Code, games, and sarcasm
Matt Soucy

Aspect-based events in Python

in code by Matt Soucy - Comments

This post is modified from a presentation I gave a while back

What are events?

The super simple explanation, is “when this, do this”

Basically, functions are added to a “callback list” that happen when an event is triggered

def foo():
	print("Hello, events!")


What is the Observer pattern?

Events are sort of a variation of the observer pattern.


It’s not about calling a function, it’s about sending a message…

  • The Programming Joker

Basically, a class registers itself to receive messages when something changes.

What are aspects?

Aspects are “cross-cutting concerns”

Things that weave their way throughout the program, for instance:

# In a totally-made-up "AspectPY", based on AspectJ
# (There IS a real AspectPY, but I haven't looked at it yet)
class MyAdvice(apy.Aspect):
	my_pointcut ="itertools.*")

	@apy.before(my_pointcut, target="target")
	def my_advice(self, **env):
		print("Calling", env["target"])

itertools.chain("abc", "def")
# Prints: `Calling itertools.chain`

How do these two work together?

I was refactoring code for a project, when I encountered this:

class Harold(object):

    def __init__(self, mplfifo, ser, mpout, beep=True):
        self.playing = False
        self.mixer = Mixer(control='PCM')
        self.fifo = mplfifo
        self.ser = ser
        self.mpout = mpout
        self.beep = beep

    def write(self, *args, **kwargs):
        delay = kwargs.pop("delay", 0.5)
        kws = {"file": self.fifo}
        print(*args, **kws)

    def __call__(self):
        if not self.playing:
            userlog = open("/home/pi/logs/user_log.csv", "a")
            # Lower the volume during quiet hours... Don't piss off the RA!
            self.mixer.setvolume(85 if quiet_hours() else 100)
            varID = self.ser.readline()
            # mplayer will play any files sent to the FIFO file.
            if self.beep:
                self.write("loadfile", DING_SONG)
            if "ready" not in varID:
                # Turn the LEDs off
                GPIO.output(7, False)
                GPIO.output(11, False)
                # Get the username from the ibutton
                uid, homedir = read_ibutton(varID)
                # Print the user's name (Super handy for debugging...)
                print("User: '" + uid + "'\n")
                song = get_user_song(homedir)
                print("Now playing '" + song + "'...\n")
                varID = varID[:-2]
                userlog.write("\n" + time.strftime('%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S') + "," + varID + "," + uid + "," + song)
                self.write("loadfile '" + song.replace("'", "\\'") + "'\nget_time_length",

                line = self.mpout.readline()
                while not line.startswith("ANS_LENGTH="):
                    line = self.mpout.readline()
                duration = float(line.strip().split("=")[-1])

                self.starttime = time.time()
                self.endtime = time.time() + min(30, duration)
                self.playing = True
        elif time.time() >= self.endtime:
            self.playing = False
            GPIO.output(7, True)
            GPIO.output(11, True)

        elif time.time() >= self.starttime+28:
            # Fade out the music at the end.
            vol = int(self.mixer.getvolume()[0])
            while vol > 60:
                vol -= 1 + (100 - vol)/30.

This code has all of these together:

Wait! “Logging” was a “cross-cutting concern” mentioned before. Yet, “Logging” was spread throughout the entire codebase

Splitting out logging and other “cross-cutting” concerns

Let’s not care about calling them, at first.

class LogFileAspect(HaroldAspect):
    def __init__(self, logfn):
        self.logfile = open(logfn, "a")
    def on_play(self, varID, uid, song):
		# I know...legacy reasons. I'll switch to csv module soon
        print(time.strftime('%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S,{0},{1},{2}'
              .format(varID, uid, song)), file=self.logfile)
    def on_terminate(self):

# Different circumstances trigger different GPIO reactions:
class GPIOAspect(HaroldAspect):
    def __init__(self, *pins):
        self.pins = pins
        for pin in pins:
            GPIO.setup(pin, GPIO.OUT)
            GPIO.output(pin, True)
    def setPins(self, val):
        for pin in self.pins:
            GPIO.output(pin, val)
    def on_play(self, varID, uid, song):
    def on_stop(self):

What did these have in common?

Notice the on_play functions:

class LogFileAspect(HaroldAspect):
	# ...
    def on_play(self, varID, uid, song):
		# I know...legacy reasons. I'll switch to csv module soon
        print(time.strftime('%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S,{0},{1},{2}'
              .format(varID, uid, song)), file=self.logfile)
# ...
class GPIOAspect(HaroldAspect):
	# ...
    def on_play(self, varID, uid, song):

Both happen at the “same time”, or when the same thing triggers them!

Since they’re “cross-cutting concerns”, it doesn’t REALLY matter which one happens in which order.

Triggering our events

We have cross-cutting concerns located in their own aspect classes

Let’s make a function to call them:

class AspectWeaver(object):
	def trigger(self, func, *args, **kwargs):
		for a in self.aspects:
			if hasattr(a, "on_"+func):
				getattr(a, "on_"+func)(*args, **kwargs)

What happened to aspects?

The two were put together pretty seamlessly:

Unplanned design

The original code was designed as “what’s architecture?”

Why does this design rock?

Code for each subsystem (GPIO, logging, etc) is in one place

Code triggering parts of each subsystem is in one place:

class Harold(AspectWeaver):
     def __call__(self):
         if not self.playing:
			 # ...
             self.trigger("play", varID, uid, song)
             self.playing = True

         elif time.time() >= self.endtime:
             self.playing = False

         elif time.time() >= self.fadetime:
             # Fade out the music at the end.

Why does this design not work all the time?

Events vs AOP vs my design

Future work