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Hippos Technical Systems BV - Larry Myerscough

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'Phileas' - Python-HTML integration - Larry's Elegant Alternative Solution


Phileas is a method of smoothly integrating html code within python code without having to resort to templating (which I find leads to unnatural and ugly code). It is by no means the first such venture in this direction; indeeed it is inspired by a number of earlier products with a similar aim. The features which distinguish phileas from other such products are:
  • All HTML start-tags and end-tags are represented by python expressions; For example, 'h.p | "this little sentence."' contructs an HTML paragraph. Where parameters are required with the HTML start-tag, these are simply specified in parentheses, e.g. 'h.a(href="some_url") | "link text"'.

  • The 'h' decribed in the previous item is a 'singleton' instance of the class '_HTML40', defined within module ''. Many clases corresponding to html tags are defined as classes within the scope of HTML40. This class also possesses a member function '__str__'. This ensures that the html tags are properly printed. It also ensures that any nested sequences within the 'children' of the tag are unwound to a single list.

  • The operator '|' (binary or) is used to associate child items with a tag. These child items may be either strings or other html tags, possibly with child items of their own. [The decision to use '|' rather then '+' was not taken lightly but is nonetheless questionable: the author finds it easy to associate the notion of 'binary or' with 'taking something on board at the appropriate place', than is the case with '+'.

Use of phileas in web pages

This is no longer regarded as part of the phileas package as such.
  • Various styles of page are represented by class inheritance from a generic 'Page' class defined in ''. Pages of similar layout within a single web-site design are represented by a common sub-class of Page, e.g. 'MyPage' or 'CustomPage'. A further level of sub-classing defines page layout for e.g displaying a single photo, dislaying a collection of miniature photos, displaying a blog directory or a blog entry etc.

  • Facilities to auto-generate photo-indices and individual python files corresponding to uploaded photos exist.


Releases 0.2 and 0.3 were advertised on python-forum a year or two ago. I kept quiet about intermediate releases, largely because I kept changing my mind about the best approach to some issues.

Release 0.8 is now ready for exposure to a wider world.


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