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Safari | Python Developer's Handbook -> Python Active Scripting





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Python Active Scripting

Active Scripting is a technology developed by Microsoft that allows scripting languages to be embedded inside Web browsers. Currently, Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 and above supports client-side scripting, whereas Internet Information Server (IIS) supports server-side scripting, using a component called Active Server Pages (ASP). In both cases, the scripting code is embedded inside the HTML code. There is a limitation to using Python as a client-side solution for your Web applications: Each client machine must have Python installed. That's probably the greatest disadvantage that Python has among the other Active Scripting languages because Internet Explorer provides core support for VBScript and JScript. Other problems with using Python as a client-side scripting language include the fact that it is only supported in Internet Explorer, it only works on Windows, and it requires that the Python Active Scripting component be installed. It is probably okay in controlled environments, but on the Internet, hardly anyone meets this criteria, so you can't rely on it.

In order to implement security procedures, not all Python commands are available. Commands that execute some critical operationssuch as open files, create sockets, and so onare hidden behind a "sandbox", in a concept similar to the one used by Java. For more information, check out

Python and Microsoft ActiveX Scripting

http://www.python.org/windows/win32com/ActiveXScri pting.html

Active Scripting

http://msdn.microsoft.com/scripting

The Python for Windows extensions come with more details about the use of Active Scripting along with Internet Explorer. For now, let's take a look at the following code:

					
<script language=python>
msg = "Hello Python World! I am counting down!<br>"
document.write(msg)
counter = 10
while counter > 0:
    document.write(counter)
    document.write("<br>")
    counter = counter - 1
document.write("Booooom!")
</script>

				

This code must be inserted in a HTML file in order to be executed. Next, you have a slightly modified code. This one uses the alert() function to put a message box in the user's screen. As you already know, each application exposes its own object model, and for example, the alert() function is part of the object model exposed by the Internet Explorer, which is similar to the Dynamic HTML object model. Actually, everything here happens as COM transactions.

					
<script language=python>
msg = "Hello Python World! I am counting down!<br>"
document.write(msg)
counter = 10
while counter > 0:
    document.write(counter)
    document.write("<br>")
    counter = counter - 1
alert("Booooom!")
</script>

				

A script tag can be executed in two places: in the client machine (default behavior) or in the server. The next structure shows how to let the application know where it needs to execute the script.

					
<SCRIPT RunAt=Server Language=Python >
   #This code runs at the server
</SCRIPT>
<SCRIPT Language=Python >
   #This code runs at the client
</SCRIPT>

				

The next example demonstrates how you can cause your Python code to interact with standard HTML code. Note that you cannot use leading whitespaces in the Python block. In order to handle events such as the ones shown here, you need to have the notation object_event in mind. Also note that in Python, you have to inform the complete namespace of the object, including the form name. This is something that VBScript handles better by allowing you to use just the object name.

					
<FORM NAME = "myform">
  <INPUT TYPE="Text" NAME="txt1" SIZE=40><br>
  <INPUT TYPE="Text" NAME="txt2" SIZE=40><br>
  <INPUT NAME="B1" TYPE="BUTTON" VALUE="Click me">
  <SCRIPT LANGUAGE=Python>
def myform_onClick():
    myform.txt1.value = document.location
def txt1_onChange():
    myform.txt1.value = ""
    myform.txt2.value = ""
def txt2_onFocus():
    myform.txt2.value = myform.txt1.value
  </SCRIPT>
</FORM>

				

In order to have full exposition with the Active Scripting technology, you also need to take a look at Windows Scripting Host (WSH). WSH is part of Windows 98 and 2000, but it can also be downloaded from http://msdn.microsoft.com/scripting for the other Windows environments (95 and NT). WSH runs Python files that have the extension .pys. These files are regular text files that can freely use the object model exposed by WSH. Note that .pys files are not correctly registeredyou need to explicitly specify either cscript.exe or wscript.exe on the command line.

Now, that you are ready to write your programs, you might also need to debug your Active Scripts. You have two tools for the job, both provided by Microsoft:

  • The first one is a free product called The Windows Script Debugger. This version can be downloaded from http://msdn.microsoft.com/scripting/.

  • The other option is to use Microsoft Visual Interdev that comes as part of Microsoft Visual C++. This option is not free because it's attached to the commercial product.

Using COM Objects

Active Scripting is a COM-based technology that works by providing a specific language's object model to the user. In Chapter 7, "Objects Interfacing and Distribution," you learned that each application exposes a progID in order to interface with other systems. Therefore, when you say Language = Python inside a script tag, you are actually opening an interface to a progID called Python. As you might be wondering, VBScript, JScript, and Python are COM progID s used to handle each one of these languages.

In our case, after you specify that the scripting language is Python, you acquire access to the interface exposed by the Python object model. As you ca ... ... (Not finished, please download and read the complete file)

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