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Python module for loading config from files and env variables to class

Project description


Hierarchical config loader from files and env variables to class.

This module takes care of loading configuration files, secret files and environment variables to single configuration class without a hassle!


  • easy to use (just one function!) and configure
  • comes with sane defaults
  • logical hierarchical order of importance
  • supports infinite number of file formats via custom format loaders
  • automatic lookup of config and secret files in specified directories


  • all keys are case-insensitive


pip install cklass


All you have to do is to create a class and call function cklass.load_config() with it as an argument.

Case Sensitivity

Class name (and nested classes which represent dictionaries) have to be upper-cased or title-cased, eg. Config or CONFIG will work, but config won't.

All variables that you want to search and match have to be upper-cased. This also means that all keys are not case sensitive.

For example:

# config.yaml
login:    'this will be ignored'
password: 'this will be ignored'

    logIN: 'pi'
    paSSwoRD: 'raspberry'
# secret.yaml
    # this will overwrite `logIN` and `pasSSwoRD` from above
    login: 'root' 
    password: 'yrrebpsar'
# env variable
EXPORT USER__PASSWORD='mytopsecretpassword'
# python
import cklass 

class User:
    LOGIN = 'this string will be overwritten'
    password = 'this will NOT be overwritten'
    Password = 'this will NOT be overwritten'
    PASSWORD = 'default password, will be overwritten'

    other_variable_kinda_like_private = 42



Every class-level keys have to be nested in top-level dictionary named same as the class. Only class attributes will be overwritten, there is no possibility to add new attributes only by defining them in configuration files.

Each class loaded by cklass.load_config() will have it's attributes overwritten according to order specified below:

  1. All values defined in class code are considered as default
  2. Function will look for first config file with filename defined in _config_filename and found in _config_filepath list of dirs will be taken into account and overwrite the values set in (1).
  3. Function will look for first secret file with filename defined in _secret_filename and found in _secret_filepath list of dirs will be taken into account and overwrite the values set in (1) and (2).
  4. Function will look for matching environment variables of type str with optional prefix defined in _environ_prefix and overwrite the values set in (1), (2) and (3).
# python
import cklass

# any name will work
class Config:

    PATH_TO_SOMETHING = '/etc/default/path/'

    class User:
        NAME  = ''
        EMAIL = ''
        PASS  = ''

    DEBUG = False

    class SERVER:
      OPEN_PORTS = ['80']

    SECRET_KEY = ''

    _type_safe = True
    _environ_prefix = 'MYAPP'
    _config_filename = 'config.yaml'
    _secret_filename = 'secret.json'
    _config_filepath = ['/etc/myapp/conf/']
    _secret_filepath = ['.']
    _format_loaders  = {
        'json': ['jsonlib',  'read'],
        'yaml': ['metayaml', 'read'],

# config.yaml
    path-to-something: /etc/app/
    debug: True

        - '22'
        - '80'
        - '443'
# secret.yaml
        name: Your Secret Name
export MYAPP__CONFIG__SECRET_KEY="supersecretkey"
export MYAPP__CONFIG__USER__PASS="secretpassword"

Default Values

Every class passed to cklass.load_config() can define below variables with appropriate type for some manipulating it's behaviour.

All values specified below are considered as default. Any of these variables can be omitted.

Type Safety
_type_safe = True

This will compare and ensure that all keys overwritten in config/secret file have the same type as the variables defined in class except None. If set to False this check will be skipped. Example:
Config.VALIDATE_ME = True will match only bool type from config file.
Config.DOESNT_MATTER = None will match any type from config file and environment variable CONFIG__DOESNT_MATTER.

Environment Prefix
_environ_prefix = ''

This allows you to define custom environment variable prefix to act as a namespace. You could for example set this to 'MYAPP' which would cause to look up only environment variables starting with such prefix, like MYAPP__CONFIG__HOME_DIR. Class and nesting is defined with two underscores __, hence key names may contain only single underscores - eg. CORRECT_NAME, INCORRECT___NAME.

Environment variables support three types: bool converted from string TRUE / FALSE, numbers converted from string with numbers and string if two previous conversions failed.

Config / Secret File Names
_config_filename = 'config.yaml'
_secret_filename = 'secret.yaml'

File name of the config. Extension has to match the defined one in _format_loaders.

Config / Secret File Paths
_config_filepath = ['.']
_secret_filepath = ['.']

List of paths where function will look for _config__filename and _secret_filename. For example, You could change it to ['~', '.'] which would cause the function to search for config.yaml in $HOME/config.yaml and then in $PWD/config.yaml. Only the first file which will be successfully opened will be taken into account.

Format Loaders
_format_loaders  = {
    'ini':  ['ini',  'load'],
    'json': ['json', 'load'],
    'toml': ['toml', 'load'],
    'yaml': ['yaml', 'safe_load'],

Format loaders consists of a nested dictionary with key matching file extension and value defined as a two-element list. Default format loader enables the usage of ini, json, toml and yaml file types. In order for this to work you need to have installed appropriate python packages specified in the list.
Example: yaml: ['metayaml', 'read'] says that for any config/secret file with yaml extension will be loaded via read function defined in metayaml module.

Real-Live Example

See examples directory.

import cklass

class Root:
    _environ_prefix = 'SIMPLEWEBAPP'
    _config_filepath = ['./conf']
    _secret_filepath = ['./conf']

class Common(Root):
    NAME = 'Simple Web App'
    DEBUG = True
    DATE = ''

    BASE_DIR = '/app'
    SRC_DIR = './src'


    class Secret:
        KEY = ''

    _config_filename = 'common.yaml'
    _secret_filename = 'common.json'

class Database(Root):
    ENGINE = 'sqlite3'
    HOST = 'localhost'
    NAME = 'simplewebapp_db'
    PORT = 1111

    class Credentials:
        USER = 'readonly'
        PASS = 'readonly'

    _config_filename = 'database.yaml'
    _secret_filename = 'database.json'


    NAME = '{Common.NAME}'
    DEBUG = {Common.DEBUG}
    DATE = '{Common.DATE}'

    BASE_DIR = '{Common.BASE_DIR}'
    SRC_DIR = '.{Common.SRC_DIR}'


        KEY = '{Common.Secret.KEY}'

    ENGINE = '{Database.ENGINE}'
    HOST = '{Database.HOST}'
    NAME = '{Database.NAME}'
    PORT = {Database.PORT}

        USER = {Database.Credentials.USER}'
        PASS = '{Database.Credentials.PASS}'
# conf/common.yaml 
  debug: no
    - 'localhost'
    - ''
    - 'mydomain.local'
# conf/common.json
  "Common": {
    "Secret": {
      "key": "AAAAAAAA"
# conf/database.yaml
  engine: postgresql
  host: psql://localhost
# conf/database.json
  "database": {
    "credentials": {
      "user": "dbuser",
      "pass": "pbpass"
# conf/


source conf/
    NAME = 'Simple Web App'

    # overwritten in conf/common.yaml
    # then overwritten by environment variable
    DEBUG = True

    # overwritten by environment variable
    DATE = 'Mon Apr 15 12:35:39 CEST 2019'

    BASE_DIR = '/app'
    SRC_DIR = './src'

    # overwritten in conf/common.yaml
    ALLOWED_HOSTS = ['localhost', '', 'mydomain.local']

    class Secret:
        # overwritten in conf/common.json
        # then overwritten by environment variable
        KEY = 'seckey'

    # overwritten in conf/database.yaml
    ENGINE = 'postgresql'
    HOST = 'psql://localhost'
    NAME = 'simplewebapp_db'

    # overwritten by environment variable
    PORT = 6621

    class Credentials:
        # overwritten in conf/database.json
        USER = 'dbuser'

        # overwritten in conf/database.json
        # then overwritten by environment variable
        PASS = 'supersecretdbpass'

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