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developerWorks: Network Programming with the Twisted Framework

Jun 30, 2003, 10:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Mertz)

"Sorting through the Twisted framework is reminiscent of the old story about blind men and elephants. Twisted has many capabilities, and it takes a bit of a paradigm switch to get a good sense of why they are all there. In fact, as I write this first installment, I am probably only halfway toward getting my mind fully around Twisted. We can work through it together.

"One of the strengths of recent versions of Python is that they come with 'batteries included'--that is, the standard distribution includes modules to do just about everything you want to accomplish in most programming tasks. For the most part, when you want a third-party Python module or package, it is to accomplish some specialized and unusual task. Twisted is one of few exceptions to the pattern described; developed by Twisted Matrix Laboratories, it is a well-designed and general-purpose collection of modules for performing all manner of network programming tasks, in ways not easily facilitated by Python's standard library.

"It is not quite true that Python's standard library lacks support for asynchronous, non-blocking network applications. The module asyncore provides basic support for switching among I/O channels within a single thread. But Twisted takes the style to a higher level and provides a huge collection of pre-built and reusable protocols, interfaces, and components..."

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