Lightweight As-Is Server

pip install asis==0.3.0


As-Is Server

When it comes to unit testing tools that fetch HTTP resources, we decided we'd like to have a way to easily store pre-determined responses, and then serve them from a server in the same process as we're running these tests. No monkey patching, no infrastructure (like a caching proxy server).

It should be mentioned that if you're looking to capture requests from existing services and then replay them, the vcr project has been ported to several languages and is very useful.

What Is?

Twisted comes with a feature called as-is serving, inspired by Apache. But, who wants to include Twisted as a dependency?

This is based on bottle, and thus supports a number of WSGI backends (including Twisted and gevent), and is meant to be lightweight. An as-is document is one in which both the headers and the content for an HTTP response are stored:

HTTP/1.0 200 OK
Content-Length: 137
Content-Type: text/html

        <title>Basic Test Page</title>
        <p>Hello, I'm a test page</p>

Note that this requires only newlines for the headers -- the carriage returns are added automatically for convenience.


Easy peasy:

sudo pip install asis

Or for those who prefer from source:

git clone
cd asis && sudo python install


You can run an asis server relatively easily:

import asis
# Serve files stored in 'foo/' on port 8080
server = asis.Server('foo', 8080)



Alternatively, it can be used in a context-manager fashion:

import asis
import requests

with asis.Server('foo') as server:

There's also a command-line utility included for convenience for serving asis files as a standalone server, which is especially helpful for seeing these files through curl or the browser:

# Serve files out of 'foo/' on port 8080
asis-server foo --port 8080
# Same, using gevent and being verbose
asis-server foo --port 8080 --server gevent --verbose

Bells and Whistles

There are few features you may need to take advantage of:


If you supply the Content-Encoding header as either gzip or deflate, the plain contents stored in the file are compressed and sent over the wire that way. In those cases, you can leave Content-Length as 0, and the true content length (after compression) will be sent in its place. For example, the following gets sent as gzip-compressed content correctly to the browser:

HTTP/1.0 200 OK
Content-Length: 0
Content-Type: text/plain
Content-Encoding: gzip

Hello world!


If you include a charset in your Content-Type header, then your content will be interpreted as utf-8 on disk, and then encoded in the provided encoding. The idea is to help the editing process so that you don't have to explicitly save your examples in their declared character set. Like changes to Content-Encoding, the Content-Length header is recomputed to be correct once the transformation is complete.

Asis Headers

Directives provided under the 'Asis' header are stripped out of the document before being sent along, and can offer ways of modifying default behavior. The directives can be ;-separated, and currently include:

  • no-header-encode -- Don't encode change the encoding of headers. They're supposed to be iso-8859-1, but sometimes this is part of the beahvior you're trying to test
  • no-charset -- Don't encode the output in the provided charset and instead leave it as is
  • no-encoding -- Don't encode the output in the provided encoding (gzip, deflate, etc.) and just leave it as is


By default, the server is started with the gevent server, and it's started in a background green thread, and it supposed to be ready to serve requests as soon as run() returns.

Alternatively, the server can be started in two other modes, fork and block. If fork, then it will run the server in a separate process, and it still works as both a context manager and after calling run(). If block is selected, then it runs in a blocking way. For example:

# Run it in a separate process
with asis.Server('foo', port=8080, mode='fork'):
    # Make some requests

Examples and Tests

Included in here are a number of examples of as-is documents, and can be run directly to verify that they are transferred correctly:


It also provides an example of how you might incorporate it into your unit tests


Questions, comments, ideas always welcome.