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Mar 25, 2010

Just a little pin prick for your ill pdb

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Some packages can compromises the pdb interactive shell by redefining sys.stdout

Disclaimer: Tested only on linux and mac

Symptoms: python readline does not work at all in the pdb shell.

If you find out that inside a pdb after pressing some keys, e.g. the arrow keys, some escape symbols appear on the line...

(Pdb) test^[[D^[[D^[[D

...and you cannot move the cursor to the desired position, probably some package screwed up your pdb!

This is very annoying to me because some times I have to spend a lot of time in the pdb to heal my buggy code: a misfunctional readline makes me lose too much time!

This probably happened because somewhere in the code the standard output (sys.stdout) has been redefined and this screws up the pdb. 

Check it out in the console:

(Pdb) import sys
(Pdb) sys.stdout

 If the output is not something like

<open file '<stdout>', mode 'w' at 0xb783d070>

than you can go on reading to find out how to fix it. 

Tip: the output can give you an hint of the code that is redefining the stdout.

Don't ask me why pdb does not like it. If you are able to identify the nasty piece of code that modifies the standard output and replicate it in a python console, this problem does not appear.

Therapy: fix the stdout!

In most of the cases this will give you back a fully functional console:

>>> import sys;sys.stdout=file('/dev/stdout','w')

Giving roles to visitors using HTTP headers

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In a recent project we need to provide different roles to users, basing this choice to host name used to reach the Plone site

What's up?

The Plone site I'm describing here is quite normal, but customer ask us to give some special additional permissions to users that reach the Plone site from an internal domain.

In facts the wanna be still anonymous (forcing no-one to authenticate) but be able to see some documents in a special "Published internally" state.

How tho give this permission to anonymous users?


I never used AutoRole before, but its clear that the idea behind is what we need. AutoRole is an interesting PAS plugin provide additional roles automatically using the IP of the client that is not what we really wanna there.
It also works well with anonymous users making some magic inside the plugin!


You can find on the Plone SVN our first attempt to use the AutoRole idea for our needs. Changing some lines of codes here and there we changed roles provided relying on HTTP_HOST used.

The HTTP_HOST works only when the client reach directly the Zope server (not exacly, but we have no controls on the Apache of that company)... and we wanna put Varnish in front of it.
What if tomorrow I need to give somewhere an additional role to users that use a specific browser, or something else? I can't spend all of my live developing AutoRoleFromSomething products!


The best choice we found is to look at HTTP Header in general, making what header and what value completely configurable.

We developed and released AutoRoleFromHostHeader. Similar to AutoRole, but  you can configure it like this:

HTTP Header;regexp;role,[role,]

To make it the most general as possible, the value of the header is used as a regular expression.

Using this you can reproduce some of the AutoRole features, but you can also make something like this:

HTTP_USER_AGENT;(MSIE|Internet\ Explorer);BrowserlessVisitor