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Configuration management library for Common Lisp with profile support.
Common Lisp
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YUE Daian
Latest commit 19a0cec Aug 19, 2019



Chameleon is a configuration management library shipped with profile support. It mainly help you to:

  1. Define a set of configurations with default values.
  2. Define multiple profiles that optionally overriding the default values.
  3. Switch between several profiles just like a chameleon switching its colors!

Access function with the same name of configurations will be generated into the caller package, which makes it easy to access and modify. It makes use of function name completion and no more symbol/keyword/string lookup!

Also, by switching profiles you may use different configurations for unit testing, development, production etc.


It is now in Quicklisp! You may simply install it by Quicklisp:

(ql:quickload :chameleon)

To test it:

(asdf:test-system :chameleon)


Chameleon provides 2 macros that generates corresponding functions: defconfig and defprofile.

  • The defconfig macro defines the schema of configuration set.
  • The defprofile macro defines a profile with values of configurations.

Defining a Configuration Set

A configuration set contains multiple items, with each consisting of name, default value and optional doc string. The defconfig macro defines a profile with name NIL and puts the default values inside.

Talk is cheap, here is the code:

  (server-port 5000 "The port of running server.")
  (database-driver-name :sqlite3 "The driver of database."))

The code above defines 2 configuration items: server-port and database-driver-name with default values and optional documentation, just like defvar.

After evaluating the code 2 functions and their setf versions will be generated, as shown below:

 ; => 5000

(documentation 'database-driver-name 'function)
 ; => "The driver of database."

(setf (server-port) 15000)
 ; => 15000

The defconfig macro also generates some other functions:

  • (profiles) returns the defined profiles.
  • (active-profile) returns the current profile. The default profile is NIL.

And some special variables that might be useful in some corner cases:

  • *profile* represents the current active profile.
  • *configs* represents profiles and configuration values.

Since defconfig always generates functions to the current package, it is recommended to evaluate it in a separate package, e.g. config.

Defining Some Profiles

A profile consists of values for each configuration item. If an item is missing, the default value will be used.

;; Define a profile with name :DEVELOP.
(defprofile :develop
  (server-port 5001))
 ; => :DEVELOP

;; Define a profile with name :PRODUCT.
(defprofile :product
  (server-port 5002)
  (database-driver-name :mysql))

;; Get current profile.
 ; => NIL

;; Switch current profile.
(setf (active-profile) :develop)
 ; => :DEVELOP

 ; => 5001 (13 bits, #x1389)

 ; => :SQLITE3, T

;; Switch back to default profile.
(setf (active-profile) nil)
 ; => nil
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