RHQ speaks Python

In the past few weeks I was quite busy refactoring RHQ’s CLI and scripting integration. Funnily enough it all started because we wanted to add the support for CommonJS modules to our javascript interface. During the course of the refactoring, I found out that I’m actually heading in the direction of completely separating the “language” support from the rest of the RHQ, which then only speaks to it through the Java’s standard scripting APIs which are language independent.

RHQ’s CLI was originally only implemented for and tightly coupled with javascript for which the JRE has support by default. The problem we had was that the version of Rhino (i.e. the Javascript implementation Java uses) that is bundled with the JRE does not support CommonJS modules while the newer versions do.

But this is about Python, right? So once I saw that we have a nice little API that one can implement to add support for another language, I thought why not try bringing another language to RHQ? The obvious choice was Python – the most popular language among the ones that can integrate with Java. So I grabbed Jython and started looking if would be possible to do with it everything we needed to do to implement our API. And it turned out it was – a mere 200 lines of Java code and RHQ can speak Python 🙂

Let’s look at how the API we needed implement looked like:

public class PythonScriptEngineProvider implements ScriptEngineProvider {

    public String getSupportedLanguage() {
        return "python";

    public ScriptEngineInitializer getInitializer() {
        return new PythonScriptEngineInitializer();

    public CodeCompletion getCodeCompletion() {
        // XXX are we gonna support code completion for multiple langs in the CLI?
        return null;

Now that’s quite trivial, isn’t it? 🙂 Of course, this is the basic interface which just delegates the real work to other classes. So let’s look at the ScriptEngineInitializer – the class that really does the all the important work:

public class PythonScriptEngineInitializer implements ScriptEngineInitializer {

    private static final Log LOG = LogFactory.getLog(PythonScriptEngineInitializer.class);

    static {
        Properties props = new Properties();
        props.put("python.packages.paths", "java.class.path,sun.boot.class.path");
        props.put("python.packages.directories", "java.ext.dirs");
        props.put("python.cachedir.skip", false);
        PythonInterpreter.initialize(System.getProperties(), props, null);

    private ScriptEngineManager engineManager = new ScriptEngineManager();

    public ScriptEngine instantiate(Set packages, PermissionCollection permissions) throws ScriptException {

        ScriptEngine eng = engineManager.getEngineByName("python");

        //XXX this might not work perfectly in jython
        //but we can't make it work perfectly either, so let's just
        //keep our fingers crossed..
        for (String pkg : packages) {
            try {
                eng.eval("from " + pkg + " import *\n");
            } catch (ScriptException e) {
                //well, let's just keep things going, this is not fatal...
                LOG.info("Python script engine could not pre-import members of package '" + pkg + "'.");

        //fingers crossed we can secure jython like this
        return permissions == null ? eng : new SandboxedScriptEngine(eng, permissions);

    public void installScriptSourceProvider(ScriptEngine scriptEngine, ScriptSourceProvider provider) {
        PySystemState sys = Py.getSystemState();
        if (sys != null) {
            sys.path_hooks.append(new PythonSourceProvider(provider));

    public Set generateIndirectionMethods(String boundObjectName, Set overloadedMethods) {
        if (overloadedMethods == null || overloadedMethods.isEmpty()) {
            return Collections.emptySet();

        Set argCnts = new HashSet();
        for (Method m : overloadedMethods) {

        String methodName = overloadedMethods.iterator().next().getName();
        StringBuilder functionBody = new StringBuilder();

        functionBody.append("def ").append(methodName).append("(*args, **kwargs):\n");
        functionBody.append("\t").append("if len(kwargs) > 0:\n");
        functionBody.append("\t\t").append("raise ValueError(\"Named arguments not supported for Java methods\")\n");
        functionBody.append("\t").append("argCnt = len(args)\n");

        for (Integer argCnt : argCnts) {
            functionBody.append("\t").append("if argCnt == ").append(argCnt).append(":\n");
            functionBody.append("\t\treturn ").append(boundObjectName).append(".").append(methodName).append("(");
            int last = argCnt - 1;
            for (int i = 0; i < argCnt; ++i) {
                if (i < last) {
                    functionBody.append(", ");

        return Collections.singleton(functionBody.toString());

    public String extractUserFriendlyErrorMessage(ScriptException e) {
        return e.getMessage();

The most important task of the initializer is to instantiate the script engine of the language it supports and intialize it – pre-import java packages of RHQ’s classes and apply java security to the script engine. The other tasks it has are to install a “script source provider” to the engine (the script source provider is a class that is able to locate a script “somewhere”), to extract a user-friendly error message from the script exception and finally to generate “indirection methods” – basically define top level functions that delegate to a method on certain object. All these methods are there so that RHQ can correctly set up the bindings that the scripts then can use to access and manipulate RHQ data.

I won’t be listing the source of the class that integrates the source providers with Python, you can take a look at it here. But I’ll show you how it is possible in your local CLI session to import a python script stored in the RHQ server in some repository:

import sys


import my_script as foo


RHQ has a path_hook in Python that looks for paths prefixed with __rhq__:. After that you can specify the root URL that the RHQ’s source provider understand. The import statement then looks for a module under that URL. In the example above, you will import the script called my_script.py that is stored on the RHQ server in the repository called my_repo.

So that’s it. You can see that adding support for another scripting language is not that hard. What language will you add? 😉 You can read more about the language support on the RHQ wiki.

Posted in Java, RHQ. 3 Comments »
%d bloggers like this: