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Konf is a Python package which designed to simplify the use of variables in configuration files. YAML and JSON file formats support out of the box.

Project description

Build Status


Tiny tool that designed to solve problems of Python configuration files located outside of VCS.


pip install konf

Running tests:


Why Konf?

Sometimes there is a need to get some settings outside of Python code and then to use them in an application. This can be secret keys, authentication tokens, URLs of third-party services, or other settings which depends on the server. Developers (or IT engineers) are faced with several challenges:

  • Validation of data importing from config. It may be simple typing, matching with range of possible values or with regexes.

  • Respect of all settings. Check that config contains all required data. Also, it can be useful to check that there are no extra (redundant) things inside a config (because it can be the data, forgotten to consider in an application).

  • Understanding what happens when something goes wrong. Correct representational exceptions allows immediately understand (just having looked at logs) what the problem is. Useful when deploying servers.


  • Allows to DRY import variables

  • Readability for humans

  • JSON and YAML support out of the box (In fact, additional libraries will be automatically installed for support it)

  • Typing or validation of all importing data. And this is required because human factor prevention

  • Python 2.7, 3+ compatible

  • 100% code coverage

  • Custom format of configuration files can be used. If I missed and at now anyone uses something else except of supported formats, you can create an issue about it, and probably the new format will be supported in next versions.

For Python data structures validation is used excellent library kolypto/py-good

For YAML parsing is used a great lib of Kirill Simonov PyYAML

Quick start

Just look at the code.

from konf import Konf

# Filling of variables from config file tokens.yaml in k_ object
k_ = Konf('tokens.yaml')

# Getting variables from k_: first argument is a name of variable (specified in the config),
# second can be a type or validator
SECRET_KEY = k_('secret_key', basestring)
AUTH_TOKEN = k_('auth_token', basestring)

# In the next example is used a validator: list, that must contain
# only objects with basestring type (str or unicode)
CLIENTS = k_('clients', [basestring])

# And dict with two required keys with appropriate types
DELAYS = k_('delays', {'case1': int, 'case2': int})

You can find more details and advanced examples about natural validation on good page

Ok, what happened next? Imagine that tokens.yaml is missing. In case of this, after the script execution, we can see next exception message:

konf.main.ReadError: Can`t access to the configuration file "tokens.yaml"

Let’s create a file tokens.yaml and input next:

  secret_key: FOO
  auth_token: BAR
  clients: Q,
    case1: 15
    case2: 17

Exception is raised:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/Users/me/python/examples/", line 19, in <module>
    CLIENTS = k_('clients', [basestring])
  File "/Users/me/python/examples/konf/konf/", line 126, in __call__
    raise self.ValidationError(e)
konf.main.ValidationError: expected a list

Then fix this mistake:

  secret_key: FOO
  auth_token: BAR
  clients: [Q]
    case1: 15
    case2: 17

Now all be OK, because [Q] represents a list of values, not a string. Note: you can see the list of all supported exceptions in the end of this documentation page.

Default values

Do you need to use a value if any variable is not contained in a config file? You can use default value.

from konf import Konf

k_ = Konf('extra.yml')

# 3rd arg is a default. If variable STRICT is not contained in config file,
# USE_STRICT will be False
USE_STRICT = k_('STRICT', bool, False)

# You can also use None as default value
WINNER = k_('WINNER', int, None)

# Default values will never be validated, because you forcibly declaring it.
# So, the next example is legit.
SHIFT_TIME = k_('SHIFT', int, complex(42, 42))

Checking redundant variables

Sometimes you want to be sure that all of the variables in a config file are used and you haven’t forgotten anything. In this situation the check_redundant() method can be helpful.

from konf import Konf

k_ = Konf('bar.yaml')

FOO1 = k_('foo1', int)

FOO2 = k_('foo2', int)

# If config file contains anything except foo1 and foo2,
# RedundantConfigError will be raised after call of this method!
k_.check_redundant()  # Fail

Default values and check_redundant() also working fine together.

from konf import Konf

k_ = Konf('foo.yaml')

X = k_('X', int, 0)

Y = k_('Y', int, 0)

# If X and Y doesn't contained in the config file, RedundantConfigError will not be raised
# after next line of code, because they have default values.
# So, it's just like X == 0 and Y == 0
k_.check_redundant()  # Success

More complex example

Write the content to a social_auth.yml in a readable form:

      key: '123'
      secret: qwerty
      key: '456'
      secret: uiop
      key: '789'
      secret: zxc
      key: '000'
      secret: vbn
      public_name: m

Step-by-step process it in

# 0. Select configuration file
k_ = Konf('social_auth.yml')

# 1. Declare validators
# You can cache validators inside a Konf object as if it's a standard python dict
k_['v1'] = {
   'key': basestring,
   'secret': basestring,
k_['v2'] = {
   'key': basestring,
   'secret': basestring,
   'public_name': basestring

# 2. Get variables from config
# For avoid copy-paste and massive chunks of code, just declare a new variable
# and pass data from config to it
sn = k_('SN', {
   'vk': k_['v1'],  # You can choose validator you want, for example v1...
   'google': k_['v1'],
   'twitter': k_['v1'],
   'ok': k_['v2']  # ...or v2

# 3. Fill everything to a python variables which are required for 3rd-party library
SOCIAL_AUTH_VK_OAUTH2_KEY = sn['vk']['key']
SOCIAL_AUTH_VK_OAUTH2_SECRET = sn['vk']['secret']
SOCIAL_AUTH_GOOGLE_OAUTH2_KEY = sn['google']['key']
SOCIAL_AUTH_GOOGLE_OAUTH2_SECRET = sn['google']['secret']
SOCIAL_AUTH_TWITTER_KEY = sn['twitter']['key']
SOCIAL_AUTH_TWITTER_SECRET = sn['twitter']['secret']

# 4. Check that config doesn't contain some garbage
# (this might mean you forgot to get these variables, or this config is wrong, some draft for example)

# 5. If server is running without errors, and you will meet issue with this 3rd-party library later,
# you can be sure that problem isn't in your configuration file.
# Otherwise, you'll just catch a error on a start server stage.

List of supported Exceptions


Raises when…


Data from config file doesn’t match to the type_or_validator arg


Trying to get variable that not contained in a config file


Config file can’t be read


Third-party parser can’t parse configuration file


Variable is loaded not for the first time


Extension of the config isn’t supported, and parse_callback arg isn’t specified


Call of check_redundant() if any of variables in a config isn’t used in app


Incorrect usage of validators

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