PUTting and DELETEing in python urllib2

The urllib2 Python module makes it pretty simple to GET and POST data using HTTP (and other protocols). But there isn’t a good built-in way to issue HTTP PUT or DELETE requests. I ran into this limitation while working on a project to upload automatically generated documentation to the Mozilla Developer Center. The DekiWiki API for uploading an file attachment uses the HTTP PUT method.

It turns out there is an easy workaround. You can subclass the urllib2.Request class and explicitly override the method:

import urllib2

class RequestWithMethod(urllib2.Request):
  def __init__(self, method, *args, **kwargs):
    self._method = method
    urllib2.Request.__init__(*args, **kwargs)

  def get_method(self):
    return self._method

Preview for Thursday’s post: the generated documentation is already online.

Atom Feed for Comments 4 Responses to “PUTting and DELETEing in python urllib2”

  1. Aaron Fulkerson Says:

    Cool stuff. FYI, you can use graphviz in MindTouch Deki to create graphs and diagrams. Documentation here: http://wiki.developer.mindtouch.com/MindTouch_Deki/Extensions/Graphviz

  2. Jason Trost Says:

    Great hack…think you’re missing the self in call to urllib2.Request.__init__(*args, **kwargs) so it should read urllib2.Request.__init__(self, *args, **kwargs)


  3. Eric S. Raymond Says:

    The recipe you give does not work, at least not under my Python 2.6.5. However, this does and is backward-compatible:

    class RequestWithMethod(urllib2.Request):
    “Hack for forcing the method in a request – allows PUT and DELETE”
    def __init__(self, method, *args, **kwargs):
    # This assignment works directly in older Python versions
    self._method = method
    urllib2.Request.__init__(self, *args, **kwargs)
    def get_method(self):
    “Deduce the HTTP method to use.”
    # This method works in newer Pythons (2.6.5, possibly earlier).
    if self._method:
    return self._method
    elif self.has_data():
    return “POST”
    return “GET”

    It is possible that get_method() was recently introduced to solve this exact problem; in fact, I’d bet on it.

  4. Eric S. Raymond Says:

    I indented that code. The blog engine smashed it left. The key point is that newer Pythons have a get_method() you can override.

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