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Read secrets from environment variables or files

Project description

devsecrets: read secrets from environment variables or files

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It would be nice if a developer could check out a project and immediately run and debug it through their IDE.

For code that requires sensitive environment variables, you can't have that because that would entail checking in secrets in run configurations.


devsecrets gets you just a little closer to the ideal by letting environment variables point to files containing the sensitive information.

It doesn't help with creating, securing, or distributing those files.


Instead of reading os.environ directly, use devsecrets.read_secret() in your code. For instance, if accessing a DATABASE_URL variable:

from devsecrets import read_secret


In development, set the DATABASE_URL environment variable to @.secrets.

Create a .secrets file in your project's directory, containing a line like


Have your version control system ignore your .secrets file.

What about non-development environments?

Environment values that don't begin with the @-symbol are returned as-is by read_secret(), so if you already have your secrets in environment variables in production, there's no need to do anything differently.

If you do want to use secrets files in production, it probably makes sense to point to them with absolute paths.


Where exactly does read_secret() look for files?

If the filename is absolute, it is used as is.

Otherwise, read_secret() discovers where the code that called it lives and starts there. Then it walks up the path all the way to the root.

What is the format of the secrets files?

By example:

# comment
KEY1 = "value" #comment

key_3 = "multiline\r\nvalue"

Currently, values must be quoted.

This is only because, for reasons of expediency, a TOML parser is used to parse these files.

Installed code

Beware that how and where your code is installed matters because read_secrets() considers where the calling code lives. If that's in a site-packages directory under /usr/lib or ~/.local/share/virtualenvs for instance, then a .secrets file in ~/projects/myproject won't be found.

This is ordinarily not a problem because you install your code with python install --develop or pip install --editable so you run your code from the same place where you checked it out.


pip install devsecrets

Running the tests



We use SemVer for versioning releases.


This project is licensed under the MIT License - see the LICENSE.txt file for details

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