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Advanced configuration parser for Python

Project description

Dotconf is an advanced configuration parser which allow nested sections to any level, typed values in syntax, file include and so more. Dotconf is also shipped with a powerful schema validation system.

The full documentation can be found here:


  • Configuration format kept as simple as possible.
  • Developer friendly APIs.
  • Types are expressed in the syntax, so the parser can guess it without validation.
  • Four primitive types: string, number, boolean, or list.
  • More complex composite types can be created using the schema validation system.
  • Nested section of any deep. Sections can take a special “argument” value (look at the example).
  • Schema validation system, all schema can be defined using declarative or imperative way.
  • External file include with globbing.
  • Integration with argparse.
  • Tests (only parser is covered yet)
  • Released under MIT license.


This is an example of configuration file for an imaginary web server:

daemon = yes
pidfile = '/var/run/'
interface = ''
interface_ssl = ''

host '' {
    path '/' {
        rate_limit = 30

host '' {
    enable_ssl = yes

    path '/files' {
        enable_auth = yes
        user 'foo' {
            password = 'bar'

You can access to each values using the developer friendly API:

>>> from dotconf import Dotconf
>>> parsed_conf = Dotconf.from_filename('mywebserver.conf').parse()
>>> print parsed_conf.get('daemon', False)

Even more exciting, you can create a validation schema to avoid you the painful chore of manual configuration file validation:

from dotconf.schema.containers import many, once
from dotconf.schema.containers import Section, Value
from dotconf.schema.types import Boolean, Integer, Float, String

# Schema definition:

class UserSection(Section):
    password = Value(String())
    _meta = {'repeat': many, 'unique': True}

class PathSection(Section):
    rate_limit = Value(Float(), default=0)
    enable_auth = Value(Boolean(), default=False)
    user = UserSection()

class VirtualHostSection(Section):
    enable_ssl = Value(Boolean(), default=False)
    path = PathSection()
    _meta = {'repeat': many, 'unique': True}

class MyWebserverConfiguration(Section):
    daemon = Value(Boolean(), default=False)
    pidfile = Value(String(), default=None)
    interface = Value(String(), default='')
    interface_ssl = Value(String(), default='')
    host = VirtualHostSection()

Then you can use the API exactly as if it was not validated:

>>> conf = '''
... daemon = yes
... pidfile = '/var/run/'
... interface = ''
... interface_ssl = ''
... host '' {
...     path '/' {
...         rate_limit = 30
...     }
... }
... host '' {
...     enable_ssl = yes
...     path '/files' {
...         enable_auth = yes
...         user 'foo' {
...             password = 'bar'
...         }
...     }
... }
... '''
>>> from dotconf import Dotconf
>>> from myconfschema import MyWebserverConfiguration
>>> parsed_conf = Dotconf(conf, schema=MyWebserverConfiguration()).parse()
>>> print 'daemon:', parsed_conf.get('daemon')
daemon: True
>>> for vhost in parsed_conf.subsections('host'):
>>>     print vhost.args
>>>     if vhost.get('enable_ssl'):
>>>         print '  SSL enabled'
>>>     for path in vhost.subsections('path'):
>>>         print '  ' + path.args
>>>         if path.get('enable_auth'):
>>>             print '    Following users can access to this directory:'
>>>             for user in path.subsections('user'):
>>>                 print '     - ' + user.args
  SSL enabled
    Following users can access to this directory:
      - foo


The fastest and more common way to install Dotconf is using pip:

pip install dotconf


If you use Debian, you can also use the Tecknet repositories. Add this lines in your /etc/apt/source.list file:

deb squeeze tecknet
deb-src squeeze tecknet

Add the Tecknet repositories key in your keyring:

# wget -O - | apt-key add -

Then, update and install:

# aptitude update
# aptitude install python-dotconf


If you use Archlinux, a Dotconf package is available in Aur:

yaourt -S python2-dotconf


  • More test.


v1.8 08/09/13

This new release bring a lot of bugfixes all reported by Stefan Tschiggerl. Thanks to him for its time and its help to enhance Dotconf.


  • Fixed a bug where from_filename is not passing extra
  • Fixed examples in readme and docs
  • Fixed bad API usage in containers’ argument validation
  • Handle the uniqueness validation of empty args
  • Added single subsection access method (eg: section.subsection(‘foo’))
  • Fixed optional section without occurrence not working
  • Fixed a bug when subsection method is used twice with the same name
  • Fixed traceback when a section is not in schema

New contributors:

  • Stefan Tschiggerl (bug report and fixes)

v1.7 released on 31/07/13

The major (and almost the only) change of this release is the compatibility with Python 3. This work has been done with the help of 2to3 with some thing fixed manually. Enjoy!

  • Added compatibility with Python 3
  • Now use py.test instead of nosetests

v1.6 released on 09/12/12

This second stable release bring some bug fixes and features, the API has not been broken. I also registered the project on travis-ci and I will try to improve the test coverage for the next release.


  • Added Choice container
  • Added a from_filename constructor the the Dotconf class
  • Added encoding management (by default, files are parsed in UTF-8)
  • Added continuous integration with travis
  • Fixed bug with Float type validation
  • Fixed an error when a section is included by an external file (thanks to DuanmuChun for its bug report and help to fix it)
  • Fixed other minor bugs

New contributors:

  • DuanmuChun (bug report and help to fix it)

v1.5 released on 14/04/2012

First stable release of Dotconf has been released, development will now take care of API compatibility. The project status has been changed to “Beta” on the PYPI, and should be “Stable” on the next release if no major bug is found. Packages will be updated for Debian and Archlinux, feel free to contact me if you want to package it for your distro.


  • Added Eval, NamedRegex and RegexPattern types
  • Added TypedArray container
  • Fixed bug with scalar values from a singleton list in Value container
  • Fixed argument validation in Section container
  • Updated documentation (new tips and tricks section)

New contributors:

  • Anaël Beutot (thanks for RegexPattern type and argument validation fix)

v0.4 released on 07/04/2012

  • Added debian package
  • Added IPSocketAddress type
  • Added Array container
  • Added release procedure
  • Fixed bug on IPAddress and IPNetwork types when ipaddr is missing
  • Fixed documentation build

v0.3 released on 04/04/2012

  • Added IPAddress, IPNetwork, Regex and Url types
  • Added min and max options on Integer type
  • Added units on number parsing (42k == 42000)
  • Fixed bug with validation of long numbers

v0.2 released on 03/04/2012

  • Added argparse integration feature & documentation
  • Cleanup

v0.1 released on 24/03/2012

  • Initial version.

A note on versioning

Dotconf use a two numbers X.Y versioning. The Y part is incremented by one on each release. The X part is used as API compatibility indicator and will be incremented each time the API is broken.


You can contribute to Dotconf through these ways:

Feel free to contact me for any question/suggestion: <>.

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