The Flask class is defined in the app.py module. The class has a
defined on Line 2460 (Flask version 1.1.2). If you have an object
app that is an
instance of Flask class,
you can treat the object as a function (or callable). When you call the object
it will actually run the code in
__call__ method in Flask class is simply calling another method
I will discuss in this article. The code in the method is not long (list below)
because it just calls a few other methods.
def wsgi_app(self, environ, start_response): ctx = self.request_context(environ) error = None try: try: ctx.push() response = self.full_dispatch_request() except Exception as e: error = e response = self.handle_exception(e) except: # noqa: B001 error = sys.exc_info() raise return response(environ, start_response) finally: if self.should_ignore_error(error): error = None ctx.auto_pop(error)
If you ignore the exception handling code for a minute, the code is not too long. It is something like this.
def wsgi_app(self, environ, start_response): ctx = self.request_context(environ) ctx.push() response = self.full_dispatch_request() rv = response(environ, start_response) ctx.auto_pop(error) //show concept only return rv
Let’s look the first line of the method in detail.
ctx = self.request_context(environ)
request_context method is defined on Line 2345, and the method is returning a
RequestContext object. Notice the first argument to the
RequestContext constructor is
self, which is an instance of the Flask class.
def request_context(self, environ): return RequestContext(self, environ)
RequestContext class is defined on Line 255 of the ctx.py module. The first
sentence of the class documentation states that “the request context contains all
request relevant information”. Let’s look at the instance variables initialized
The class defines a property
g for easy access to the variable on the app stack.
The main methods of the class are
pop defined on Lines 355 and 398.
To better understand those two methods, you can read
Patrick Kennedy’s article.
The interesting part of
push method is that session is part of the request
context object and is initialized here. The
_request_ctx_stack object is
a global variable defined in global.py module.
def push(self): top = _request_ctx_stack.top if top is not None and top.preserved: top.pop(top._preserved_exc) app_ctx = _app_ctx_stack.top if app_ctx is None or app_ctx.app != self.app: app_ctx = self.app.app_context() app_ctx.push() self._implicit_app_ctx_stack.append(app_ctx) else: self._implicit_app_ctx_stack.append(None) if hasattr(sys, "exc_clear"): sys.exc_clear() _request_ctx_stack.push(self) if self.session is None: session_interface = self.app.session_interface self.session = session_interface.open_session(self.app, self.request) if self.session is None: self.session = session_interface.make_null_session(self.app) if self.url_adapter is not None: self.match_request()
I will stop here for now and look at other code in
wsgi_app at a later time.
updated on 3/28/2021
Those three concepts are confusing if you do not read the source code. Kennedy’s article helps to make them clear.
1. Request Context
The request context refers to the instance of
RequestContext class. It contains
all request relevant information.
2. Request Stack
The request stack is an
LocalStack context local object. It is defined in
file L57. The
RequestContext object has a
push method and it can push itself onto
request object is a LocalProxy to the
request instance variable of
RequestContext class. It is defined on L60 of
# globals.py _request_ctx_stack = LocalStack() request = LocalProxy(partial(_lookup_req_object, "request")) # L35 of globals.py def _lookup_req_object(name): top = _request_ctx_stack.top if top is None: raise RuntimeError(_request_ctx_err_msg) ## this is to get request instance variable from RequestContext return getattr(top, name)
Miguel Grinberg’s Flask Web Development Book Chapter 2 Page 18 has an example to show how the application context works.
(venv) $:~/Code/flask-hello$ python Python 3.9.2 (default, Mar 19 2021, 09:17:52) [GCC 9.3.0] on linux Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information. >>> from hello import app >>> from flask import current_app >>> current_app.name Traceback (most recent call last): File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module> ... RuntimeError: Working outside of application context. This typically means that you attempted to use functionality that needed to interface with the current application object in some way. To solve this, set up an application context with app.app_context(). See the documentation for more information. >>> app_ctx = app.app_context() >>> app_ctx.push() >>> current_app.name 'hello' >>> app_ctx.pop()
The reason of the runtime exception is that the
app is not invoked by the
WSGI server. If the
app is called by the server, the
will automatically create the application context and push it on to the stack.
But it will be difficult to show the process in a python session.
The code in ctx.py file shows that
g are instance variables
session are instance variables of
class. Miguel Grinberg’s book refers those variables as “flask context globals”
on Table 2-1 (Page 2-1). Those are probably should be called “context locals” as
in Kennedy’s article.
The paragraphs of this article could be better organized, and I will revise the article again later. This probably is the most important topic in Flask.
updated on 3/13/2022
I am reading more on this topic and trying to get to the bottom of
g variables. I found an amazing stack overflow
answer on this topic by Michael Ekoka. This is one of the best articles I ever
read on internet. It is the second answer to this question.
I am kind of agreeing that “this is a way overcomplicated design”, which is posted as a comment to the answer. But Flask has been there for a long time, and we can only work hard to understand it.
After reading this stack overflow answer, I read the source code of
which is in the standard library.
The lines from 170 to 185 are not very clear to me, and they are related to wr (weak reference). Otherwise the stack overflow answer is a really nice guide to the source code.
Below are some handwritten notes regarding Flask class
wsgi_app method first creates a
RequestContext object and pushes it onto the stack.
This happens each time a request is received on the server.
RequestContext object is pushed, under normal condition it creates an
pushes it onto a stack. The
app is only created once, and the
object stores a reference to it (the same as