My collection of fixes for WebSphere Jython scripting part 1 – os.environ, os.system, os.path.expandvars, …

I’ve been doing a lot of Jython scripting lately for IBM WebSphere v6.1. Jython is a wonderful scripting language but the implementation that ships with WebSphere (even WebSphere v7.0) is Jython 2.1 which is almost a decade old. Mostly that means you need to watch those version compatibility notes when browsing the official Python documentation.

One thing I’ve run across that seems unnecessary is that several of the “os” functions fail on newer Windows systems. Try os.environ[‘windir’] for example.  This goes back to the old Jython version that predates Windows 2003 and Vista. IBM chose to document this limitation: in the WebSphere v7.0 InfoCenter rather than fix it.

I decided to take a look and it really isn’t hard to fix. The problem is in a table in javaos.py:

    _osTypeMap = (
        ( "nt", r"(nt)|(Windows NT)|(Windows NT 4.0)|(WindowsNT)|"
                r"(Windows 2000)|(Windows XP)|(Windows CE)" ),
        ( "dos", r"(dos)|(Windows 95)|(Windows 98)|(Windows ME)" ),
        ( "mac", r"(mac)|(MacOS.*)|(Darwin)" ),
        ( "None", r"(None)" ),
        ( "posix", r"(.*)" ), # default - posix seems to vary mast widely
        )

It would have been so easy for me to go and edit the file but clients tend to frown things like patching the official distribution. I wanted something I could just import. Here’s what I ended up with:

import java, sys

try:
    import javaos
    if javaos._osType == 'posix' and \
            java.lang.System.getProperty('os.name').startswith('Windows'):
        sys.registry.setProperty('python.os', 'nt')
        reload(javaos)
except:
    pass

Admittedly, this depends on the details of the current implementation but I consider that reasonable in this case given that it’s a hack that only applies to the current implementation. I chose to catch and ignore all exceptions so this fix won’t end up breaking a script should the implementation change in the future. Presumably when that happens this fix won’t be needed anymore anyway.

I’ve placed this fix along with others I’ll be writing about later in a file called ibmfixes.py. I include it in every script I write, or at least every script that might run into these issues, and I no longer have to give them any thought. Solve the problem and move on.

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