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A custom YAML tag for referencing environment variables in YAML files.

Project description


A custom YAML tag for referencing environment variables in YAML files.


Install PyYAML and the pyyaml_env_tag package with pip:

pip install pyyaml pyyaml_env_tag

Enabling the tag

To enable the tag, import and add the construct_env_tag constructor to your YAML loader of choice.

import yaml
from yaml_env_tag import construct_env_tag

yaml.Loader.add_constructor('!ENV', construct_env_tag)

Then you may use the loader as per usual. For example:

yaml.load(data, Loader=yaml.Loader)

Using the tag

Include the tag !ENV followed by the name of an environment variable in a YAML file and the value of the environment variable will be used in its place.


If SOME_VARIABLE is set to A string!, then the above YAML would result in the following Python object:

{'key': 'A string!'}

The content of the variable is parsed using YAML's implicit scalar types, such as string, bool, integer, float, datestamp and null. More complex types are not recognized and simply passed through as a string. For example, if SOME_VARIABLE was set to the string true, then the above YAML would result in the following:

{'key': True}

If the variable specified is not set, then a null value is assigned as a default. You may define your own default as the last item in a sequence.

key: !ENV [SOME_VARIABLE, default]

In the above example, if SOME_VARIABLE is not defined, the string default would be used instead, as follows:

{'key': 'default'}

You may list multiple variables as fallbacks. The first variable which is set is used. In any sequance with more than one item, the last item must always be a default value and will not be resolved as an environment variable.


As with variable contents, the default is resolved to a Python object of the implied type (string, bool, integer, float, datestamp and null).

When SOME_VARIABLE is not set, all four of the following items will resolve to the same value (None):



pyyaml_env_tag was inspired by the Ruby package yaml-env-tag.

An alternate method of referencing environment variables in YAML files is implemented by pyyaml-tags and python_yaml_environment_variables. Each of those libraries use a template string and replace the template tag with the content of the variable. While this allows a single value to reference multiple variables and to contain additional content, it restricts all values to strings only and does not provide a way to define defaults.


pyyaml_env_tag is licensed under the MIT License as defined in LICENSE.


Version 0.1 (released 2020-11-11)

The initial release.

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