Other Pyramid features

Pyramid has several significant features that have no Pylons equivalent. These are one of the reasons the Pylons developers decided to switch to the repoze.BFG architecture (which is now Pyramid), so that we could leverage the existing code rather than having to write it from scratch.


The events framework provides hooks where you can insert your own code into the request-processing sequence. It standardizes some features that were provided ad hoc in Pylons or not at all. To use it, you write a callback function that takes an event argument, and register it via config.add_subscriber() in the main function. Akhet applications have two predefined subscribers in zzz/subscribers.py which can serve as examples.

The events are listed on the Pyramid Events API page. Each has a different kind of event argument with different attributes.

  • ApplicationCreated: called by config.make_wsgi_app() when the application starts up. event.app is the application instance.
  • NewRequest: called at the beginning of each request, after the Request object is created. event.request is the request.
  • ContextFound: called later than NewRequest, after the router has found the context object through URL dispatch or traversal. Use this if you need both the request and the context. event.request is the request, and event.request.context is the context.
  • NewResponse: called after a view or its renderer returns a Response. event.request is the request, and event.response is the response.
  • BeforeRender: called before rendering a template. event is a dict-like object containing the template’s global variables. You can modify this dict to add new globals, but you’ll get a KeyError if you try to set a key that already exists.

Each event type is a class in pyramid.events (e.g., ApplicationCreated). Each has a corresponding interface in pyramid.interfaces (e.g., IApplicationCreated). The class is what you pass as the second argument to config.add_subscriber. (You can also pass a dotted string name: “pyramid.events.ApplicationCreated”.) The interface describes the API of the event object that’s passed to your callback.

There are two other ways to modify or inspect responses, called “response callbacks” and “finished callbacks”. These do not use the events infrastructure. They’re documented in the Hooks page in the Pyramid manual. Unlike event subscribers, they have to be registered for each request. Note that response callbacks are NOT called if certain exceptions occur. Finished callbacks are always called, but they’re called after the response has been sent to the user so they can’t influence it.

The Pyramid manual says that NewResponse is not recommended and that middleware is better for modifying the response, but what it actually means is that it may be easier to write the equivalent functionality in middleware if you don’t need Pyramid-specific data. On the other hand, if you want to log the response and certain request data in a database and you need Pyramid-specific data, an event or callback is suitable because you know right where the data is, whereas in middleware it may be difficult or impossible to get the data.

Extending applications

Pyramid provides ways to let you or another developer extend an application without touching its internal code. The second developer can create a separate Pyramid application that references the first one, and adds or overrides routes, views, templates, and static files. This allows the second developer to add functionality to the application or change the way it looks or behaves. The technique is described in the Extending chapter of the Pyramid manual.

However, Pyramid applications are not “pluggable” the way Django claims to be. That is, you can’t expect two arbitrary Pyramid applications written by different people to fit together. Pyramid’s flexibility makes this unfeasable. The developers would have to agree on a common set of conventions for structuring their applications, and write them with that in mind.

Request processing in detail

The Pyramid manual has a step-by-step list of how it processes a request, from the time it’s received from the webserver to the time the response is given to the webserver. This is equivalent to the Pylons Execution Analysis, although it doesn’t cover Paste’s and the WSGI server’s roles.

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