Using P2PD from Python

Before we get started all Python examples assume:

  1. The ‘selector’ event loop is being used.

  2. The ‘spawn’ method is used as the multiprocessing start method.

  3. You are familiar with how to run asynchronous code.

  4. The string encoding is “UTF-8.”

This keeps the code consistent across platforms. The package sets these by default so if your application is using a different configuration it may not work properly with P2PD.

Let’s start with how to connect to another peer.

The code has two functions that simulate what two different computers might run (computer_a and computer_b.) They both need to know each others ‘names’ and addressing information is shared over PDNS (a simple API provided by a PHP script that implements a key-value store.)

import uuid
from p2pd import *

PDNS_NAME = str(uuid.uuid4())

# Put your custom protocol code here.
async def msg_cb(msg, client_tup, pipe):
    # E.G. add a ping feature to your protocol.
    if b"PING" in msg:
        await pipe.send(b"PONG")

# Computer a and b code can run on different
# computers -- for demo they're just on the same.
async def computer_a():
    # Start our main node server.
    # The node implements your protocol.
    node = await start_p2p_node(
        # Set to true for port forwarding + pin holes.
        # Make sure node server uses different port.
        port=NODE_PORT + 50 + 1
    # Register a human readable name for this peer.
    # NOTE: for demo only -- use your own unique name!
    await node.register(PDNS_NAME)
    return node

async def computer_b():
    # Start our main node server.
    # The node implements your protocol.
    node = await start_p2p_node(
        # Set to true for port forwarding + pin holes.
        # Make sure node server uses different port
        # to computer_a.
        port=NODE_PORT + 50 + 2
    # Location of computer a's p2p address.
    pdns = PDNS(PDNS_NAME)
    # Spawn a new pipe from a P2P con.
    # Connect to their node server.
    pipe, success_type = await node.connect(pdns)
    # Test send / receive.
    msg = b"test send"
    await pipe.send(b"ECHO " + msg)
    out = await pipe.recv()
    # Cleanup.
    assert(msg in out)
    await pipe.close()
    return node
# Warning: startup is slow - be patient.
async def example():
    (1) Computer A starts a node server and uses 'pseudo dns'
    to store its address at a given name.
    node_a = await computer_a()
    (2) Computer B starts a node server and uses 'pseudo dns'
    to lookup the p2p address of computer a to connect to it.
    node_b = await computer_b()
    # Cleanup / shut down node servers.
    await node_a.close()
    await node_b.close()

# Run the coroutine.
# Or await example() if in async REPL.
if __name__ == '__main__':

You can use this library as a black box if you want. The code handles loading network interfaces, enumerating routers, bypassing NATs, and establishing connections. But even more is possible.

It can be used as a way to do network programming in general. Whether you want to write multi-protocol, multi-address clients or servers. Using P2PD makes this simple. And it supports either using async or sync callbacks or a pull / push style API. Something like the Python equivalent of ‘protocol classes’ versus ‘stream reader / writers’ but with more control.

If you were to use Python by itself for network programming you would likely
have to implement some of these features:
  • IPv6-specific socket bind code
    • Link-local address logic

    • Global-address logic

    • Platform-specific logic

  • Interface-specific connection addresses
    • Different for IPv6 link local addresses

    • Different for IPv6 global addresses

  • Interface support (in general)

  • External address support

  • Whether to use ‘protocol’ classes or ‘streams’
    • Protocols = events; streams = async push and pull.

    • Python doesn’t have an async push and pull API for UDP at all because Guido van Rossum thought it was a bad idea. I don’t agree. P2PD can do async awaits on UDP. Or it can do event-based programming like the protocol class.

  • Message filtering (useful for UDP protocols)

  • Multiplexing-specific logic for UDP

  • Some very smart hacks to reuse message handling code
    • Python has radically different approaches for TCP cons and servers.

    • While it does not provide the same methods for UDP.

    • I’ve created software that provides the same API features whether its a server or connection; TCP or UDP; IPv4 or IPv6

Fortunately I’ve done this already!
The next topics teach you more about network programming with P2PD.