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Lightweight layered configuration library.

Project description


Lightweight layered configuration library.

All you need is Python >= 3.5 (and a keyboard).

Basic concept

There is a Config object holding several layers of configuration keys and their values (= configuration directives). From top to bottom:

  1. Override layer = holds runtime directive overrides, if any.
  2. Env layer = directives loaded from environment variables are kept in this layer, if any.
  3. File layer = directives loaded from configuration file(s) are kept in this layer, if any.
  4. Default layer = holds a default value for every initialized directive.

Learn by example

The behavior is best shown on following example:

from llconfig import Config

c = Config('local/', '/etc/my_app/conf.d', env_prefix='MY_', config_files_env_var='CONFIG')
c.init('PORT', int, 80)
c.load()  # recommended, but not required (see docstrings)

The returned value is 80, given that there is no MY_PORT env variable, no MY_CONFIG env variable and no PORT = 1234 line in any of local/ or /etc/my_app/conf.d/* configuration files.

Search process

First, the override layer is searched, but there is no runtime override (no c['PORT'] = 1234) in this example.

The environment layer is searched next. If there is an env variable called MY_PORT, its value is taken and converted using int function (this is necessary otherwise it wouldn't be possible to load anything else than str from env variables).

Then, if the env variable is not present, the file layer is searched. There can be multiple files in this layer (forming sub-layers) and all of them must be Python-executable. File sub-layers are processed in following order:

  1. Files loaded from MY_CONFIG env variable. Its value is splitted using : (colon) as a delimiter and each part is handled the same way as if it would be passed to constructor (see bellow). The handling preserves order (so the leftmost part is always handled first).
  2. Files passed to constructor (local/ and /etc/my_app/conf.d in this example). If there is a path pointing to directory instead of simple file, the directory is expanded (non-recursively). The expansion lists all files in given directory using expansion_glob_pattern attribute sorted by file name in reverse order (you can change this behavior by extending this class and overriding _expand_dir method). The expanded files are used as separate sub-layers in place of original directory.

When all of the file sub-layers are created, each configuration file is executed and each file's global namespace is searched for the PORT directive (still preserving the order). If found, the directive is returned as is (without conversion).

The default layer is searched as a last resort. As it contains values from directives' init, there is always a default value (unless a search for non-initialized directive is performed). The default value is returned as is.

Directive initialization

Directive is initialized using init method. It takes directive name, converter function (see bellow) and a default value (which is None by default). It is recommended to name directives using upper-case only. Any directive you want to use must be initialized, otherwise it is ignored (unknown env variables, unknown directives in configuration files, etc.).

This means that once you initialize a directive you can safely use it without KeyErrors or without calling c.get('PORT', 'default'). There will always be at least the default value.


Converters are arbitrary callables taking single str argument and returning anything. The converter is called only for conversion from env variable. There are some predefined converters available in llconfig.converters, but it is easy to create own. For example:

from llconfig import Config
from llconfig.converters import json, bool_like
from pathlib import Path

c = Config()
c.init('PORT', int)  # "443" => 443
c.init('HOSTNAME', str)  # "localhost" => "localhost"
c.init('DEBUG', bool_like)  # "off" => False
c.init('DEBUG_2', bool)  # BEWARE: "0" => True 
c.init('FLEXIBLE', json)  # '{"hello": 1}' => {"hello": 1}
c.init('PICTURES', lambda raw: [Path(p) for p in raw.split(':')])  # "a.jpg:b.jpg" => [Path("a.jpg"), Path("b.jpg")]

Any exception raised during conversion is re-raised as a ValueError.

Getting the values out

The Config object implements a mapping protocol, so you can use it as if it was a dict. In addition, there is a get_namespace method taken from Flask framework with exact same behavior (see their docs for more examples).

from llconfig import Config

c = Config()
c.init('DB_HOST', str, 'localhost')
c.init('DB_PORT', int, 3306)
c.init('DB_USER', str)

c['DB_HOST']  # => 'localhost'
c['DB_USER']  # => None

c.get_namespace('DB_')  # => {'host': 'localhost', 'port': 3306, 'user': None}
c['DB_':]  # syntactic sugar - does the same as `c.get_namespace('DB_')`

dict(c)  # => {'DB_HOST': 'localhost', 'DB_PORT': 3306, 'DB_USER': None}


In short: do not use this library in untrusted environment, unless you completely understand how it works and what possible attack vectors are. The main concern is that each file forming the file layer is executed. There is also a possibility to load files using config_files_env_var environment variable (APP_CONFIG by default), unless disabled. On top of that, you can compromise your application using badly written converter.

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