Batteries included: templates and other libraries

(libraries)

Cheetah comes “batteries included” with libraries of templates, functions, classes and other objects you can use in your own programs. The different types are listed alphabetically below, followed by a longer description of the SkeletonPage framework. Some of the objects are classes for specific purposes (e.g., filters or error catchers), while others are standalone and can be used without Cheetah.

If you develop any objects which are generally useful for Cheetah sites, please consider posting them on the wiki with an announcement on the mailing list so we can incorporate them into the standard library. That way, all Cheetah users will benefit, and it will encourage others to contribute their objects, which might include something you want.

ErrorCatchers

(libraries.ErrorCatchers)

Module {Cheetah.ErrorCatchers} contains error-handling classes suitable for the {#errorCatcher} directive. These are debugging tools that are not intended for use in production systems. See section errorHandling.errorCatcher for a description of the error catchers bundled with Cheetah.

FileUtils

(libraries.FileUtils)

Module {Cheetah.FileUtils} contains generic functions and classes for doing bulk search-and-replace on several files, and for finding all the files in a directory hierarchy whose names match a glob pattern.

Filters

(libraries.Filters)

Module {Filters} contains filters suitable for the {#Filter} directive. See section output.filter for a description of the filters bundled with Cheetah.

SettingsManager

(libraries.SettingsManager)

The {SettingsManager} class in the {Cheetah.SettingsManager} module is a baseclass that provides facilities for managing application settings. It facilitates the use of user-supplied configuration files to fine tune an application. A setting is a key/value pair that an application or component (e.g., a filter, or your own servlets) looks up and treats as a configuration value to modify its (the component’s) behaviour.

SettingsManager is designed to:

  • work well with nested settings dictionaries of any depth
  • read/write {.ini style config files} (or strings)
  • read settings from Python source files (or strings) so that complex Python objects can be stored in the application’s settings dictionary. For example, you might want to store references to various classes that are used by the application, and plugins to the application might want to substitute one class for another.
  • allow sections in {.ini config files} to be extended by settings in Python src files. If a section contains a setting like “{importSettings=mySettings.py}”, {SettingsManager} will merge all the settings defined in “{mySettings.py}” with the settings for that section that are defined in the {.ini config file}.
  • maintain the case of setting names, unlike the ConfigParser module

Cheetah uses {SettingsManager} to manage its configuration settings. {SettingsManager} might also be useful in your own applications. See the source code and docstrings in the file {src/SettingsManager.py} for more information.

Templates

(libraries.templates)

Package {Cheetah.Templates} contains stock templates that you can either use as is, or extend by using the {#def} directive to redefine specific { blocks}. Currently, the only template in here is SkeletonPage, which is described in detail below in section libraries.templates.skeletonPage. (Contributed by Tavis Rudd.)

Tools

(libraries.Tools)

Package {Cheetah.Tools} contains functions and classes contributed by third parties. Some are Cheetah-specific but others are generic and can be used standalone. None of them are imported by any other Cheetah component; you can delete the Tools/ directory and Cheetah will function fine.

Some of the items in Tools/ are experimental and have been placed there just to see how useful they will be, and whether they attract enough users to make refining them worthwhile (the tools, not the users :).

Nothing in Tools/ is guaranteed to be: (A) tested, (B) reliable, (C) immune from being deleted in a future Cheetah version, or (D) immune from backwards-incompatable changes. If you depend on something in Tools/ on a production system, consider making a copy of it outside the Cheetah/ directory so that this version won’t be lost when you upgrade Cheetah. Also, learn enough about Python and about the Tool so that you can maintain it and bugfix it if necessary.

If anything in Tools/ is found to be necessary to Cheetah’s operation (i.e., if another Cheetah component starts importing it), it will be moved to the {Cheetah.Utils} package.

Current Tools include:

an ambitious class useful when iterating over records of data ({#for} loops), displaying one pageful of records at a time (with previous/next links), and printing summary statistics about the records or the current page. See {MondoReportDoc.txt} in the same directory as the module. Some features are not implemented yet. {MondoReportTest.py} is a test suite (and it shows there are currently some errors in MondoReport, hmm). Contributed by Mike Orr.

Nothing, but in a friendly way. Good for filling in for objects you want to hide. If {$form.f1} is a RecursiveNull object, then {$form.f1.anything[“you”].might(“use”)} will resolve to the empty string. You can also put a {RecursiveNull} instance at the end of the searchList to convert missing values to ‘’ rather than raising a {NotFound} error or having a (less efficient) errorCatcher handle it. Of course, maybe you prefer to get a {NotFound} error... Contributed by Ian Bicking.

Provides navigational links to this page’s parents and children. The constructor takes a recursive list of (url,description) pairs representing a tree of hyperlinks to every page in the site (or section, or application...), and also a string containing the current URL. Two methods ‘menuList’ and ‘crumbs’ return output-ready HTML showing an indented menu (hierarchy tree) or crumbs list (Yahoo-style bar: home > grandparent > parent > currentURL). Contributed by Ian Bicking.

Utils

(libraries.Utils)

Package {Cheetah.Utils} contains non-Cheetah-specific functions and classes that are imported by other Cheetah components. Many of these utils can be used standalone in other applications too.

Current Utils include:

This is inherited by {Template} objects, and provides the method, {.cgiImport} method (section webware.cgiImport).

A catch-all module for small functions.

Raise ‘thing’ if it’s a subclass of Exception, otherwise return it. Useful when one argument does double duty as a default value or an exception to throw. Contribyted by Mike Orr.

Verifies the dictionary does not contain any keys not listed in ‘legalKeywords’. If it does, raise TypeError. Useful for checking the keyword arguments to a function. Contributed by Mike Orr.

Not implemented yet, but will contain the {.uploadFile} method (or three methods) to “safely” copy a form-uploaded file to a local file, to a searchList variable, or return it. When finished, this will be inherited by {Template}, allowing all templates to do this. If you want this feature, read the docstring in the source and let us know on the mailing list what you’d like this method to do. Contributed by Mike Orr.

Functions to verify the type of a user-supplied function argument. Contributed by Mike Orr.

Cheetah.Templates.SkeletonPage

(libraries.templates.skeletonPage)

A stock template class that may be useful for web developers is defined in the {Cheetah.Templates.SkeletonPage} module. The {SkeletonPage} template class is generated from the following Cheetah source code:

##doc-module: A Skeleton HTML page template, that provides basic structure and utility methods.
################################################################################
#extends Cheetah.Templates._SkeletonPage
#implements respond
################################################################################
#cache id='header'
$docType
$htmlTag
<!-- This document was autogenerated by Cheetah (http://cheetahtemplate.org/).
Do not edit it directly!

Copyright $currentYr - $siteCopyrightName - All Rights Reserved.
Feel free to copy any javascript or html you like on this site,
provided you remove all links and/or references to $siteDomainName
However, please do not copy any content or images without permission.

$siteCredits

-->


#block writeHeadTag
<head>
<title>$title</title>
$metaTags
$stylesheetTags
$javascriptTags
</head>
#end block writeHeadTag

#end cache header
#################

$bodyTag

#block writeBody
This skeleton page has no flesh. Its body needs to be implemented.
#end block writeBody

</body>
</html>

You can redefine any of the blocks defined in this template by writing a new template that {#extends} SkeletonPage. (As you remember, using {#extends} makes your template implement the {.writeBody()} method instead of {.respond()} - which happens to be the same method SkeletonPage expects the page content to be (note the writeBody block in SkeletonPage).)

#def bodyContents
Here's my new body. I've got some flesh on my bones now.
#end def bodyContents

All of the $placeholders used in the {SkeletonPage} template definition are attributes or methods of the {SkeletonPage} class. You can reimplement them as you wish in your subclass. Please read the source code of the file {src/Templates/_SkeletonPage.py} before doing so.

You’ll need to understand how to use the following methods of the {SkeletonPage} class: {$metaTags()}, {$stylesheetTags()}, {$javascriptTags()}, and {$bodyTag()}. They take the data you define in various attributes and renders them into HTML tags.

  • { metaTags()} - Returns a formatted vesion of the self._metaTags dictionary, using the formatMetaTags function from {_SkeletonPage.py}.
  • { stylesheetTags()} - Returns a formatted version of the {self._stylesheetLibs} and {self._stylesheets} dictionaries. The keys in {self._stylesheets} must be listed in the order that they should appear in the list {self._stylesheetsOrder}, to ensure that the style rules are defined in the correct order.
  • { javascriptTags()} - Returns a formatted version of the {self._javascriptTags} and {self._javascriptLibs} dictionaries. Each value in {self._javascriptTags} should be a either a code string to include, or a list containing the JavaScript version number and the code string. The keys can be anything. The same applies for {self._javascriptLibs}, but the string should be the SRC filename rather than a code string.
  • { bodyTag()} - Returns an HTML body tag from the entries in the dict {self._bodyTagAttribs}.

The class also provides some convenience methods that can be used as $placeholders in your template definitions:

  • { imgTag(self, src, alt=’‘, width=None, height=None, border=0)} - Dynamically generate an image tag. Cheetah will try to convert the “{src}” argument to a WebKit serverSidePath relative to the servlet’s location. If width and height aren’t specified they are calculated using PIL or ImageMagick if either of these tools are available. If all your images are stored in a certain directory you can reimplement this method to append that directory’s path to the “{src}” argument. Doing so would also insulate your template definitions from changes in your directory structure.