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A simple way to manage your project settings

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A simple way to manage your project settings.

simple-settings is inspired by Django’s settings system but is generic for any python project.

With simple-settings you just need to specify your settings module using the --settings command line arg when invoking your python script (or SIMPLE_SETTINGS environment var) and all settings will be exposed as properties of the simple_settings.settings module.

>>> from simple_settings import settings
>>> print(settings.FOO)
'some value in foo'


simple-settings is available on Pypi.

$ pip install simple-settings
To install simple-settings with all dependencies use pip install simple-settings[all]

simple-settings is tested with Python 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 and PyPy.

How this works

simple-settings reads and stores all variables (or constants if you prefer) of a python module that you specify. To store your settings you need at least one setting file (in any of supported formats).

To specify your settings module you have two approaches: with command line or environment.

For example, imagine that you have a python module for your project settings and this file is in “settings/” (a common example). To load settings of this file you can run your project with command line arg --settings:

$ python --settings=settings.development

simple-settings accepts --simple-settings command line arg also. Or set the environment variable SIMPLE_SETTINGS:

$ export SIMPLE_SETTINGS=settings.development
$ python
the settings environment variable is deprecated

The simple_settings.settings object reads both the command line and environment in this order (but simple-settings takes the first value it encounters), to know which file to load.

Another option is use class LazySettings instead of singleton object settings. With LazySettings class is possible to determine settings files in object create:

from simple_settings import LazySettings

settings = LazySettings('settings.development')

If you don’t pass any value in LazySettings init argument, this class follow the same behavior of settings object.


This is a very dummy example, in real world you would use simple-settings in more complex cases.

In this example we just store a simple string but any python type is accepted.

SIMPLE_CONF = 'simple'

You don’t need specify which setting simple-settings must load, you can do this with command line or environment.

from simple_settings import settings



You can specify your settings module with command line:

$ python --settings=project_settings

Or environment:

$ export SIMPLE_SETTINGS=project_settings
$ python

Check examples, in project repository for more usage samples.


You can check the loaded settings through method settings.as_dict()

>>> settings.as_dict()
{'SIMPLE_CONF': 'simple'}


You can change any settings (and add new settings) in runtime with method configure:

>>> settings.SOME_CONF
>>> settings.configure(SOME_CONF='bar')
>>> settings.SOME_CONF
If your use dynamic settings the configure method update setting value in dynamic storage too.

Types of settings

The simple-settings is prepared to play with the following files types:

  • python modules.
  • cfg files (simple key=value files).
  • yaml files.
  • json files.
  • toml files.
To simple-settings load settings of yaml files is necessary to install with extra require yaml, e.g.: pip install simple-settings[yaml]
For toml files is necessary to install with extras require toml, e.g.: pip install simple-settings[toml]

Load multiple settings modules

simple-settings can load more than one setting module without use import approach, just specify yours settings modules separated by comma. For example:

$ python --settings=production,amazon,new_relic

simple-setting will load all settings modules in order that was specified (production-> amazon -> new_relic) overriding possibles conflicts.

This also works with LazySettings class:

from simple_settings import LazySettings

settings = LazySettings('production', 'amazon', 'new_relic')

You can combine any type of settings (python modules, yaml, etc.).

Ignored settings

  • Python modules:
    • Variables starting with _.
  • Cfg files:
    • Keys starting with #.

Special Settings

simple-settings has a list of special settings that change how simple-settings will load settings. This special settings are specified using a SIMPLE_SETTINGS dict in the settings module.

    'OVERRIDE_BY_ENV': True,
        'backend': 'redis',
        'pattern': 'DYNAMIC_*',
        'auto_casting': True,
        'prefix': 'MYAPP_'

Note: special settings may only be specified in python settings files (not ini, yaml, etc.).

Configure logging

If you set the special setting CONFIGURE_LOGGING with True, simple-settings will configure the python logging to you. You just need to define your logging configuration with Python dictConfig format and place in LOGGING setting, e.g.

    'version': 1,
    'disable_existing_loggers': False,
    'formatters': {
        'default': {
            'format': '%(asctime)s %(levelname)s %(name)s %(message)s'
    'handlers': {
        'logfile': {
            'level': 'DEBUG',
            'class': 'logging.handlers.RotatingFileHandler',
            'filename': 'my_log.log',
            'maxBytes': 50 * 1024 * 1024,
            'backupCount': 10,
            'formatter': 'default'
    'loggers': {
        '': {
            'handlers': ['logfile'],
            'level': 'ERROR'
        'my_project': {
            'level': 'INFO',
            'propagate': True,

To use just get logger with logging.getLogger(), e.g.

import logging
logger = logging.getLogger('my_project')'Hello')
Don’t forget, simple-settings is lazy and it only configures logging after runs setup() method or after reads some setting.

Override settings value

You can override the values of your settings module with environment variables. You just need set the special setting OVERRIDE_BY_ENV with True as value.

$ export SIMPLE_CONF="simple from env"
$ python --settings=project_settings
simple from env
This is not a dynamic behavior, because settings is only override in “settings setup” time, see dynamic settings for a real dynamic behavior.

Required Settings

You can determine a list of mandatory settings, i.e. settings that require a valid value. For this, set the sepecial setting REQUIRED_SETTINGS with a list (or any iterable) of yours required settings. If any setting of this list have an invalid value (or is not present in setting file) a ValueError is raised with a list of required settings not satify in settings file.

Dynamic Settings

simple-settings has a list of dynamic settings mechanisms that change a value of setting dynamically. If dynamic setting is activate, for all setting the dynamic reader is called. The current dynamic mechanisms suported is:

Default Dynamic Settings Configuration

For all dynamic settings backends simple-settings accept this optional parameters:

  • pattern: if you set some regex pattern the dynamic settings reader only get settings that match with this pattern. (Note that the pattern will be applied to key as entered, ignoring any configured prefix setting.)
  • auto_casting: if you set this conf to True (default is False) simple settings use jsonpickle to encode settings value before save in dynamic storage and decode after read from dynamic storage. With this bahavior you can use complex types (like dict and list) in dynamic settings.
  • prefix: if you set a prefix this value will be prepended to the keys when looked up on the backend. The value is prepended without any interpretation, so the key key="MYKEY" and prefix="my/namespace/" would resolve to key="my/namespace/MYKEY" and key="MYKEY" and prefix="MY_NAMESPACE_" would resolve to key="MY_NAMESPACE_MYKEY".


You can read your settings dynamically in redis if you activate the DYNAMIC_SETTINGS special setting with redis backend:

        'backend': 'redis',
        'host': 'locahost',
        'port': 6379,
for redis backend localhost is default value for host and 6379 is the default value for port.

In redis dynamic reader the binary types is automatically decoded.

To install with redis dependencies use: pip install simple-settings[redis]


You can read your settings dynamically from a consul server if you activate the DYNAMIC_SETTINGS special setting with the consul backend (uses consulate library):

        'backend': 'consul',
        'host': 'locahost',
        'port': 8500,
        'prefix': 'mynamespace/'
for consul backend localhost is default value for host and 8500 is the default value for port.

Additional attributes for consul backend: datacenter, token, scheme.

To install with consul dependencies use: pip install simple-settings[consul]


You can read your settings dynamically form a database if you activate the DYNAMIC_SETTINGS special setting with the database backend (uses sqlalchemy library)

        'backend': 'database',
        'sqlalchemy.url': 'sqlite:///:memory:',
To install with database dependencies use: pip install simple-settings[database]


You can read your settings dynamically form a AWS S3 bucket if you activate the DYNAMIC_SETTINGS special setting with the s3 backend (uses boto3 library)

        'backend': 's3',
        'bucket_name': 'simple-settings',
        'region': 'us-east-1'
To install with s3 dependencies use: pip install simple-settings[s3]


Settings Stub

A simple context manager (and decorator) class useful in tests which is necessary to change some setting in the safe way.

Context Manager example

from simple_settings import settings
from simple_settings.utils import settings_stub

with settings_stub(SOME_SETTING='foo'):
    assert settings.SOME_SETTING == 'foo'
assert settings.SOME_SETTING == 'bar'

Decorator example

from simple_settings import settings
from simple_settings.utils import settings_stub

def get_some_setting():
    return settings.SOME_SETTING

assert get_some_setting() == 'foo'
assert settings.SOME_SETTING == 'bar'


[0.13.0] - 2018-03-28

  • Dynamic settings behaviors with AWS S3.

[0.12.1] - 2017-10-27

  • Fix dynamic settings read behavior to ignore only None values and not zeros values ( #68)

[0.12.0] - 2017-03-07

  • Load settings from toml files.

[0.11.0] - 2017-02-17

  • Autoconfigure python logging with CONFIGURE_LOGGING special setting.

[0.10.0] - 2016-10-28

  • Support configuring dynamic backends with an optional prefix.

[0.9.1] - 2016-09-15

  • configure method now works even called before the LazySettings setup.

[0.9.0] - 2016-08-12

  • configure method now update settings in dynamic settings.
  • On get setting value in dynamic setting update local settings with this value.
  • Auto casting value in dynamic storage to using complex types.

[0.8.1] - 2016-06-04

  • Fix instalation with database extra requires.

[0.8.0] - 2016-06-04

  • Better ImportError message if using a dynamic reader without your lib dependencies.
  • Refactor in Settings Stub.
  • Dynamic settings behaviors with SQLAlchemy (database backend).
  • Load settings of json files.

[0.7.0] - 2016-06-02

  • Nice python REPR for LazySettings objects.
  • Dynamic settings behaviors with Redis.
  • Dynamic settings behaviors with Consul.
  • Generate package with python wheel.

[0.6.0] - 2016-05-17

  • Some refactors.
  • Determine settings files and modules directly in LazySettings object (to avoid use env or command line argument).
  • configure method to update settings.
  • Use safe_load instead load in yaml strategy.

[0.5.0] - 2016-02-03

  • Some refactors.
  • Load settings of yaml files.
  • New SIMPLE_SETTINGS environment variable.
  • New --simple-settings command line arg.

[0.4.0] - 2016-01-03

  • Lazy settings load.

[0.3.1] - 2015-07-23

  • Avoid to load python modules (as settings) in python files (with this, fix deepcopy bug in as_dict() method).

[0.3.0] - 2015-07-19

  • Deepcopy in as_dict method to anticipate unexpected changes.
  • Special Settings Behaviors.
    • Override settings values by environment.
    • Required settings validation.
  • Remove default behavior of override settings values by environment (now it’s a special settings).
  • Settings Stub (useful for tests)
  • Change bahavior of settings __getattr__ (before may raise KeyError if simple-settings do not locate the setting, now raise AttributeError)

[0.2.0] - 2015-06-19

  • Load multiple settings separated by comma (like a pipeline).
  • Load settings of cfg files.
  • Filter python module attributes to read only user settings.

[0.1.1] - 2015-05-19

  • Fix parser_args error if using simple-settings with others command line arguments.

[0.1.0] - 2015-05-14

  • First release.

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