Category Archives: Python

Reading Modbus devices with Python from a PHP/Silex Application via Gearman worker

Yes. I know. I never know how to write a good tittle to my posts. Let me show one integration example that I’ve been working with this days. Let’s start.

In industrial automation there’re several standard protocols. Modbus is one of them. Maybe isn’t the coolest or the newest one (like OPC or OPC/UA), but we can speak Modbus with a huge number of devices.

I need to read from one of them, and show a couple of variables in a Web frontend. Imagine the following fake Modbus server (it emulates my real Modbus device)

#!/usr/bin/env python

# Fake modbus server
# - exposes "Energy" 66706 = [1, 1170]
# - exposes "Power" 132242 = [2, 1170]

from pymodbus.datastore import ModbusSlaveContext, ModbusServerContext
from pymodbus.datastore import ModbusSequentialDataBlock
from pymodbus.server.async import StartTcpServer
import logging

log = logging.getLogger()

hrData = [1, 1170, 2, 1170]
store = ModbusSlaveContext(hr=ModbusSequentialDataBlock(2, hrData))

context = ModbusServerContext(slaves=store, single=True)


This server exposes two variables “Energy” and “Power”. This is a fake server and it will returns always 66706 for energy and 132242 for power. Mobus is a binary protocol so 66706 = [1, 1170] and 132242 = [2, 1170]

I can read Modbus from PHP, but normally use Python for this kind of logic. I’m not going to re-write an existing logic to PHP. I’m not crazy enough. Furthermore my real Modbus device only accepts one active socket to retrieve information. That’s means if two clients uses the frontend at the same time, it will crash. In this situations Queues are our friends.

I’ll use a Gearman worker (written in Python) to read Modbus information.

from pyModbusTCP.client import ModbusClient
from gearman import GearmanWorker
import json

def reader(worker, job):
    c = ModbusClient(host="localhost", port=502)

    if not c.is_open() and not
        print("unable to connect to host")

    if c.is_open():

        holdingRegisters = c.read_holding_registers(1, 4)

        # Imagine we've "energy" value in position 1 with two words
        energy = (holdingRegisters[0] << 16) | holdingRegisters[1]

        # Imagine we've "power" value in position 3 with two words
        power = (holdingRegisters[2] << 16) | holdingRegisters[3]

        out = {"energy": energy, "power": power}
        return json.dumps(out)
    return None

worker = GearmanWorker([''])

worker.register_task('modbusReader', reader)

print 'working...'

Our backend is ready. Now we’ll work with the frontend. In this example I’ll use PHP and Silex.

include __DIR__ . '/../vendor/autoload.php';
use Silex\Application;
$app = new Application(['debug' => true]);
$app->register(new Silex\Provider\TwigServiceProvider(), array(
    'twig.path' => __DIR__.'/../views',
$app['modbusReader'] = $app->protect(function() {
    $client = new \GearmanClient();
    $handle = $client->doNormal('modbusReader', 'modbusReader');
    $returnCode = $client->returnCode();
    if ($returnCode != \GEARMAN_SUCCESS) {
        throw new \Exception($this->client->error(), $returnCode);
    } else {
        return json_decode($handle, true);
$app->get("/", function(Application $app) {
    return $app['twig']->render('home.twig', $app['modbusReader']());

As we can see the frontend is a simple Gearman client. It uses our Python worker to read information from Modbus and render a simple html with a Twig template

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    Energy: {{ energy }}
    Power: {{ power }}

And that’s all. You can see the full example in my github account

Building one HTTP client in PostgreSQL with PL/Python

Don’t ask me way, but I need to call to a HTTP server (one Silex application) from a PostgreSQL database.

I want to do something like this:

select get('http://localhost:8080?name=Gonzalo')->'hello';

PostgreSQL has a datatype for json. It’s really cool and it allows us to connect our HTTP server and our SQL database using same datatype.

PostgreSQL also allows us to create stored procedures using different languages. The default language is PL/pgSQL. PL/pgSQL is a simple language where we can embed SQL. But we also can use Python. With Python we can easily create HTTP clients, for example with urllib2. That means that develop our a HTTP client for a PostgreSQL database is pretty straightforward.

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION get(uri character varying)
import urllib2

data = urllib2.urlopen(uri)


  COST 100;
ALTER FUNCTION get(character varying)
  OWNER TO gonzalo;

Ok that’s a GET client, but we also want a POST client to do something like this:

select post('http://localhost:8080', '{"name": "Gonzalo"}'::json)->'hello';

As you can see I want to use application/json instead of application/x-www-form-urlencoded to send request parameters. I wrote about it here time ago. So I will create one endpoint within my Silex server to handle my POST requests to:

include __DIR__ . '/../vendor/autoload.php';

use Silex\Application;
use Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\Request;
use G\AngularPostRequestServiceProvider;

$app = new Application(['debug' => true]);

$app->register(new AngularPostRequestServiceProvider());

$app->post('/', function (Application $app, Request $request) {
    return $app->json(['hello' => $request->get('name')]);

$app->get('/', function (Application $app, Request $request) {
    return $app->json(['hello' => $request->get('name')]);


And now we only need to create one stored procedure to send POST requests

    uri character varying,
    paramenters json)
import urllib2

clen = len(paramenters)
req = urllib2.Request(uri, paramenters, {'Content-Type': 'application/json', 'Content-Length': clen})
f = urllib2.urlopen(req)

  COST 100;
ALTER FUNCTION post(character varying, json)
  OWNER TO gonzalo;

And that’s all. At least this simple script is exactly what I need.

Microservice container with Guzzle

This days I’m reading about Microservices. The idea is great. Instead of building a monolithic script using one language/framowork. We create isolated services and we build our application using those services (speaking HTTP between services and application).

That’s means we’ll have several microservices and we need to use them, and maybe sometimes change one service with another one. In this post I want to build one small container to handle those microservices. Similar idea than Dependency Injection Containers.

As we’re going to speak HTTP, we need a HTTP client. We can build one using curl, but in PHP world we have Guzzle, a great HTTP client library. In fact Guzzle has something similar than the idea of this post: Guzzle services, but I want something more siple.

Imagine we have different services:
One Silex service (PHP + Silex)

use Silex\Application;

$app = new Application();

$app->get('/hello/{username}', function($username) {
    return "Hello {$username} from silex service";


Another PHP service. This one using Slim framework

use Slim\Slim;

$app = new Slim();

$app->get('/hello/:username', function ($username) {
    echo "Hello {$username} from slim service";


And finally one Python service using Flask framework

from flask import Flask, jsonify
app = Flask(__name__)

def show_user_profile(username):
    return "Hello %s from flask service" % username

if __name__ == "__main__":, host='', port=5000)

Now, with our simple container we can use one service or another

use Symfony\Component\Config\FileLocator;
use MSIC\Loader\YamlFileLoader;
use MSIC\Container;

$container = new Container();

$ymlLoader = new YamlFileLoader($container, new FileLocator(__DIR__));

echo $container->getService('flaskServer')->get('/hello/Gonzalo')->getBody() . "\n";
echo $container->getService('silexServer')->get('/hello/Gonzalo')->getBody() . "\n";
echo $container->getService('slimServer')->get('/hello/Gonzalo')->getBody() . "\n";

And that’s all. You can see the project in my github account.

Sending sockets from PostgreSQL triggers with Python

Picture this: We want to notify to one external service each time that one record is inserted in the database. We can find the place where the insert statement is done and create a TCP client there, but: What happens if the application that inserts the data within the database is a legacy application?, or maybe it is too hard to do?. If your database is PostgreSQL it’s pretty straightforward. With the “default” procedural language of PostgreSQL (pgplsql) we cannot do it, but PostgreSQL allows us to use more procedural languages than plpgsql, for example Python. With plpython we can use sockets in the same way than we use it within Python scripts. It’s very simple. Let me show you how to do it.

First we need to create one plpython with our TCP client

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION dummy.sendsocket(msg character varying, host character varying, port integer)
  RETURNS integer AS
  import _socket
    s = _socket.socket(_socket.AF_INET, _socket.SOCK_STREAM)
    s.connect((host, port))
    return 1
    return 0
  COST 100;
ALTER FUNCTION dummy.sendsocket(character varying, character varying, integer)
  OWNER TO username;

Now we create the trigger that use our socket client.

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION dummy.myTriggerToSendSockets()
RETURNS trigger AS
   import json
   stmt = plpy.prepare("select dummy.sendSocket($1, $2, $3)", ["text", "text", "int"])
   rv = plpy.execute(stmt, [json.dumps(TD), "host", 26200])
COST 100;

As you can see in my example we are sending all the record as a JSON string in the socket body.

And finally we attach the trigger to one table (or maybe we need to do it to more than one table)

  ON dummy.myTable
  EXECUTE PROCEDURE dummy.myTriggerToSendSockets();

And that’s all. Now we can use one simple TCP socket server to handle those requests. Let me show you different examples of TCP servers with different languages. As we can see all are different implementations of Reactor pattern. We can use, for example:


var net = require('net');

var host = 'localhost';
var port = 26200;

var server = net.createServer(function (socket) {
    socket.on('data', function(buffer) {
        // do whatever that we want with buffer

server.listen(port, host);

python (with Twisted):

from twisted.internet import reactor, protocol

HOST = 'localhost'
PORT = 26200

class MyServer(protocol.Protocol):
    def dataReceived(self, data):
        # do whatever that we want with data

class MyServerFactory(protocol.Factory):
    def buildProtocol(self, addr):
        return MyServer()

reactor.listenTCP(PORT, MyServerFactory(), interface=HOST)

(I know that we can create the Python’s TCP server without Twisted, but if don’t use it maybe someone will angry with me. Probably he is angry right now because I put the node.js example first :))

php (with react):

include __DIR__ . '/vendor/autoload.php';

$host = 'localhost';
$port = 26200;

$loop   = React\EventLoop\Factory::create();
$socket = new React\Socket\Server($loop);

$socket->on('connection', function ($conn) {
    $conn->on('data', function ($data) {
        // do whatever we want with data

$socket->listen($port, $host);

You also can use xinet.d to handle the TCP inbound connections.


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