Migrate a Zope ZODB Data.fs to Python 3

TL;DR Use zodbupdate.

Problem

A ZODB Data.fs which was created under Python 2 cannot be opened under Python 3. This is prevented by using a different magic code in the first bytes of the file. This is done on purpose because str has a different meaning for the two Python versions: Under Python 2 a str is a container for characters with an arbitrary encoding (aka bytes​). Python 3 knows str as a text datatype which was called unicode in Python 2. Trying to load a str object in Python 3 which actually contains binary data will fail. It has to be bytes, but bytes is an alias for str  in Python 2 which means Python 2 replaces bytes  with str making is impossible to give Python 3 the class it expects for binary data. A Python 2 str  with an arbitrary encoding will break, too.

Solution

The Data.fs has to be migrated: each str  which actually contains bytes has to be converted into a zodbpickle.binary object which deserialises as bytes under Python 3. The str objects actually containing text have to be decoded to unicode. There are currently two tools which claim that they are able to do such a migration:

  • zodb.py3migrate was already written at Berlin Strategic sprint in 2016, but it was never able to prove that it can do what it claims: At the time when it was written there was no Zope which could run on Python 3. Now as we have Zope 4 running on Python 3 it does not seem to do its conversion job quite well: I was able to migrate a toy database but had to catch an unpickling error.
  • zodbupdate was enriched by a Python 3 migration. A big thank you to Sylvain Viollon and the developers at Minddistrict! It has proven its claims! At the Zope 4 welcome sprint I was able to migrate a Data.fs created on Zope 2.13 running on Python 2 to Zope 4 running on Python 3.

Steps

  1. Migrate your Zope application to Zope 4. (zodbupdate  requires at least ZODB 4 which is not the default ZODB version of Zope 2.13) — For my toy database containing only a file object and an image this was no problem. Zope 4  is starting with such a database. It might show some broken objects because Zope no longer depends on some previous core packages like Products.Sessions. If your application needs those packages you should add them to your Zope environment.
  2. ​zodbupdate has to be installed into the Zope 4 environment so it can access the Python classes. (It has to read the pickles in the ZODB.)
  3. There needs to be an entry_point in setup.py for each package which contains persistent Python classes. The entry point has to be named "zodbupdate.decode" and needs to point to a dictionary mapping paths to  str attributes to a conversion (bytes resp. a specific encoding). For Details see the migration documentation of zodbupdate. I prepared a branch of Zope 4 which contains this configuration dictionary for OFS.Image and OFS.File, see zopefoundation/Zope#285.
  4. Run zodbupdate --pack --convert-py3 on the Data.fs using Python 2.
  5. Copy the Data.fs over to the Zope 4 instance running on Python 3. Data.fs.index will be discarded at the first start. (There is an error message telling that it cannot be read.)
  6. Enjoy the contents of the Data.fs running on Python 3.

Conclusion

It is possible (proven for a toy database) to migrate a Data.fs from Zope 2.13  (Python 2) to Zope 4 (Python 3).

zodbupdate is the way to go. Although it cannot do the migration completely autonomously the developers of Python packages can provide migration configuration in their packages which can be used in the migration step so the configuration has only to be written once.

zodb.py3migrate has an analysis step which shows the attribute names where the str objects are stored. (This could be added to zodbupdate, so do not expect that there will be two tools trying to achieve the same goal.)

mdtools.relstorage contains a relstorage variant of zodbupdate which claims to be much faster on relstorage as it can leverage parallelism.

Open issues

The pull request containing the migration strategy (zopefoundation/Zope#285) has to be extended for the other persistent classes in Zope. There have to be alike changes in all packages providing persistent classes.

Zope is welcome in the Python 3 wonderland!

Earl Zope already got the beta permission to stay in the Python 3 wonderland some months ago. His current objective is to help old friends to come to the Python 3 wonderland and to make new friends. He has to build trust in his will and ability to stay in the Python 3 wonderland.

The Zope-4-Welcome sprint last week was a great opportunity to work towards the final permission for Earl Zope. We were a group of 15 developers from different companies and backgrounds building applications on Zope in various ways.

We accomplished the following goals:

  • There are some old friends of Earl Zope. He thought that he no longer needs them in the Python 3 wonderland but other applications built on Zope need them, so they were pushed towards the new land:
  • Knight RestrictedPython got some love and a new beta release.
  • Earl Zope could help an old friend (a custom Zope 2.13 application) to get prepared to move to the new land.
  • Duchess CMFCore got a beta permission for the Python 3 wonderland including her beloved siblings:
  • Prince Plone is not yet ready to live in the Python 3 wonderland but he is already a welcome guest. It is only a matter of time before he will get an alpha permission:
    • The instance starts and many actions in the UI work pretty well.
    • The test story was brought some steps further so it is possible to start testing Plone under Python 3.
    • Details are described in a Blog post of Philip Bauer.
  • The migration of a toy Data.fs was tested and successfully completed. (Details will follow in another blog post.) The Migration took the following steps:
    • from Zope 2.13 on Python 2.7
    • via Zope 4 on Python 2.7
    • to Zope 4 on Python 3.6
  • The ZMI of Earl Zope got a facelift (Zope#249) which is not complete yet but looks promising.
  • And last but not least Earl Zope himself got the 5th extension of his beta permission: Zope 4.0b5.

Earl Zope says a hearty thank you to all who where involved in this sprint in Halle or remote by coding or providing the resources and time to code.

Welcome in the Python 3 wonderland!

A heartily welcome for Zope in the Python 3 wonderland

Once upon the time there was Earl Zope II. A wise guy was telling him that his world will come to an end. He found out that this was true that he had only some years to prepare to immigrate to the Python 3 wonderland.

His preparation was successful: He got past the strict immigration check and has now a beta permission to stay in the Python 3 wonderland. Earl Zope really likes his new home, but he is missing some friends. Most of them are still at the border of Python 3 wonderland and have to go through the immigration process. Earl Zope would be pleased to offer the same service to his friends as in the old Python 2 land.

To get the final permission to stay in Python 3 wonderland Earl Zope needs to build up trust in his abilities and his stability by other inhabitants and old friends. Therefore, he has to show, that he can work with old and new friends in the Python 3 wonderland.

Zope 4 Welcome sprint – 16th until 18th May 2018

Earl Zope invites you to join a sprint with some helpful people to welcome Zope 4 and his friends in Python 3 wonderland. This means: Bring in your Zope 2 based application and we look together how to port it to Zope 4 or even Python 3. That’s why we call the sprint “Zope 4 Welcome sprint”. You can also help by posting issues or even pull requests about your migration attempts.

Additionally we look forward to work on an improved version of the ZMI (Zope Management Interface) and to fix some bugs preventing Earl Zope from getting the final permission.

The sprint will be located in Halle (Saale), Germany. We meet there from Wednesday, 16th till Friday, 18th of May 2018. Please join us via Meetup even if you are planning to work from remote. You will find more detailed and updated information about the sprint there, too.