XML-RPC server

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PyMOL includes a built-in XML-RPC server which can be started from the command line (modules/pymol/rpc.py in the source code). This allows remote programs (not necessarily on the same computer) to connect and call functions in the running PyMOL instance. Starting the server is simple:

pymol -R

Access to the XML-RPC server is independent of PyMOL itself, so the client could be run from any Python program, not necessarily on the same computer. The simple example below shows how the client code might be written.

from xmlrpclib import ServerProxy
pymol = ServerProxy(uri="http://localhost:9123/RPC2")
pymol.load("model.pdb")

A more advanced server

The main limitation of the built-in XML-RPC extension is that it requires all functions to be explicitly wrapped to be accessible via XML-RPC calls, which limits the flexibility. (It also appears to limit what custom methods can be wrapped.) An alternate design shown below will enable any method in the 'cmd' module to be called remotely, as well as custom methods of the "pymol_interface" class (several examples of which are shown below). Other modules (such as util) could be wrapped using the same trick.

from pymol import cmd, util
from threading import Thread
from SimpleXMLRPCServer import SimpleXMLRPCServer
import cPickle
import os
import re
import string
 
def pymol_startup () :
  print "Loading PyMOL XML-RPC extensions"
  server = pymol_interface()
 
class pymol_xmlrpc_server (SimpleXMLRPCServer) :
  def __init__ (self, addr, interface) :
    self.interface = interface
    SimpleXMLRPCServer.__init__(self, addr, logRequests=0)
 
  def _dispatch (self, method, params) :
    if not self.interface.enable_xmlrpc :
      return -1
    result = -1
    func = None
    if hasattr(self.interface, method) :
      func = getattr(self.interface, method)
    elif hasattr(cmd, method) :
      func = getattr(cmd, method)
    if not callable(func) :
      print "%s is not a callable object" % method
    else :
      result = func(*params)
      if result is None :
        result = -1
    return result
 
class pymol_interface (object) :
  def __init__ (self) :
    self.enable_xmlrpc = True
    # the port can be set via an environment variable - although it could just as easily be passed to __init__
    port = string.atoi(os.environ.get("PYMOL_XMLRPC_PORT", "9123"))
    self._server = pymol_xmlrpc_server(("localhost", port), self)
    t = threading.Thread(target=self._server.serve_forever)
    t.setDaemon(1)
    t.start()
    print "Started XML-RPC server on port %d" % port
 
  def close_all (self) :
    cmd.delete("*")
 
  def disable_all (self) :
    cmd.disable("*")
 
  def load_current_model_and_maps (self,
      pdb_file,
      fwt_map,
      delfwt_map) :
    model_name = os.path.basename(os.path.splitext(pdb_file)[0])
    cmd.load(pdb_file, model_name, state=1)
    cmd.load(fwt_map, "2fofc", state=1, format="ccp4")
    cmd.load(delfwt_map, "fofc", state=1, format="ccp4")
    cmd.isomesh("m1", "2fofc", 1.0, model_name, 5.0)
    cmd.isomesh("m2", "fofc", 3.0, model_name, 5.0)
    cmd.isomesh("m3", "fofc", -3.0, model_name, 5.0)
    cmd.color("marine", "m1")
    cmd.color("green", "m2")
    cmd.color("red", "m3")
 
  def setup_roving (self, f_map="2fofc", diff_map="fofc") :
    cmd.set("roving_detail", 20)
    cmd.set("roving_isomesh", 20)
    cmd.set("roving_origin", 1)
    cmd.set("roving_sticks", 0)
    cmd.set("roving_ribbon", 0)
    cmd.set("roving_lines", 0)
    cmd.set("roving_spheres", 0)
    cmd.set("roving_nb_spheres", 0)
    cmd.set("roving_polar_contacts", 0)
    cmd.set("roving_polar_cutoff", 0)
    cmd.set("stick_radius", 0.12)
    cmd.set("roving_map1_name", f_map)
    cmd.set("roving_map1_level", 1)
    cmd.set("roving_map2_name", diff_map)
    cmd.set("roving_map3_name", diff_map)
    cmd.set("roving_map2_level", 3)
    cmd.set("roving_map3_level", -3)
    cmd.refresh()
 
  def refresh_maps (self, f_map="2fofc", diff_map="fofc") :
    cmd.isomesh("rov_m1", f_map, 1.0, "center", 20)
    cmd.isomesh("rov_m2", diff_map, 3.0, "center", 20)
    cmd.isomesh("rov_m3", diff_map, -3.0, "center", 20)
    cmd.color("skyblue", "rov_m1")
    cmd.color("green", "rov_m2")
    cmd.color("red", "rov_m3")
 
  def show_selection (self, selection_string, zoom=True): #"True") :
    cmd.hide("sticks")
    util.cbay()
    try :
      cmd.show("sticks", selection_string)
    except Exception, e :
      return "Invalid selection."
    cmd.color("white", selection_string)
    if zoom :
      cmd.zoom(selection_string, buffer=5)
 
  def recenter (self, x, y, z) :
    view = list(cmd.get_view())
    view[12] = x
    view[13] = y
    view[14] = z
    cmd.set_view(view)
 
if __name__ == "pymol" : # optional, if the module will be a command line argument to pymol
  pymol_startup()

The corresponding client code is shown below; not surprisingly, it is very simple to the example above. Because of the use of getattr() to retrieve methods in the 'cmd' API, we do not need to explicitly wrap cmd.load(), cmd.show(), or cmd.hide() for this code to work, and any other method in 'cmd' can be similarly accessed, as well as our custom methods.

from xmlrpclib import ServerProxy
pymol = ServerProxy(uri="http://localhost:9123/RPC2")
pymol.load("model.pdb")
pymol.show("cartoon")
pymol.hide("lines")
pymol.load_current_model_and_maps("refined.pdb", "2mFo-DFc.ccp4", "mFo-DFc.ccp4")
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