Display data streamed from a Flask view as it updates

I have a view that generates data and streams it in real time. I can’t figure out how to send this data to a variable that I can use in my HTML template. My current solution just outputs the data to a blank page as it arrives, which works, but I want to include it in a larger page with formatting. How do I update, format, and display the data as it is streamed to the page?

import flask
import time, math

app = flask.Flask(__name__)

@app.route("https://stackoverflow.com/")
def index():
    def inner():
        # simulate a long process to watch
        for i in range(500):
            j = math.sqrt(i)
            time.sleep(1)
            # this value should be inserted into an HTML template
            yield str(i) + '<br/>\n'
    return flask.Response(inner(), mimetype="text/html")

app.run(debug=True)

You can stream data in a response, but you can’t dynamically update a template the way you describe. The template is rendered once on the server side, then sent to the client.

One solution is to use JavaScript to read the streamed response and output the data on the client side. Use XMLHttpRequest to make a request to the endpoint that will stream the data. Then periodically read from the stream until it’s done.

This introduces complexity, but allows updating the page directly and gives complete control over what the output looks like. The following example demonstrates that by displaying both the current value and the log of all values.

This example assumes a very simple message format: a single line of data, followed by a newline. This can be as complex as needed, as long as there’s a way to identify each message. For example, each loop could return a JSON object which the client decodes.

from math import sqrt
from time import sleep
from flask import Flask, render_template

app = Flask(__name__)

@app.route("/")
def index():
    return render_template("index.html")

@app.route("/stream")
def stream():
    def generate():
        for i in range(500):
            yield "{}\n".format(sqrt(i))
            sleep(1)

    return app.response_class(generate(), mimetype="text/plain")
<p>This is the latest output: <span id="latest"></span></p>
<p>This is all the output:</p>
<ul id="output"></ul>
<script>
    var latest = document.getElementById('latest');
    var output = document.getElementById('output');

    var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();
    xhr.open('GET', '{{ url_for('stream') }}');
    xhr.send();
    var position = 0;

    function handleNewData() {
        // the response text include the entire response so far
        // split the messages, then take the messages that haven't been handled yet
        // position tracks how many messages have been handled
        // messages end with a newline, so split will always show one extra empty message at the end
        var messages = xhr.responseText.split('\n');
        messages.slice(position, -1).forEach(function(value) {
            latest.textContent = value;  // update the latest value in place
            // build and append a new item to a list to log all output
            var item = document.createElement('li');
            item.textContent = value;
            output.appendChild(item);
        });
        position = messages.length - 1;
    }

    var timer;
    timer = setInterval(function() {
        // check the response for new data
        handleNewData();
        // stop checking once the response has ended
        if (xhr.readyState == XMLHttpRequest.DONE) {
            clearInterval(timer);
            latest.textContent="Done";
        }
    }, 1000);
</script>

An <iframe> can be used to display streamed HTML output, but it has some downsides. The frame is a separate document, which increases resource usage. Since it’s only displaying the streamed data, it might not be easy to style it like the rest of the page. It can only append data, so long output will render below the visible scroll area. It can’t modify other parts of the page in response to each event.

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index.html renders the page with a frame pointed at the stream endpoint. The frame has fairly small default dimensions, so you may want to to style it further. Use render_template_string, which knows to escape variables, to render the HTML for each item (or use render_template with a more complex template file). An initial line can be yielded to load CSS in the frame first.

from flask import render_template_string, stream_with_context

@app.route("/stream")
def stream():
    @stream_with_context
    def generate():
        yield render_template_string('<link rel=stylesheet href="{{ url_for("static", filename="stream.css") }}">')

        for i in range(500):
            yield render_template_string("<p>{{ i }}: {{ s }}</p>\n", i=i, s=sqrt(i))
            sleep(1)

    return app.response_class(generate())
<p>This is all the output:</p>
<iframe src="{{ url_for("stream") }}"></iframe>

5 years late, but this actually can be done the way you were initially trying to do it, javascript is totally unnecessary (Edit: the author of the accepted answer added the iframe section after I wrote this). You just have to include embed the output as an <iframe>:

from flask import Flask, render_template, Response
import time, math

app = Flask(__name__)

@app.route('/content')
def content():
    """
    Render the content a url different from index
    """
    def inner():
        # simulate a long process to watch
        for i in range(500):
            j = math.sqrt(i)
            time.sleep(1)
            # this value should be inserted into an HTML template
            yield str(i) + '<br/>\n'
    return Response(inner(), mimetype="text/html")


@app.route("https://stackoverflow.com/")
def index():
    """
    Render a template at the index. The content will be embedded in this template
    """
    return render_template('index.html.jinja')

app.run(debug=True)

Then the ‘index.html.jinja’ file will include an <iframe> with the content url as the src, which would something like:

<!doctype html>
<head>
    <title>Title</title>
</head>
<body>
    <div>
        <iframe frameborder="0" 
                onresize="noresize"
                style="background: transparent; width: 100%; height:100%;" 
                src="{{ url_for('content')}}">
        </iframe>
    </div>
</body>


When rendering user-provided data render_template_string() should be used to render the content to avoid injection attacks. However, I left this out of the example because it adds additional complexity, is outside the scope of the question, isn’t relevant to the OP since he isn’t streaming user-provided data, and won’t be relevant for the vast majority of people seeing this post since streaming user-provided data is a far edge case that few if any people will ever have to do.

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Originally I had a similar problem to the one posted here where a model is being trained and the update should be stationary and formatted in Html. The following answer is for future reference or people trying to solve the same problem and need inspiration.

A good solution to achieve this is to use an EventSource in Javascript, as described here. This listener can be started using a context variable, such as from a form or other source. The listener is stopped by sending a stop command. A sleep command is used for visualization without doing any real work in this example. Lastly, Html formatting can be achieved using Javascript DOM-Manipulation.

Flask Application

import flask
import time

app = flask.Flask(__name__)

@app.route('/learn')
def learn():
    def update():
        yield 'data: Prepare for learning\n\n'
        # Preapre model
        time.sleep(1.0)

        for i in range(1, 101):
            # Perform update
            time.sleep(0.1)
            yield f'data: {i}%\n\n'

        yield 'data: close\n\n'

    return flask.Response(update(), mimetype="text/event-stream")


@app.route("https://stackoverflow.com/", methods=['GET', 'POST'])
def index():
    train_model = False

    if flask.request.method == 'POST':
        if 'train_model' in list(flask.request.form):
            train_model = True

    return flask.render_template('index.html', train_model=train_model)

app.run(threaded=True)

HTML Template

<form action="/" method="post">
    <input name="train_model" type="submit" value="Train Model" />
</form>

<p id="learn_output"></p>

{% if train_model %}
<script>
    var target_output = document.getElementById("learn_output");
    var learn_update = new EventSource("/learn");

    learn_update.onmessage = function (e) {
        if (e.data == "close") {
            learn_update.close();
        } else {
            target_output.innerHTML = "Status: " + e.data;
        }
    };
</script>
{% endif %}


The answers/resolutions are collected from stackoverflow, are licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0 .

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