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Carica is a flexible configuration library.

It offers:

  • a simple lookup syntax
  • built-in support for Clojure, EDN, and JSON config files
    • easy-to-add support for other formats
  • config file merging (if you have more than one config file)
    • even if one is a Clojure file and the other is JSON
  • code evaluation in Clojure files
  • runtime override capabilities for testing
  • easy default config file names (config.edn, config.clj and config.json)
    • ability to override the defaults


[sonian/carica "1.2.2"]

;; *or*, when not using JSON config files:
[sonian/carica "1.2.2" :exclusions [[cheshire]]]

Carica looks for the config files on the classpath.

Leiningen will add a directory called "resources" to the classpath even though the directory is not created by default, so create a "resources" directory at the root of your project. Now, create and open "resources/config.edn" in your favorite editor. (The following will be evaluated by the eval middleware.)

{:foobar-timeout 300 #_"In seconds"
 :favorite-hour-of-day 8 #_"0-23"
 :blacklist nil
 :export-dir "/mnt/export"
 :timeout-ms (* 20 60 1000) #_"20 minutes"
 :db {:classname "org.postgresql.Driver"
      :subprotocol "postgresql"
      :subname "//localhost/test"
      :username "cosmo"
      :password "toomanysecrets"}}

(If you're wondering about the #_"" comments, we've found that they're less prone to errors in the configuration files. That is, from accidental newlines or from pulling up the closing brace into a line with a ;; comment.)


Now, with all of that in place, open a new REPL session:

(use '[carica.core])

(config :export-dir)
;;=> "/mnt/export"

(config :db :username)
;;=> "cosmo"

(config :blacklist)
;;=> nil

(config :non-existent-key)
;;=> nil (with a warning message logged)

That's it!

Overriding the defaults

Maybe you already have a config file with a different name, or a config.edn that you use for a different purpose. No problem. To override what files Carica loads you can create your own config function using the configurer function.

Given a list of resources in the format expected by get-configs, configurer will return a function to query configuration. The list of resources can contain Strings, Files or URLs.

If you override the default config function in this manner you must also override the override-config function if you intend to use it.

(ns my-proj.config
  (:require [carica.core :refer [configurer

(def config (configurer (resources "proj_config.edn")))
(def override-config (overrider config))

Calling my-proj.config/config will work the same as calling carica.core/config except that it will use your config file.


You can change the resulting config map in Carica by adding middleware. For instance, if you trust the data you are reading and want to have it evaluated, there is an eval-config middleware provided. If you want the config to be read only once from disk, you can use the cache-config middleware.

(ns my-proj.config
  (:require [carica.core :refer [configurer

(def config (configurer (resources "proj_config.edn")

In typical middleware fashion, eval-config and cache-config are functions that take a function as their only argument and return a function that takes a list of resources as its only input. For instance, an example cache-config function:

(defn cache-config
  "Config middleware that will cache the config map so that it is
  loaded only once."
  (memoize (fn [resources]
             (f resources))))

Middleware options

Middleware can also expose some internal state and options to the outside world by wrapping the function that is returned. As an example, the actual cache-config function:

(defn cache-config
  "Config middleware that will cache the config map so that it is
  loaded only once."
  (let [mem (atom {})]
     (fn [resources]
       (if-let [e (find @mem resources)]
         (val e)
         (let [ret (f resources)]
           (swap! mem assoc resources ret)
     {:carica/mem mem})))

This ultimately returns:

{:carica/options {:carica/mem <the-cache-atom>}
 :carica/fn <the-config-fn>}

This map is built up from all of the defined middleware so the keys used in the cache-config function should be unique. To access the options, call config as normal with the beginning path of :carica/middleware.

For example:

(swap! (cached-cfg :carica/middleware :carica/mem) empty)

Note: Specifically in the the cache-config case there is a clear-config-cache! function that can be called. See the doc for that function if you use a custom defined config function.

File types

Out of the box Carica supports Clojure, EDN, and JSON config files. More can be added as described below.

Differences between EDN and CLJ files

There are some differences in behavior between EDN and CLJ. Clojure config files will be loaded by the Clojure reader and will read-eval forms if *read-eval* is true. EDN config files, however, do not support any notion of read-eval. The eval middleware will still evaluate it.

There are also some differences in how some forms are read. For instance, {:foo '[a b c]} will prevent an EDN config file from loading but will load as {:foo (quote [a b c])} in a CLJ config file.

Extend Carica to support additional file types

(defmethod carica/load-config :carica/yaml [resource]
    ;; ... 
    (catch Throwable t
      (log/warn t "error reading config" resource)
       (Exception. (str "error reading config " resource) t)))))

To reuse the existing parsers for a different file extension:

(derive :carica/cfg :carica/edn)


Sometimes, during tests, it's handy to be able to override config values:

(with-redefs [config (override-config :db :password "swordfish")]

  (config :db :password)
  ;;=> "swordfish"

  (config :db :username))
  ;;=> "cosmo"


(with-redefs [config (override-config :db {:username "wagstaff"
                                           :password "swordfish"})]
  (config :db :password)
  ;;=> "swordfish"

  (config :db :username))
  ;;=> "wagstaff"

Only the provided values will be overwritten.

Mind the Classpath

Carica looks for resources on the classpath and merges them in order, meaning that configuration files earlier in the classpath will take precedence over those that come later.

When using Leiningen the classpath is built such that test comes first, then src, followed by resources-path. Keep the order in mind when dealing with multiple configuration files with Leiningen and when building the classpath by hand.


Copyright © 2012-2016 Sonian, Inc.

Distributed under the Eclipse Public License, the same as Clojure.


Carica is a flexible configuration library.






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