is that the swapfile is also buffered. Nothing I recommend, honestly.

My program https://gitlab.com/carles.mateo/checkswap may help you to demonstrate how much damage the swapping is doing in terms of IO. Combine it with iostat and iotop –only to see how much bandwidth is wastes writing and reading from/to swap.

You may run checkswap from a screen session and launch it with tee so results are logged. For example:

python3 checkswap.py | tee 2021-05-27-2107-checkswap.log

If you want to automatically add the datetime you can use:

python3 checkswap.py | tee `date +%Y-%m-%d-%H%M`-checkswap.log

Press CTRL + a and then d, in order to leave the screen session and return to regular Bash.

Type screen -r to resume your session if this was the only screen session running in background.

An interesting reflection from help Ubuntu:

The “diminishing returns” means that if you need more swap space than twice your RAM size, you’d better add more RAM as Hard Disk Drive (HDD) access is about 10³ slower then RAM access, so something that would take 1 second, suddenly takes more then 15 minutes! And still more then a minute on a fast Solid State Drive (SSD)…

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SwapFaq

Do you have a swap history that you want to share?.

News from the Blog 2021-05-22

  • The company has provided me and the members of my Team with unlimited Cloud capacity for testing and developing. That’s very nice. I plan to run some nice workloads to asses the performance of several solutions.
  • I’ve had tons of assignments from the university and with the classes to my students I had no much time.
  • The Health Department and the universities (CIT and UCC) offered free PCR for the students. I can only say Kudos again for Ireland.
  • They also offered certain more vulnerable students to vaccinate with Pfizer. More Kudos.
  • I bought some cases for Raspberry Pi 4.
  • I’ve bought a Wi-fi Mesh TP-Link to repeat the Wifi signal to zones of the house it was arriving weak. I’m very satisfied with this signal repeater.

This little buddy also provides an Ethernet to connect to a laptop or to a switch.

So far I have only tested with a laptop and works great.

  • I’ve written one article about the GUI Software I use on Linux Desktops.
  • I wrote another article about cloning applications you’ve working in other Linux Desktops under Wine.
  • I also released CTOP TAG v.0.8.4 and fixed some bugs in upcoming CTOP v.0.8.5 and added a new feature to display the File Descriptors in use and the Max FDs set in the Kernel. This feature needed some work as I did calculating all the FDs per process but Kernel has another value that comes from /proc/sys/fs/file-nr so I finally implemented this last value, fixed a bug in conversion of units with decimals (KBs without the decimal part) and added Unit Testing to check this cases. I was satisfied to release v. 0.8.5.

Graphical programs I use usually in Linux

Those are the programs that more or less, I use always in all my Linux workstations.

I use Ubuntu LTS. I like how they maintain the packages.

I like to run the same base version in my Desktops, like I have in the Servers. So if I have my Servers deployed with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, then my Desktops will run with the same version. Is a way to get to better know the distribution, compatibilities, run faster than the problems, and an easy way to test things. If I have several deployments with several versions (so LTS not upgraded) I may run VMs with that version as Desktop or Server, to ensure compatibility. And obviously I use Docker and a lot of Command Line Tools, which I covered in another article.

Audacity sound recorder and editor

Charles Proxy

Chromium web browser

The Chrome Extension of LastPass for Teams

Filezilla

Firefox

GIMP

IntelliJ

LibreOffice

OpenShot Video Editor

PAC

Packet Tracer from Cisco

PHPStorm

PyCharm

Slack

Skype (usage going down in favor of Zoom and Slack)

VirtualBox

Vmware Workstation

VokoscreenNG Screen Recorder

Wine (Windows Emulator)

Zoom