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Rule based unix-style config parser written with shlex

Project Description

oshlex (Object shlex) - Rule based unix-style config parser written with shlex

This is a project made to simplify the task of reading and parsing UNIX-style configuration files. It’s simply an abstraction, using shlex library, that provides an easy way to parse configuration files, by creating a set of rules and handlers, which are then used to transform tokens into python data structures.

Warning: At this moment only python >3.4 is supported, python2.7 support is planned in the near future.


You can install this package from pypi using pip. Given that the python 2.7 isn’t supported (yet), you can do it as follows:

pip3.4 install oshlex

Configuration syntax

The configuration files syntax by default tries to follow the standard UNIX configuration files syntax, as found in, for example nginx configs. This is changed by simply subclassing Tokenizer class, or creating your own class, that works identically to shlex.shlex class (Read shlex documentation for details)

Sample configuration file

server {
        port 10000;
        user {
                username admin;
                password admin;
        user {
                username test;
                password test;


oshlex.config has two basic classes, Rule and Configuration.

oshlex.handlers has a couple of predefined handlers (text and integer)

Creating rules

In this example we define some rules, to parse the example configuration file, as shown above.

The basic idea is to create root rule and pass it to Configuration object while initializing. Every other rule is therefore a subrule of “root” rule.

The Rule class accepts following parameters:

name - The name of rule, defaults to “root”

handler - Handler function, that accepts the list of tokens and outputs python data structure to be used in the application. oshlex.handlers module has two predefined handler functions - text, which accepts a list of tokens and returns the first one as a string, or raises an UnacceptableTokenCount exception, if list of tokens contains more than one element, and integer, which does basically the same thing, only returns python int object, or raises UnacceptableToken exception if token is not convertable to the int type. defaults to None, which means that the token is represented by python dictionary with subtokens.

unique - bool, defines if it is acceptable or not for said option to be defined in the config file more than one once. If True, raises a ConfigError exception if option is defined in two places at the same time. If False, appends every occurence of the option definition to the list. Defaults to False

mandatory - bool, pretty self-explanatory, if option is mandatory, but not defined - raises MandatoryOptionMissing exception, otherwise does nothing.

Basic example

from oshlex.config import Rule, Configuration
from oshlex import handlers

# Defining rules
root = Rule('root')
server = Rule('server', unique=True, mandatory=True)
host = Rule('host', handler=handlers.text, unique=True, mandatory=True)
port = Rule('port', handler=handlers.integer, unique=True, mandatory=True)
user = Rule('user', unique=False, mandatory=False)
username = Rule('username', handler=handlers.text, unique=True, mandatory=True)
password = Rule('password', handler=handlers.text, unique=True, mandatory=True)

# Chaining rules together

conf = Configuration(root)'./example.conf')

This way we get the Configuration object (conf) with following structure:

  'server': {
    'host': '',
    'port': 10000,
    'user': [
      {'password': 'admin', 'username': 'admin'},
      {'password': 'test', 'username': 'test'}

Configuration object is subscriptable, so everything you can do with dictionaries is allowed here:

>>> conf['server']['host']

You can define your own handlers, which are just functions that accept a list of tokens and return something that python can work with, if you need to parse given tokens in some other ways, for example, we have an option that accepts ranges (e.g 1-10), we then need to define a hadler to convert these ranges into lists of integers, so we write a handler:

from oshlex.handlers import UnacceptableToken, UnacceptableTokenCount
def range(tokens):
    if len(tokens) > 1:
        raise UnacceptableTokenCount('This handler accepts 1 token at most')

        start, end = [int(token) for token in tokens[0].split('-')]
    except Exception as e:
        raise UnacceptableToken('Couldn\'t process token {}, got {}'.format(tokens[0], e))

    return [i for i in range(start, end)]
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