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Wise, discreet configuration for ruby scripts: integrate config files, environment variables and command line with no fuss

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Configliere provides wise, lightweight configuration management for ruby programs.

So, Consigliere of mine, I think you should tell your Don what everyone knows. — Don Corleone

You’ve got a script. It’s got some settings. Some settings are for this module, some are for that module. Most of them don’t change. Except on your laptop, where the paths are different. Or when you’re in production mode. Or when you’re testing from the command line.

Configliere’s wise counsel takes care of these problems. Design goals:

  • Don’t go outside the family. Requires almost no external resources and almost no code in your script.
  • Don’t mess with my crew. Settings for a model over here can be done independently of settings for a model over there, and don’t require asking the boss to set something up.
  • Be willing to sit down with the Five Families. Takes settings from (at your option):
    • Pre-defined defaults from constants
    • Simple config files
    • Environment variables
    • Commandline options
    • Ruby block called when all other options are in place
  • Code of Silence. Most commandline parsers force you to pre-define all your parameters in a centralized and wordy syntax. In configliere, you pre-define nothing — commandline parameters map directly to values in the Configliere hash.
  • Can hide your assets. Rather than storing passwords and API keys in plain sight, configliere has a protection racket that can obscure values when stored to disk.


Settings structure

Configliere settings are just a plain old normal hash.

You can define static defaults in your module

Settings.defaults({ :dest_time => ‘1955-11-05’, :fluxcapacitor => { :speed => 88, }, :delorean => { :power_source => ‘plutonium’, :roads_needed => true, }, :username => ‘marty’, :password => ’’, })

Retrieve them as:

  1. hash keys
    Config[:dest_time] #=> ‘1955-11-05’
  2. deep keys
    Config[:delorean][:power_source] #=> ‘plutonium’
    Config[:delorean][:missing] #=> nil
    Config[:delorean][:missing][:fail] #=> raises an error
  3. dotted keys resolve to deep keys
    Config[‘delorean.power_source’] #=> ‘plutonium’
    Config[‘delorean.missing’] #=> nil
    Config[‘’] #=> nil
  4. method-like (can’t use this with deep keys)
    Settings.dest_time #=> ‘1955-11-05’

Configliere doesn’t load any other functionality by default — you may not want to load config files, or environment variable handling, and so forth. You can require each file directly, or call Configliere.use with the mixins to require (:all to load all functionality).

Configliere.use :param_store, :define # Load config files and pre-define Configliere.use :all # all of them

Configuration files

Call to read a param group from the YAML global config file (Configliere::DEFAULT_CONFIG_FILE, normally ~/.configliere.yaml)

  1. Settings for version II.
    :dest_time: 2015-11-05
    :power_source: Mr. Fusion
    :roads_needed: ~

You can instead supply a path to a config file. If a bare filename (no ‘/’) is given, configliere looks for the file in Configliere::DEFAULT_CONFIG_DIR (normally ~/.configliere). Otherwise it loads the given file. # looks in ~/.configliere.yaml, and extracts the :time_machine group‘/etc/time_machine.yaml’) # looks in /etc/time_machine.yaml‘time_machine.yaml’) # looks in ~/.configliere/time_machine.yaml

When you read directly from a file you should leave off the top-level settings group:

  1. Settings for version II.
    :dest_time: 2015-11-05
    :power_source: Mr. Fusion
    :roads_needed: ~

You can save defaults with # merges into ~/.configliere.yaml, under :time_machine‘/etc/time_machine.yaml’) # overwrites /etc/time_machine.yaml‘time_machine.yaml’) # overwrites ~/.configliere/time_machine.yaml

Environment Variables

Settings.use_environment ‘DEST_TIME’, ‘TM_PASS’ => ‘password’, ‘POWER_SOURCE’ => ‘delorean.power_source’

As usual, dotted keys set the corresponeding nested key (‘delorean.power_source’ sets Config[:delorean][:power_source])

Command-line parameters

  1. Head back
    time_machine —delorean-power_source=‘1.21 gigawatt lightning strike’ —dest_time=1985-11-05
  2. (in the time_machine script:)
    Settings.use :commandline

Interpretation of command-line parameters:

  • name-val params: --param=val sets Configliere[:param] to val.
  • boolean params: --param sets Configliere[:param] to be true. —param=’’ sets Configliere[:param] to be nil.
  • scoped params: --group-sub_group-param=val sets Configliere[:group][:subgroup][:param] to val (and similarly for boolean parameters).
    • A dash or dot within a parameter name scopes that parameter: --group.sub_group.param=val and --group-sub_group-param=val do the same thing. A _ within a parameter name is left as part of the segment.
    • Only [\w\.\-]+ are accepted in parameter names.
  • anything else is stored, in order, in
  • stop marker: a -- alone stops parameter processing and tosses all remaining params (not including the --) into

Here are some things you don’t get:

  • There are no short parameters (-r, etc).
  • Apart from converting '' (an explicit blank string) to nil, no type coercion is performed on parameters unless requested explicitly (see below).
  • No validation is performed on parameters.
  • No ordering or multiplicity is preserved (you can’t say --file=this --file=that).

If you want more, you might like the Trollop gem. If you enjoy wordy nightmares, use getoptlog from the ruby standard library.

Fancy Parameters

You don’t have to pre-define parameters, but you can:

Settings.use :define Settings.define :dest_time, :type => Date, :description => ‘Arrival time. If only a date is given, the current time of day on that date is assumed.’ Settings.define ‘delorean.power_source’, :description => ‘Delorean subsytem supplying power to the Flux Capacitor.’ Settings.define :password, :required => true, :obscure => true
  • :type: converts params to a desired form. It understands Date, Time, Integer, :boolean and Symbol. :blank => nil and :blank => false. Make sure to call Settings.resolve! in your script.
  • :description documents a param.
  • :required marks params required.
  • :encrypted marks params to be obscured when saved to disk. See [#Encrypted Parameters] below for caveats.

Required Parameters

Any required parameter found to be nil raises an error (listing all missing params). (Make sure to call Settings.resolve! in your script.)

Encrypted Parameters

There are two kinds of cryptography in this world: cryptography that will
stop your kid sister from reading your files, and cryptography that will stop
major governments from reading your files. This book is about the latter.
— Preface to Applied Cryptography by Bruce Schneier

Configliere provides the latter. Anyone with access to the script, its config files and the config file passphrase can recover the plaintext password. Still, there’s a difference between having to find a paperclip and jimmy open your annoying brother’s stupid journal and being able to open to any page.

Ruby Block

Settings.finally do |c| c.dest_time = ( + 60) if c.username == ‘einstein’
  1. you can use hash syntax too
    c[:dest_time] = ( + 60) if c[:username] == ‘einstein’
  2. … rest of setup
    Settings.resolve! # the finally blocks will be called in order

Configliere ‘finally’ blocks are called after everything but required parameter

Independent Settings

All of the above uses the Settings global variable defined in configliere.rb. However, you’re free to define your own settings universe.

module MyProject cattr_accessor :config self.config ={ :helicity => ‘homotopic’, :froebenius_matrix => ‘unitary’, }) end pr = pr.config #=> {:helicity => ‘homotopic’, :froebenius_matrix => ‘unitary’ }

Values in here don’t overlap with the Settings object or any other settings universe. However, every one that pulls in commandline params gets a full copy of the commandline params.

Project info

Note on Patches/Pull Requests

  • Fork the project.
  • Make your feature addition or bug fix.
  • Add tests for it. This is important so I don’t break it in a
    future version unintentionally.
  • Commit, do not mess with rakefile, version, or history.
    (if you want to have your own version, that is fine but bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore when I pull)
  • Send a pull request to
  • Drop a line to the mailing list for infochimps open-source projects,


Copyright © 2010 mrflip. See LICENSE for details.

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