Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pyramid, MySQL, and Python 3

For the impatient

Assuming you have Python 3 installed with distribute and virtualenv and also MySQL, create a virtualenv

virtualenv --no-site-packages --distribute myenv

Then activate your environment

source myenv/bin/activate

Create the following requirements file (save to requirements.txt):

#oursql==0.9.3 but need special Python 3 build

Then run:

pip install -r requirements.txt

The longer version

I'm currently working on an Android app version of The website currently uses TurboGears (version 1.0.something I'm afraid). I thought about using the website as the backend for the mobile app but wanted the freedom to experiment and potentially do things much differently in a separate mobile backend. I also wanted to work on a more modern stack. The TurboGears team has essentially joined forces with the Pyramid team, so I took a look at Pyramid. I liked what I saw, and with version 1.3 it can run on Python 3.

So let's see if we can get a Pyramid/SQLAlchemy/MySQL site working on Python 3. The first thing I ran into is that it was hard to find a good Python MySQL driver that works on Python 3. For years I've been using the trusty if somewhat antiquated MySQLdb Python module. It looks like development has slowed to a halt on MySQLdb so I took a look at alternatives.

First alternative I explored was MySQL Connector/Python. I like that Oracle is sponsoring the development and it is a pure Python library. However, I hit upon a major bug that made it a deal breaker. I've subsequently learned that this bug has been fixed so I'll probably give it another try in the future.

Second alternative I looked at was OurSQL. I'm not sure if it is a fork of MySQLdb, but it seems fairly similar. It does have some benefits over MySQLdb , not the least of which is Python 3 support. One catch is that you can't just "pip install oursql" under Python 3. There is a distinct branch of code for the Python 3 support. To install the Python 3 branch of OurSQL you can use the requirements.txt file above, or for just OurSQL you can do

pip install

I also ran into an issue with Python 3 and one of Pyramid's dependencies, zope.interface. That's why zope.interface is listed in the requirements.txt file with version 3.8.0. But this is fixed now Just make sure you get the latest 1.3 bugfix release. At the time of this writing, that is 1.3.4.

To get started with SQLAlchemy, just run the following to create a Pyramid scaffold project using SQLAlchemy:

pcreate -s alchemy MyProject
More info here:

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