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This library brings the updated configparser from Python 3.2+ to Python 2.5-2.7.

Project description

The ancient ConfigParser module available in the standard library 2.x has seen a major update in Python 3.2. This is a backport of those changes so that they can be used directly in Python 2.5 - 2.7.

To use configparser instead of ConfigParser, simply replace:

import ConfigParser


import configparser

For detailed documentation consult the vanilla version at


This backport is intended to keep 100% compatibility with the vanilla release in Python 3.2+. To help maintaining a version you want and expect, a versioning scheme is used where:

  • the first three numbers indicate the version of Python 3.x from which the backport is done

  • a backport release number is provided after the r letter

For example, 3.2.0r1 is the first release of configparser compatible with the library found in Python 3.2.0.

A single exception from the 100% compatibility principle is that bugs fixed before releasing another minor Python 3.x.y version will be included in the backport releases done in the mean time. This rule applies to bugs only.


This backport is maintained on BitBucket by Łukasz Langa, the current vanilla configparser maintainer for CPython:

Change Log


  • a backport-specific change: for convenience and basic compatibility with the old ConfigParser, bytestrings are now accepted as section names, options and values. Those strings are still converted to Unicode for internal storage so in any case when such conversion is not possible (using the ‘ascii’ codec), UnicodeDecodeError is raised.


Conversion Process

This section is technical and should bother you only if you are wondering how this backport is produced. If the implementation details of this backport are not important for you, feel free to ignore the following content.

configparser is converted using 3to2. Because a fully automatic conversion was not doable, I took the following branching approach:

  • the 3.2 branch holds unchanged files synchronized from the upstream CPython repository. The synchronization is currently done by manually copying the required files and stating from which CPython changeset they come from.

  • the 3.2-clean branch holds a version of the 3.2 code with some tweaks that make it independent from libraries and constructions unavailable on 2.x. Code on this branch still must work on Python 3.2. You can check this running the supplied unit tests.

  • the default branch holds necessary changes which break unit tests on Python 3.2. Additional files which are used by the backport are also stored here.

The process works like this:

  1. I update the 3.2 branch with new versions of files. Commit.

  2. I merge the new commit to 3.2-clean. Check unit tests. Commit.

  3. If there are necessary changes that can be made in a 3.2 compatible manner, I do them now (still on 3.2-clean), check unit tests and commit. If I’m not yet aware of any, no problem.

  4. I merge the changes from 3.2-clean to default. Commit.

  5. If there are necessary changes that cannot be made in a 3.2 compatible manner, I do them now (on default). Note that the changes should still be written using 3.x syntax. If I’m not yet aware of any required changes, no problem.

  6. I run ./ which is a custom 3to2 runner for this project.

  7. I run the unit tests with unittest2 on Python 2.x. If the tests are OK, I can prepare a new release. Otherwise, I revert the default branch to its previous state (hg revert .) and go back to Step 3.

NOTE: the default branch holds unconverted code. This is because keeping the conversion step as the last (after any custom changes) helps managing the history better. Plus, the merges are nicer and updates of the converter software don’t create nasty conflicts in the repository.

This process works quite well but if you have any tips on how to make it simpler and faster, do enlighten me :)

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