How to Deploy Python Hotfix on RedHat OpenShift Cloud

Posted by Alexander Todorov on Wed 24 April 2013

In this article I will show you how to deploy hotfix versions for Python packages on the RedHat OpenShift PaaS cloud.

Background

You are already running a Python application on your OpenShift instance. You are using some 3rd party dependencies when you find a bug in one of them. You go forward, fix the bug and submit a pull request. You don't want to wait for upstream to release a new version but rather build a hotfix package yourself and deploy to production immediately.

Solution

There are two basic approaches to solving this problem:

  1. Include the hotfix package source code in your application, i.e. add it to your git tree or;
  2. Build the hotfix separately and deploy as a dependency. Don't include it in your git tree, just add a requirement on the hotfix version.

I will talk about the later. The tricky part here is to instruct the cloud environment to use your package (including the proper location) and not upstream or their local mirror.

Python applications hosted at OpenShift don't support requirements.txt which can point to various package sources and even install packages directly from GitHub. They support setup.py which fetches packages from http://pypi.python.org but it is flexible enough to support other locations.

Building the hotfix

First of all we'd like to build a hotfix package. This will be the upstream version that we are currently using plus the patch for our critical issue:

$ wget https://pypi.python.org/packages/source/p/python-magic/python-magic-0.4.3.tar.gz
$ tar -xzvf python-magic-0.4.3.tar.gz 
$ cd python-magic-0.4.3
$ curl https://github.com/ahupp/python-magic/pull/31.patch | patch

Verify the patch has been applied correctly and then modify setup.py to increase the version string. In this case I will set it to version='0.4.3.1'.

Then build the new package using python setup.py sdist and upload it to a web server.

Deploying to OpenShift

Modify setup.py and specify the hotfix version. Because this version is not on PyPI and will not be on OpenShift's local mirror you need to provide the location where it can be found. This is done with the dependency_links parameter to setup(). Here's how it looks:

diff --git a/setup.py b/setup.py
index c6e837c..2daa2a9 100644
--- a/setup.py
+++ b/setup.py
@@ -6,5 +6,6 @@ setup(name='YourAppName',
       author='Your Name',
       author_email='example@example.com',
       url='http://www.python.org/sigs/distutils-sig/',
-      install_requires=['python-magic==0.4.3'],
+      dependency_links=['https://s3.amazonaws.com/atodorov/blog/python-magic-0.4.3.1.tar.gz'],
+      install_requires=['python-magic==0.4.3.1'],
      )

Now just git push to OpenShift and observe the console output:

remote: Processing dependencies for YourAppName==1.0
remote: Searching for python-magic==0.4.3.1
remote: Best match: python-magic 0.4.3.1
remote: Downloading https://s3.amazonaws.com/atodorov/blog/python-magic-0.4.3.1.tar.gz
remote: Processing python-magic-0.4.3.1.tar.gz
remote: Running python-magic-0.4.3.1/setup.py -q bdist_egg --dist-dir /tmp/easy_install-ZRVMBg/python-magic-0.4.3.1/egg-dist-tmp-R_Nxie
remote: zip_safe flag not set; analyzing archive contents...
remote: Removing python-magic 0.4.3 from easy-install.pth file
remote: Adding python-magic 0.4.3.1 to easy-install.pth file

Congratulations! Your hotfix package has just been deployed.

This approach should work for other cloud providers and other programming languages as well. Let me know if you have any experience with that.

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