The goal of the Python MySql assignment is to add database support to our program. Here are the major steps invovled:

  • Set up Apache Python CGI scripts
  • Set up MySQL database and table
  • Use a python script to insert data in the database
  • Access the data from one of your MakeHtml markdown files

Some notes

CGI files are server (for now), from:

  • /usr/lib/cgi-bin

They will be owned by root, so be prepared to use sudo as needed.

You will not need them, but the configuration files for Apache are here:

  • /etc/apache2

Step One

Check to ensure Lamp and MySQL are installed. You know how to do this already. If they are not installed, then install them.

Check the status of Apache CGI. Specifically, you will probably need to turn on CGI in order to access python server side scripts from your HTML code:

sudo a2enmod cgi

This command will return one of two values:

  1. Enabling module cgi
  2. Module cgi already enabled

If you get the first response, then do this:

service apache2 restart

On EC2, I needed to use sudo:

sudo service apache2 restart

Once CGI is enabled, then it should stay enabled. You normally don’t need to repeat this operation.

Install pip3 and pymysql. We will want these to access MySQL from a Python script:

sudo apt-get install python3-pip
sudo pip3 install pymysql

If you get a long error message about ownership try this instead:

sudo -H pip3 install pymysql

And this might be useful later:

sudo python3 -m pip install pymongo

Again, you need only install pip and pymsql once. Once they are installed, they should stay installed.

Step Two

Create a simple test script to make sure Python CGI is working.

Create a simple python test script in /usr/lig/cgi-bin. Open a blank file called simple.py in the cgi directory with the nano editor.

sudo nano /usr/lib/cgi-bin/simple.py

Files with a .py are python scripts.

Paste this python script into the editor:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import cgi
import cgitb
cgitb.enable()  # debug

print("Content-type: text/html;charset=utf-8")


<head><title>Prog270 CGI Script</title></head>


  <h1> This is the Header </h1>



Set executable permissions on the script:

sudo chmod 755 /usr/lib/cgi-bin/simple.py

Test the script by going to this url:


Start my SQL. You will prompted for the password you entered when you installed lamp:

mysql -u root -p

If you lost your password see the first link below. The second is an FYI:

Once you have loaded the mysql client, create a database called prog270:

create database prog270;
use prog270;

More info is found here:

Create a simple table:

create table presidents (id int NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT, first varchar(128), last varchar(128), PRIMARY KEY (id));

Insert some data in the table:

insert into presidents (first, last) values ('George', 'Washington');
insert into presidents (first, last) values ('John', 'Adams');
insert into presidents (first, last) values ('Thomas', 'Jefferson');

Make sure that life is good:

select * from presidents;
mysql> select * from presidents;
| id | first  | last       |
|  1 | George | Washington |
|  2 | John   | Adams      |
|  3 | Thomas | Jefferson  |
3 rows in set (0.00 sec)

Type the following to exit mysql:


Python Script

Put this in ‘/usr/lib/cgi-bin’ as get-presidents.py:

#! /usr/bin/python3

import cgitb

import pymysql
import json

print("Content-Type: text/json")

conn = pymysql.connect(host='localhost', user='root', passwd='foobar', db='prog270')

cursor = conn.cursor()

cursor.execute("SELECT * FROM presidents")

rows = cursor.fetchall()



After you paste in the file, you will probably need to change the password in the pymysql.connect statement.

You might want to use this command:

sudo nano /usr/lib/cgi-bin/get-presidents.py

When you are done:

sudo chmod 755 /usr/lib/cgi-bin/get-presidents.py


At one point, I found that my script worked at the command line, but not in the browser. In particular, I got an error with import pymsql. It turned out that I had installed pymysql without sudo, so it ended up in my home directory. To fix this, you may need to uninstall from your home directory and reinstall as sudo:

sudo pip3 uninstall pymysql
sudo -H pip3 install pymysql

Check to see what packages are installed for a particular version of Python:

$ ls /usr/local/lib/python3.5/dist-packages/
pip  pip-8.1.2.dist-info  pymysql  PyMySQL-0.7.9.dist-info

Show Data

Paste some HTML into a markdown file called AllTest/presidents.md:

  <button class="btn btn-primary" id="getPresidents" type="button"> Get Presidents </button>

  <ul id='bar'>

Open up /var/www/html/js/elven-help.js and edit it until you get something like the following:

$(document).ready(function() {
	$('table').addClass('table table-striped table-hover');


	function getPresidents() {
		$.getJSON('/cgi-bin/get-presidents.py', function(presidents) {
			presidents.forEach(function(president) {
				$('#bar').append('<li>' + president[1] + ' ' + president[2] + '</li>');

Click the button to see the names of the first three presidents. The button click sends a command to the server which queries the database and sends data back in JSON format.

Turn it in

Copy any new markdown, including presidents.md into your repository. It should end up in your prog270-lastname-2016/AllTest directory.

Copy the updated elven-help.js file and any other updated files into your prog270-lastname-2016/ApacheHelpers directory or subdirectories.

NOTE: You should be using the scripts from ApacheHtml assignment to aid with this process.

Push your repository. Switch to EC2, pull your repository, copy the new files out to ~/Documents/AllTest and /var/www/html or their subdirectories, as appropriate.

On EC2, complete the steps found above in the MYSQL section.

Run MakeHtml. Take screenshots of your page running both on localhost and on EC2. Put them in our shared Google Drive folder in a folder called PythonMySQlJson.

On the text page of Canvas, include live links to your page on EC2 and to your new Google Drive folder. Don’t put the links in a comment. I want to be able to click them and be taken directly to your work.

Optional Setup cgi dir

This seems to be working for me now. The goal is to use /var/www/cgi as your CGI directory in addition to /usr/lib/cgi-bin.

Make sure the CGI directory exists:

cd /var/www
sudo mkdir cgi
sudo chown -R bcuser:bcuser cgi

Create a simple python test script in /var/www/cgi. Open a blank file called simple.py in the cgi directory. Files with a .py are python scripts.

cd /var/www/cgi
nano simple.py

Now edit serve-cgi-bin.conf:

cd /etc/apache2/conf-available
sudo nano serve-cgi-bin.conf

Near the end add the following:

        ScriptAlias /cgi/ /var/www/cgi/
        <Directory "/var/www/cgi">
                AllowOverride None
                Options +ExecCGI -MultiViews +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
                Require all granted

It might be simplest if I just give you my entire file:

<IfModule mod_alias.c>
	<IfModule mod_cgi.c>

	<IfModule mod_cgid.c>

		ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /usr/lib/cgi-bin/
		<Directory "/usr/lib/cgi-bin">
			AllowOverride None
			Options +ExecCGI -MultiViews +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
			Require all granted
    ScriptAlias /cgi/ /var/www/cgi/
    <Directory "/var/www/cgi">
      AllowOverride None
      Options +ExecCGI -MultiViews +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
      Require all granted