AppMap Agent for Python

About

appmap is a Python package for creating AppMap Diagrams of your code.

The AppMap Data Format includes code structure (packages, modules, classes, and methods), trace events (function calls, web services, RPC calls, SQL, parameters, return values, exceptions, etc), and code metadata (repo URL, commit SHA, etc). It’s more granular than a performance profile, but it’s less granular than a full debug trace. It’s designed to be optimal for understanding the design intent and structure of code and key data flows.

appmap works by modifying the way python imports the modules of an application. After a module is imported, appmap examines it for function definitions. Each function is instrumented, so that when it is called, a trace event will be added to the current recording.

Supported versions

Support for new versions is added frequently, please check back regularly for updates.

Installation

appmap works best when installed in a virtual environment, usually one associated with a project. This helps ensure that the project’s code will be instrumented, while reducing the chance of interference with other python utilities.

If your project uses pip for dependency management, add the appmap package to the project’s requirements file or install it directly. Specifying the --require-virtualenv switch ensures that it will only be installed in a virtual environment.

pip install --require-virtualenv appmap

For projects that use poetry , add the appmap package to pyproject.toml. Note that, by default, poetry manages dependencies using a virtual environment.

poetry add --group=dev appmap

pipenv is also supported. Like poetry, pipenv installs dependencies in a virtual environment.

pipenv install --dev appmap

To use AppMap in your code editor, you’ll also want to install the corresponding AppMap extension:

Configuration

appmap is configured using a YAML file. By default, appmap looks in the current working directory for a file named appmap.yml.

appmap.yml contains information used to create AppMap Data files. It allows you to specify the application’s name, as well as the modules that should be instrumented.

For each module, add the fully-qualified module name as the value of a path property. These names should be in the format used in an import statement:

  name: my_python_app
  packages:
  - path: app.mod1
    shallow: true
  - path: app.mod2
    exclude:
    - MyClass
    - MyOtherClass.my_instance_method
    - MyOtherClass.my_class_method
  # You can record dependency packages, such as Django.
  # We don't recommend recording Django by default though, your AppMap Diagram will be quite large
  # and mostly about Django itself, not your own code.
  #- dist: Django
  #  exclude:
  #  - django.db

Notes about this example:

  • The application has two modules that will be recorded: app.mod1 and app.mod2. When the python interpreter imports one of those modules (e.g. by evaluating import app.mod1, from app import mod1, from app import *, etc), appmap will instrument the functions in the imported module.

    If the value of a path property cannot be parsed as a module name, appmap will issue an error and exit.

  • An exclude is resolved relative to the associated path. So, for example, this configuration excludes app.mod2.MyClass.

  • An external distribution package can be specified using the dist specifier. The names are looked up in the database of installed Python distributions. This is generally the same package name as you’d give to pip install or put in pyproject.toml. You can additionally use path and exclude on dist entries to limit the capture to specific patterns.

By default, shallow capture is enabled on dist packages, suppressing tracking of most internal execution flow. This allows you to capture the interaction without getting bogged down with detail. To see these details, set shallow: false. You can also use shallow: true on path entries.

Enabling and disabling recording

In the simplest case, AppMap recording can be either “enabled” or “disabled”. When it’s enabled, AppMap data files will be created whenever a supported test case is run, and whenever a web request is served. The remote recording endpoint will also be available. Recording of test cases, requests, and remote recording can be further controlled with additional environment variables. When it’s disabled, no application code will be instrumented, and no AppMap files will be created.

Currently, AppMap is enabled by default. So if your python environment (either global, or in a virtualenv) has the appmap package installed, AppMap will (a) instrument your python code whenever you run a python program, and (b) the enabled behavior described above will be applied.

In the upcoming version 2 of the appmap package, the default behavior will change: AppMap will be disabled by default. To enable AppMap, you can either (a) launch your python program with the new appmap-python launch script, or (b) set the APPMAP environment variable (e.g. export APPMAP=true in Bash, $Env:APPMAP="true" in PowerShell, etc).

appmap-python script

% appmap-python --help
usage: appmap-python [-h] [--record unittest,requests,remote,pytest,process] [--no-record unittest,requests,remote,pytest,process] [--enable-log | --no-enable-log] [command ...]

Enable recording of the provided command, optionally specifying the
type(s) of recording to enable and disable. If a recording type is
specified as both enabled and disabled, it will be enabled.

This command sets the environment variables described here:
https://appmap.io/docs/reference/appmap-python.html#controlling-recording.
For any recording type that is not explicitly specified, the
corresponding environment variable will not be set.

If no command is provided, the computed set of environment variables
will be displayed.

positional arguments:
  command               the command to run (default: display the environment variables)

options:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --record unittest,requests,remote,pytest,process
                        recording types to enable
  --no-record unittest,requests,remote,pytest,process
                        recording types to disable
  --enable-log, --no-enable-log
                        create a log file (default: False)

Test recording

appmap supports recording pytest and unittest test cases.

pytest

appmap is a pytest plugin. When it’s installed in a project that uses pytest, it will be available to generate AppMap Diagrams by default.

root@e9987eaa93c8:/src/appmap/test/data/pytest# pip show appmap
Name: appmap
Version: 0.0.0
Summary: Create AppMap files by recording a Python application.
Home-page: None
Author: Alan Potter
Author-email: alan@app.land
License: None
Location: /usr/local/lib/python3.9/site-packages
Requires: orjson, PyYAML, inflection
Required-by:
root@e9987eaa93c8:/src/appmap/test/data/pytest# APPMAP_LOG_LEVEL=info pytest -svv
[2021-02-10 11:37:59,345] INFO root: appmap enabled: True
[2021-02-10 11:37:59,350] INFO appmap._implementation.configuration: ConfigFilter, includes {'simple'}
[2021-02-10 11:37:59,350] INFO appmap._implementation.configuration: ConfigFilter, excludes set()
===================================================================== test session starts =====================================================================
platform linux -- Python 3.9.1, pytest-6.2.2, py-1.10.0, pluggy-0.13.1 -- /usr/local/bin/python
cachedir: .pytest_cache
rootdir: /src, configfile: pytest.ini
plugins: appmap-0.0.0
collected 1 item

test_simple.py::test_hello_world [2021-02-10 11:37:59,482] INFO appmap.pytest: starting recording /tmp/pytest/test_hello_world.appmap.json
[2021-02-10 11:37:59,484] INFO appmap._implementation.configuration: included class simple.Simple
[2021-02-10 11:37:59,484] INFO appmap._implementation.configuration: included function simple.Simple.hello
[2021-02-10 11:37:59,489] INFO appmap._implementation.configuration: included function simple.Simple.hello_world
[2021-02-10 11:37:59,490] INFO appmap._implementation.configuration: included function simple.Simple.world
[2021-02-10 11:37:59,828] INFO appmap.pytest: wrote recording /tmp/pytest/test_hello_world.appmap.json
PASSED

====================================================================== 1 passed in 0.45s ======================================================================

unittest

A subclass of unittest.TestCase is instrumented automatically, and an AppMap is recorded for each test_* function in the subclass.

Request recording

appmap-python can automatically record and save an AppMap for each HTTP server request. To do this, the AppMap agent hooks into the web server request processing framework. It starts a recording when each new request is received, records the execution thread into an AppMap, and saves in when the request is completed.

Note Your application must be running in a supported web framework for request recording to work.

Remote recording

The AppMap agent supports remote recording of web applications during development. When your application is run with debugging support, remote recording will be enabled automatically.

To enable debugging support, ensure:

  • Django DEBUG = True in settings.py
  • Flask run with the --debug option

Note Your application must be running in a supported web framework for remote recording to work.

Process recording

AppMap can record your entire Python application from start to finish.

To create a process recording, run your application with appmap-python and pass the flag --record process :

$ appmap-python --record process <your application command line>

Alternatively, you can set APPMAP_RECORD_PROCESS=true, as described below.

Code block recording

You can use appmap.record as a context manager to record a specific span of code. With this method, you can control exactly what code is recorded, and where the recording is saved.

Given a source file record_sample.py:

import os
import sys
from datetime import datetime
from pathlib import Path

import appmap

output_directory = Path('tmp/appmap/code')
output_directory.mkdir(parents=True, exist_ok=True)  # Step 2: Ensure the directory exists

timestamp = datetime.now().isoformat(timespec='seconds')
output_file = output_directory / f'{timestamp}.appmap.json'

r = appmap.Recording()
with r:
    import sample
    print(sample.C().hello_world(), file=sys.stderr)

with open(output_file, "w") as f:
    f.write(
        appmap.generation.dump(
            r,
            {
                "name": str(timestamp),
                "recorder": {
                    "type": "code",
                    "name": "code",
                },
            },
        )
    )

and a source file sample.py:

class C:
    def make_str(self, s):
        return s;

    def hello_world(self):
        return f'{self.make_str("Hello")} {self.make_str("world!")}'

as well as appmap.yml:

name: sample
packages:
- path: sample
language: python
appmap_dir: tmp/appmap

you can generate a recording of the code

% appmap-python python record_sample.py
% jq '.events | length' tmp/appmap/codeblock/*.appmap.json
6
% jq < tmp/appmap/codeblock/*.appmap.json | head -10
{
  "version": "1.9",
  "metadata": {
    "language": {
      "name": "python",
      "engine": "CPython",
      "version": "3.10.13"
    },
    "client": {
      "name": "appmap",

Web framework support

appmap-python integrates with the Django, Flask, and FastAPI web frameworks. When an application is started in a development environment, it inserts itself into the application’s request processing stack. This enables recording of requests, as well as support for the AppMap remote recording API.

Django

To start a Django app with AppMap integration enabled, add

DEBUG = True

to your application’s settings.py.

Flask

When flask is invoked with the --debug switch, debugging is enabled, as well as AppMap integration.

FastAPI

The FastAPI integration supports both request recording and remote recording. Request recording is enabled by default. When running during application development, remote recording can also be enabled.

uvicorn

To create remote recordings of a FastAPI application run with uvicorn, use the --reload switch:

$ uvicorn main:app --reload
INFO:     Will watch for changes in these directories: ['/Users/example/fastapiapp']
INFO:     Uvicorn running on http://127.0.0.1:8000 (Press CTRL+C to quit)
INFO:     Started reloader process [57259] using StatReload
INFO:     Started server process [57261]
INFO:     Waiting for application startup.
INFO:     Application startup complete.

Other ASGI servers

To create remote recordings with other ASGI servers, you must modify your application code to add the agent’s middleware. For example:

from fastapi import FastAPI, HTTPException, Request
import appmap.fastapi

app = FastAPI()

@app.get("/")
def root():
    return {"hello":"world"}

app = appmap.fastapi.Middleware(app, remote_enabled=True).init_app()

Remote recordings will be enabled when remote_enabled is True.

Decorators

@appmap.labels

The AppMap Data Format provides for class and function labels, which can be used to enhance the AppMap Diagrams, and to programmatically analyze the data.

You can apply function labels using the appmap.labels decorator in your Python code. To apply a label to a function, decorate the function with @appmap.labels.

For example, to label a function as an authentication provider:

import appmap

class ApiKey
  @appmap.labels('provider.authentication', 'security')
  def authenticate(self, key):
      # logic to verify the key here...

Then the AppMap metadata section for this function will include:

  {
    "name": "authenticate",
    "type": "function",
    "labels": [ "provider.authentication", "security" ]
  }

@appmap.noappmap

The @appmap.noappmap decorator can be used to disable recording of pytest and unittest tests. If applied to a specific function, that function will not generate an AppMap. Alternatively, it can be applied to a test class to disable generation of AppMap Data for all tests in the class.

For example:

import appmap

def test_test1():
    ...

@appmap.noappmap
def test_test2():
    ....

When the tests above are executed, test_test1 will generate an AppMap, but test_test2 will not.

For example, to decorate a test class:

import unitest

import appmap

@appmap.noappmap
class TestNoAppMaps(unittest.TestCase):
    def test_test1(self):
        ...

    def test_test2(self):
        ...

When functions within TestNoAppMaps are executed, no AppMap Data will be generated.

Environment variables

Controlling recording

These variables control the types of recordings generated by the agent. The values of the variables are not case-sensitive.

  • APPMAP controls all instrumentation and recording. When unset, or explicitly set to true, all application code will be instrumented, and the generation of recordings will be controlled by the variables below. When set to false, application code will run as if the AppMap agent was not installed.

Note that, as described above, the default behavior will change in version 2: by default (or if APPMAP is set to false), no code will be instrumented, and no recordings generated.

  • APPMAP_RECORD_<PYTEST|UNITTEST> controls recording generation when test cases are run by pytest or unittest. When unset or set to true, each test case will generate a recording. When set to false, no recordings for individual test cases will be created. For example, to disable recording when using pytest, use APPMAP_RECORD_PYTEST=false:
$ env APPMAP_RECORD_PYTEST=false pytest

or

$ appmap-python --no-record pytest pytest

In version 2, these two variables will be combined into a single variable named APPMAP_RECORD_TESTS, controlling recording for these (and any future) test frameworks.

  • APPMAP_RECORD_REMOTE controls the installation of the AppMap remote recording API. When unset, and run in a development environment (described above), remote recording will be enabled. When set to true, remote recording will always be enabled, regardless of environment. When set to false, remote recording will always be disabled.

Note that enabling remote recording other than in a development environment is a security risk, and appmap will issue a warning if you do so. However, sometimes the behavior of interest only occurs in some other environment. Setting APPMAP_RECORD_REMOTE=true allows this. For example, to enable remote recording for a Flask app started without debug, run:

$ env APPMAP_RECORD_REMOTE=true flask --app main.app

or

$ appmap-python --record remote flask --app main.app
  • APPMAP_RECORD_REQUESTS controls creation of request recordings created when a web framework processes HTTP requests. When unset or true, request recordings will be created, otherwise they will not.

  • APPMAP_RECORD_PROCESS controls recording of the entire python process that loads the agent. When true, recording starts when the agent is loaded. When the process exits, an AppMap will be created.

    Important note: process recording is not compatible with other recording methods. If you start a python process when APPMAP_RECORD_PROCESS is true, other attempts to create a recording will raise a RuntimeError with the message “Recording already in progress”.

    For example, when APPMAP_RECORD_PROCESS is true, trying to start a request recording will raise this error. To avoid this, you should disable request recording. For example:

    $ appmap-python --record process --no-record requests flask --app main.app
    

    In addition, using code block recording, running tests, or starting a remote recording, will all raise this error and should not be attempted.

Other configuration

These environment variables can be used to control various aspects of the AppMap agent.

  • APPMAP_CONFIG specifies the configuration file to use. Defaults to appmap.yml in the current directory.

  • APPMAP_LOG_LEVEL specifies log level to use, from the set CRITICAL, ERROR, WARNING, INFO, DEBUG. Not case-sensitive, defaults to INFO.

  • APPMAP_DISPLAY_PARAMS enables rendering of parameters as strings. If true (the default, not case-sensitive), parameters are rendered using repr. If false, a generic string is used instead.

  • APPMAP_DISABLE_LOG_FILE controls the automatic creation of a log file by the AppMap agent. If not true (the default), a log file will be created.

GitHub repository

https://github.com/getappmap/appmap-python


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