Where to put information parsed out of the request path




Ian Bicking <ianb@colorstudy.com>


Python Web-SIG <web-sig@python.org>






This proposes a new standard environment key environ['wsgiorg.routing_args'] to represent the results of more complicated URL parsing strategies.


WSGI currently specifies the meaning of SCRIPT_NAME and PATH_INFO, which allows generic prefix-based dispatchers to be created. These dispatchers can work with any WSGI application that respects the meaning of these two variables. The basic meaning of SCRIPT_NAME is the portion of the path that has been consumed and PATH_INFO is the portion of the path left to the application.

Using these two variables more complex dispatchers cannot represent the information they pull out of the request path. This specification simply defines a place where such dispatchers can put their information: wsgiorg.routing_args.


This specification defines a new key that can go in the WSGI environment, wsgiorg.routing_args. This key is optional.

If a dispatcher (like routes or selector) pulls named information out of the portion of the request path it parses, it can put that information into environ['wsgiorg.routing_args']. routing_args must be a two-tuple of (positional_args, named_args), where positional_args is a sequence of arguments that were captured positionally, and named_args is a dictionary of the arguments that were given names.

Not all kinds of dispatchers will produce both positional and named arguments – some may only be capable of producing one or the other. Similarly, not all consumers will know what to do with both positional and named arguments. Implementors putting together producers and consumers of wsgiorg.routing_args will have to choose combinations that work for their combination of pieces. Dispatchers that do not produce one of these items must put in an empty tuple/list or empty dictionary in for the missing item.

The values in wsgiorg.routing_args need not be strings (except for the keys of named_args). For instance, a dispatcher is allowed to parse /archive/2005/10/01 into ((), {'date': datetime.date(2005, 10, 1)}).

Portions of the path that have been parsed should still be moved to SCRIPT_NAME (and removed from PATH_INFO).


The objects in (positional_args, named_args) are intended to be usable as func(*positional_args, **named_args). Therefore positional_args must be coercable to a tuple, and named_args must be a dictionary with string keys (str or unicode-ASCII). Python does not allow dictionary-like but values for **named_args (except for actual dict objects).


This example is a dispatcher that is given regular expressions and matching applications. It checks each regular expression in turn, and when one matches it moves the named groups into wsgiorg.routing_args and dispatches to the associated application.

class RegexDispatch(object):

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

    def __call__(self, environ, start_response):
        script_name = environ.get('SCRIPT_NAME', '')
        path_info = environ.get('PATH_INFO', '')
        for regex, application in self.patterns:
            match = regex.match(path_info)
            if not match:
            extra_path_info = path_info[match.end():]
            if extra_path_info and not extra_path_info.startswith('/'):
                # Not a very good match
            pos_args = match.groups()
            named_args = match.groupdict()
            cur_pos, cur_named = environ.get('wsgiorg.routing_args', ((), {}))
            new_pos = list(cur_pos) + list(pos_args)
            new_named = cur_named.copy()
            environ['wsgiorg.routing_args'] = (new_pos, new_named)
            environ['SCRIPT_NAME'] = script_name + path_info[:match.end()]
            environ['PATH_INFO'] = extra_path_info
            return application(environ, start_response)
        return self.not_found(environ, start_response)

    def not_found(self, environ, start_response):
        start_response('404 Not Found', [('Content-type', 'text/plain')])
        return ['Not found']

dispatch_app = RegexDispatch([
    (re.compile(r'/archive/(?P<year>\d{4})/$'), archive_app),