httpwatcher is both a library and command-line utility for firing up a
simple HTTP server to serve static files from a specific root path. Live
reloading is triggered via web sockets.
httpwatcher is intended for developers during testing
of their static web sites, and is not at all intended as a production
In order to install
httpwatcher, you will need:
- Python 2.7+ or Python 3.5+
With your virtual environment active, run the following:
> pip install httpwatcher
To upgrade to the latest version of
> pip install -U httpwatcher
httpwatcher can either be used from the command line, or as a
drop-in library within your own Python application.
The quickest way to get up and running is to watch the current
folder and serve your content from
http://localhost:5555 as follows:
# Also opens your web browser at http://localhost:5555 > httpwatcher # To get more help > httpwatcher --help
With all possible options:
> httpwatcher --root /path/to/html \ # static root from which to serve files --watch "/path1,/path2" \ # comma-separated list of paths to watch (defaults to the static root) --host 127.0.0.1 \ # bind to 127.0.0.1 --port 5556 \ # bind to port 5556 --base-path /blog/ \ # serve static content from http://127.0.0.1:5556/blog/ --verbose \ # enable verbose debug logging --no-browser # causes httpwatcher to not attempt to open your web browser automatically
httpwatcher is installed as a dependency for your Python
project, and then:
import httpwatcher # Just watch /path/to/html, and serve from that same path httpwatcher.watch("/path/to/html")
Note that, unlike
function automatically assumes that you want to open your default web
browser at the base URL of the served site. To avoid this, do the
import httpwatcher httpwatcher.watch("/path/to/html", open_browser=False)
To use the watcher server directly and have more control over the I/O loop:
from httpwatcher import HttpWatcherServer from tornado.ioloop import IOLoop def custom_callback(): print("Web server reloading!") server = HttpWatcherServer( "/path/to/html", # serve files from the folder /path/to/html watch_paths=["/path1", "/path2"], # watch these paths for changes on_reload=custom_callback, # optionally specify a custom callback to be called just before the server reloads host="127.0.0.1", # bind to host 127.0.0.1 port=5556, # bind to port 5556 server_base_path="/blog/", # serve static content from http://127.0.0.1:5556/blog/ watcher_interval=1.0, # maximum reload frequency (seconds) recursive=True, # watch for changes in /path/to/html recursively open_browser=True # automatically attempt to open a web browser (default: False for HttpWatcherServer) ) server.listen() try: # will keep serving until someone hits Ctrl+C IOLoop.current().start() except KeyboardInterrupt: server.shutdown()
httpwatcher.watch takes mostly the same parameters as the
constructor parameters for
HttpWatcherServer (except, as mentioned
earlier, for the
open_browser parameter). It's just a
convenience method provided to instantiate and run a simple
httpwatcher makes extensive use of the
Tornado asynchronous web framework to
facilitate a combined asynchronous HTTP and WebSocket server. All HTML
content served that contains a closing
</body> tag will automatically
<script> tags injected to facilitate the WebSockets
connection back to the server.
The WebSockets endpoint is located at
that facilitates the reloading is located at
http://localhost:5555/httpwatcher.min.js by default (depending on your
host and port settings).
The library came out of a need for a simple web server, capable of
serving static files with live reload capabilities, but also with
the ability to serve content from non-standard base paths (for example,
http://somesite.com/blog/ as opposed to always just
http://somesite.com). More specifically, this was to be used in
Statik - the static web site
The livereload library
was great for a while, until the real need came up for modifying it,
where the wheels came off the bus. More functional unit tests were
needed to validate the basic functionality, and more flexibility was
needed in some respects, so
httpwatcher was built.
Feel free to contribute! Fork the repository, make your changes in a feature branch, and then submit a pull request.
The MIT License (MIT)
Copyright (c) 2017 Thane Thomson
Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:
The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.
THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.