Skip to content


Repository files navigation

Build Status Coverage Status Go Report Card GoDoc


gonfig is a configuration library designed using the following principles:

  1. The configuration variables are fully specified and loaded into a struct variable.
  2. You only need one statement to load the configuration fully.
  3. Configuration variables can be retrieved from various sources, in this order of increasing priority:
    • default values from the struct definition
    • the value already in the object when passed into Load()
    • config file in either YAML, TOML, JSON or a custom decoder
    • environment variables
    • command line flags

Furthermore, it has the following features:

  • supported types for interpreting:

    • native Go types: all int, uint, string, bool
    • types that implement TextUnmarshaler from the "encoding" package
    • byte slices ([]byte) are interpreted as base64
    • slices of the above mentioned types
    • map[string]interface{}
  • the location of the config file can be passed through command line flags or environment variables

  • printing help message (and hiding individual flags)


Documentation can be found on

// Load loads the configuration of your program in the struct at c.
// Use conf to specify how gonfig should look for configuration variables.
// This method can panic if there was a problem in the configuration struct that
// is used (which should not happen at runtime), but will always try to produce
// an error instead if the user provided incorrect values.
// The recognised tags on the exported struct variables are:
//  - id: the keyword identifier (defaults to lowercase of variable name)
//  - default: the default value of the variable
//  - short: the shorthand used for command line flags (like -h)
//  - desc: the description of the config var, used in --help
//  - opts: comma-separated flags.  Supported flags are:
//     - hidden: Hides the option from help outputs.
func Load(c interface{}, conf Conf) error

// Conf is used to specify the intended behavior of gonfig.
type Conf struct {
	// ConfigFileVariable is the config variable that will be read before looking
	// for a config file.  If no value is specified in the environment variables
	// of the command line flags, the default config file will be read.
	// This flag should be defined in the config file struct and referred to here
	// by its ID.  The default value for this variable is obviously ignored.
	ConfigFileVariable string

	// FileDisable disabled reading config variables from the config file.
	FileDisable bool
	// FileDefaultFilename is the default filename to look for for the config
	// file.  If this is empty and no filename is explicitly provided, parsing
	// a config file is skipped.
	FileDefaultFilename string
	// FileDecoder specifies the decoder function to be used for decoding the
	// config file.  The following decoders are provided, but the user can also
	// specify a custom decoder function:
	//  - DecoderYAML
	//  - DecoderTOML
	//  - DecoderJSON
	// If no decoder function is provided, gonfig tries to guess the function
	// based on the file extension and otherwise tries them all in the above
	// mentioned order.
	FileDecoder FileDecoderFn

	// FlagDisable disabled reading config variables from the command line flags.
	FlagDisable bool
	// FlagIgnoreUnknown ignores unknown command line flags instead of stopping
	// with an error message.
	FlagIgnoreUnknown bool

	// EnvDisables disables reading config variables from the environment
	// variables.
	EnvDisable bool
	// EnvPrefix is the prefix to use for the the environment variables.
	// gonfig does not add an underscore after the prefix.
	EnvPrefix string

	// HelpDisable disables printing the help message when the --help or -h flag
	// is provided.  If this is false, an explicit --help flag will be added.
	HelpDisable bool
	// HelpMessage is the message printed before the list of the flags when the
	// user sets the --help flag.
	// The default is "Usage of [executable name]:".
	HelpMessage string
	// HelpDescription is the description to print for the help flag.
	// By default, this is "show this help menu".
	HelpDescription string


type Config struct {
	Color       string `short:"c" default:"red" desc:"color of the thing"`
	Number      int    `short:"n" desc:"number of things"`

    // Use 'id' to change the name of a flag.
	ConfigFile  string `id:"config" short:"C"`
var config = Config {
	// alternative way to set default values; they overwrite the ones in the struct
	Number: 42, 

// You can also create the config variable inline.
var config = struct {
	Color  string `short:"c" default:"red" desc:"color of the thing"`

func main() {
	err := gonfig.Load(&config, gonfig.Conf{
		ConfigFileVariable: "config", // enables passing --configfile myfile.conf

		FileDefaultFilename: "myapp.conf",
        // The default decoder will try TOML, YAML and JSON.
		FileDecoder: gonfig.DecoderTOML,

		EnvPrefix: "MYAPP_",


gonfig is licensed by an MIT license as can be found in the LICENSE file.