Overriding Default Werkzeug Exceptions in Flask

Let’s play a game here. What HTTP code is this exception:

"message": "The browser (or proxy) sent a request that this server could not understand."

No no, you don’t look at the code in response! That’s cheating! This is actually a default Werkzeug description for 400 code. No shit. I thought something is bad with my headers or encryption, but I would never guess simple Bad request from this message. You could use a custom exception of course, the problem is, that the very useful abort(400) object (it’s an Aborter in disguise) would stick with the default exception anyway.

Let’s fix it, shall we?

There may be several possible ways of fixing that, but what I’m gonna do is just update abort.mapping. Create a separate module for your custom HTTP exceptions custom_http_exceptions.py and put a couple of overridden exceptions there (don’t forget to import abort we’ll be needing that in a moment):

from flask import abort
from werkzeug.exceptions import HTTPException

class BadRequest(HTTPException):
    code = 400
    description = 'Bad request.'

class NotFound(HTTPException):
    code = 404
    description = 'Resource not found.'

These are perfectly functional, but we still need to add it to the default abort mapping:

    400: BadRequest,
    404: NotFound

Note that I import abort object from flask, not flask-restful, only the former is an Aborter object with mapping and other bells and whistles, the latter is just a function.

Now just import this module with * to your app Flask module (where you declare and run your Flask app) or someplace it would have a similar effect on runtime.

Note that you also should have the following line in your config because of this issue:

ERROR_404_HELP = False

I’m not sure why this awkward and undocumented constant isn’t False by default. I opened an issue on GitHub, but no one seems to care.

My Take on Yandex Pre-interview Python Assignment

I’ve applied for a junior Python position at Russian internet giant Yandex (very similar to Google). And although my application has been rejected, due to lack of experience, I think their little pre-interview test and my take on that may be of interest to any inquisitive pythonista. Note, that this has never been properly translated into English before, so this is probably exclusive in that regard.

Assignment I

There are two lists of different length. The first one contains keys, the second – values. Write a function, that would create a dict out of these lists. If the key doesn’t have a value – it should equal None, if the value doesn’t have a key, it should be omitted.

def get_dict(list1, list2):
    ret = dict(map(None, list1, list2))
    if ret.get(None, False):
    return ret

Assignment II

Login should start with latin symbol, contain latin symbols, digits, dots and hyphens, but end only with a latin symbol or a digit. Minimum length is 1 symbol, maximum – 20 symbols. Write a function that checks strings for correspondence with these rules. Think of several methods of solving this problem and compare them.

import re
import time

def check1(login):
    ret = False
    if re.match('^[a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9\-\.]{0,19}(?<![\-\.])$', login):
        ret = True
    return ret

def check2(login):
    ret = False
    if (len(login) >= 1 or len(login) <= 20) and login[0].isalpha() and (login[-1].isalpha() or login[-1].isdigit()):
        for a in login[1:-1]:
            if a.isalpha() or a.isdigit() or a == '-' or a == '.':
                ret = True
    return ret

def compare(login):
    tm = time.time()
    print(time.time() - tm)
    tm = time.time()
    print(time.time() - tm)

Assignment III

There are two tables users and messages (I changed names and messages to non-Cyrillic):

UID name
1 John Doe
2 Natalie Knaph
3 Johnatan Yozo
UID msg
1 Hello, John!
3 Send me the card, quickly.
3 I’m waiting on the corner of 5th and Lafayette
1 This is me again. Please message me more often.

Create a SQL query, that would return two fields: “User name” and “Total amount of messages”.

SELECT users.name AS "User name",count(*) AS "Total amount of messages" 
FROM users 
JOIN messages ON users.uid = messages.uid 
GROUP BY users.uid

Assignment IV

Suppose you have a generic access.log. How to get 10 most frequent IP-addresses using standard terminal tools? How to do that with Python?

grep -o '[0-9]\{1,3\}\.[0-9]\{1,3\}\.[0-9]\{1,3\}\.[0-9]\{1,3\}' access.log | sort -n | uniq -c | sort -n -r | head -10

import sys
import re

all = re.findall("[0-9]{1,3}\.[0-9]{1,3}\.[0-9]{1,3}\.[0-9]{1,3}", open(sys.argv[1], 'r').read())
srt = sorted(all, key=all.count, reverse=True)
unq = []
for m in srt:
    if not m in unq:
print unq[0:10]

If you can think of a better way to solve any of these, let me know.

On dType Suspension

I can safely confess, that a couple years ago I didn’t know a single thing about programming. I was aware of some fairly abstract concepts and had a basic understanding of how it all works, but it definitely wasn’t enough. My English teacher had a saying about the active vocabulary: “You may learn all the words from the dictionary by heart, but unless you use them regularly and naturally, you don’t really know them”. My situation with programming was somewhat similar to knowing lots of trivia, but having no grasp on the practical side of things. I was determined on fixing it as soon as possible. I’ve tried reading a book or two, but it never really got me going. Well, it explained a couple things here and there, but it was like learning things by heart — tedious and irrelevant (on an absolutely unrelated note: Learn Python the Hard Way is great). At that point one of my techie friends suggested me throw the book away and learn by immersion: make an objective, stumble upon problems, see docs and StackOverflow for possible solutions. That was the moment I started looking for the first project, fairly simple, yet more challenging than a mindless Hello World routine.

Once, I was typing down a big portion of plain text on my old slow Android phone, using another memory hog Office Suite, with all those controls, sets of buttons on all sides of the screen and I wished there was something like Focus Writer for Ubuntu: basic, but fairly powerful in terms of achieving that special zen state. There weren’t many such projects in Android market back then (yeah, kids, it was called that in days of old) and this is how the idea of dType has stricken me. The concept was fairly simple: a minimalistic tool, that would let you jot down some text and then pass it to some other application (Evernote, Dropbox, Email, etc.) for saving or processing. It was simple enough to get grip at basics, yet quite challenging for a person, who haven’t seen Java code (or any code) before.

It was the moment, when I started coding. Well, let’s say it was more about googling intensively for just about anything. It was hard. Most of the time I didn’t know, what I was doing and asked fairly inept questions on StackOverflow. I still do, but now at least I can tell, what most parts of my code are for. First, the immersion is like trying to play piano blindfolded — my code probably stunk a big time, but at the end of the day it worked and it was encouraging. Interest in Android development helped me to get a job as a technical writer in a bunch of Android-related projects, especially OpenCV for Android. Since, I’ve been working mainly on C++ API references, I’ve started to delve into OOP concepts. I’ve been thoroughly explained, what is a class, a method and how they relate to each other, interfaces, abstract classes and the rest of this stuff. I’m extremely grateful for my mentors at there. Later, working on some other project, I had a chance to look closer at working Java code and see these concepts applied to Java. I immediately started to refactor dType code once again in attempt to implement thorough OOP design and shake off all the redundancy. My code became a little bit more laconic and neat. Not that it couldn’t get any better, but it was still a huge leap forward for me.

As long as I remember, dType was constantly improving. It was first a bunch of undocumented spaghetti code, which was somewhat straightened out at version 0.16 — it became the earliest version I bother to keep in the repository, since everything before that was a complete disaster. Perhaps, it’s still rather bad, but I’ve managed to shorten it almost twice, provide descriptive JavaDoc (for the sake of it, I know no one will probably bother to read) and fix a lot of issues while at it. I do feel a little attached to this code emotionally, since it is my first coding experience, that has grown into a little indie project of mine. Over the course of two years it has provided me with innumerable challenges and priceless practical experience, but it’s finally time for me to move on. I’ve taken great interest in Python lately, and started a couple of projects in it. Coming back to Java code became more and more daunting to me. I was also advised by several programmers, that I’d better concentrate on getting really proficient with one language for now. My growing frustration with Java verbosity ensured, that I would end up with Python as my language of choice.

Still, it was a hard decision for me to drop dType completely. People do use it and clone it on GitHub (yeah, it had a couple of official clones before the project has been moved back and forward, nevermind the actual numbers on GitHub). This project, though certainly quite niche and facile, does work for some. I decided, that this suspension is going to be more of a role shift for me: from active developer of this application to its maintainer. It will stay as an open repository at GitHub for you to clone and alter, it will stay published on Google Play. You can continue to use it in version 0.71. If people provide some relevant pull requests, I would be happy to merge them and even publish the resulting build as the new version of the app. It’s just that me myself don’t have the time or inclination for introducing new features anymore. It is now exactly the way I envisioned it, when I was starting. My big learning project has reached its objective. It’s finished. My priorities have changed, but if you do care, I would be glad to see your contributions. I’m not naive to think that it could become a huge open source project, mind you, but I do hope, that the app could continue living on its own, while I’m gone.

Update 06.10.2014: No one decided to contribute to this project yet, and probably never will as more than a year has passed since this post. Perhaps, this is for the best, as I’ve seen people complaining about a couple of nasty visual bugs on some devices. Me myself wasn’t able to work with it on Galaxy SIII as the screen gets black from time to time. So if you really want to revive the project, I can only wish you good luck with that. Seriously, if you want to try, give me your contacts, so that I could talk you out of this.