I’ve started work on a new library for Rosella: Net. Net will be a networking library for doing things like HTTP requests and related operations. For a first draft I’m modelling it closely on the LWP::, Http::, and related modules in Parrot’s standard library. Many of these have been lovingly crafted and maintained by Francois Perrad and others over the years. Basically I’m borrowing the essential algorithms from the existing libraries, translating to Winxed en passant, and using them as a basis for building a bigger library.

I’m not looking to replace the LWP or Http modules from Parrot. Those things are required dependencies of Distutils, which is used by many projects for good reason. Distutils is an amazing tool for quickly and easily setting up build and test frameworks for Parrot-based projects. I wouldn’t want to disrupt that. In fact, I want to encourage it. Rosella uses Distutils for its build. PLA uses it as well. It’s a great tool and most projects on Parrot should consider using it. What I do want to do is create an internet-access framework where basic functionality is easy to get to and where new features can be easily added. I also want to fill in what I see as being a pretty important functionality gap in Rosella’s collection of libraries.

The LWP and Http libraries in the Parrot standard runtime are loosly-based on the Perl 5 modules of the same names. They started as something of a direct translation of the necessary parts of the Perl5 libraries directly to PIR. What I want to do is start with some of the ideas and algorithms from that port, update the interfaces to make them more Rosella-esque, and then start adding some of the features that the LWP and Http ports didn’t include (and maybe more beyond that).

Eventually I would like to add a nice wrapper interface around Socket and Select PMCs the same way the FileSystem library adds nicer wrappers around FileHandle and OS PMCs. I also want to add support for other protocols (FTP and IRC both come to mind). SOAP, REST, and RPC calls could be interesting to add in the future, though most of those would require a library for building and parsing XML, which I don’t have now and don’t have any plans to add in the near future. If I could add upload support for Smolder or other continuous integration applications to my Harness library, that would be fun too.

As of today I can upload report archives to smolder which have been previously assembled by distutils:

var request = Rosella.Net.Http.create_request("http://smolder.parrot.org/app/projects/process_add_report/2");
request.add_header("Connection", "close");
request.add_form_field("architecture", "x86-64");
request.add_form_field("platform", "linux");
request.add_form_field("revision", "0e75eb61d5b713b57b05e91a2d45251bb18d3e2e");
request.add_form_field("tags", "test");
request.add_form_field_filename("report_file", "/pla/report.tar.gz", "application/octet-stream");
var response = Rosella.Net.Http.request(request);

This is a lower-level of interface than I expect most people to use when the library is more mature. Eventually you’ll create a UserAgent object which provides nice pretty methods for making GET and POST requests. Like I said, this is roughly based on Parrot’s LWP library, which itself is based on Perl 5’s much-loved LWP module.

The library also supports local resource access with file:// URIs:

// Get a file:
var request = Rosella.Net.Http.create_request("file:///home/andrew/data/foo.txt");
var response = Rosella.Net.Http.request(request);

// Create a new file:
var request = Rosella.Net.Http.create_request("file:///home/andrew/data/bar.txt");
request.set_content("Hello World!");
var response = Rosella.Net.Http.request(request);

There isn’t a lot to look at with this new library quite yet, but things are moving along pretty quick. Now that I have some of the basic algorithms working, I’ll start rearranging the internals to more closely align with my long-term goals. This has basically been a weekend project so far, and I need to get back to my remove_sub_flags branch and a few other projects in Parrot core before I take this too much further.