Support for Dictionaries

YAMLCONF uses the “.” character to identify attributes defined as part of a dictionary, e.g., the DATABASES attribute. To set, e.g., the password for a database connection:

DATABASES.default.PASSWORD: some-secret-password

It is considered an error if dotted name refers to a settings attribute that is not an dictionary, the setting is ignored by YAMLCONF.

The dotted notation should be used to update dictionaries already defined in the settings file. To add a new dictionary, a YAML dictionary definition should be used, e.g.,:

    key1: value1
    key2: value2

Attribute Substitution

Frequently, attributes values are defined in terms of other attribute values, most commonly using the base directory to define other directories. The YAMLCONF allows other attributes to be referenced using the Python named formatting syntax, e.g.,:


Currently only attributes defined via YAML files can be used in this way. To disable this on a per-attribute basis, the :raw qualifier should be defined to modify the behaviour for attribute, e.g.,:

LOGGING.formatters.simple.format: '%(asctime)s %(levelname)s %(message)s'
LOGGING.formatters.simple.format:raw: True

Hiding values

The YAMLCONF includes an experimental view to handle URLs to display attributes (should only be used in a debugging context), e.g., adding the URL definition to your application:

url(r'^yamlconf/', include('django_yamlconf.urls')),

will display the YAMLCONF attributes. For older versions of Django, the namespace needs to be explictly defined:

url(r'^yamlconf/', include('django_yamlconf.urls', namespace='django_yamlconf')),

An example of the page displayed is:


Attributes Index Page

By default, any attribute value with the string PASSWORD in the name will have their values hidden in the HTML displayed. Other, sensitive, values can be explicitly hidden by defining the qualifier attribute :hide, e.g.,:

APIKEY: 'my-api-key'
APIKEY:hide: True

Extending Values

For list values, the qualifier attributes :prepend and :append can be used to extend the underlying definition, e.g., add another admin user, the following definition can be used:

ADMINS:append: ''

The value of :prepend or :append qualified attribute can be either a single value, as above, or a list of values. When a list is given, the attribute is extend with the extra values, e.g.,:

  - ''
  - ''

Normally, list values in the settings file are simply unordered lists. There are, however, some values where the order matters, in particular, the MIDDLEWARE list. A middleware that short-circuits the handling of requests would need to be placed at the beginning of the list. This is the rationale for the :prepend functionality.

Pre-defined Attributes

The YAMLCONF module predefines the following attributes which can be used, along with other attributed defined, via attribute substitution:

BASE_DIR The directory containing the file

PYTHON This is a dictionary giving the major, minor, micro, releaselevel serial values for the Python interpretor

OS_MACHINE The value of the platform.machine() function, e.g., x86_64

OS_NODE The value of the platform.node() function, the system short name

OS_PROCESSOR The value of the platform.machine() function, e.g., x86_64

OS_RELEASE The value of the platform.release() function, e.g., 4.4.0-101-generic

OS_SYSTEM The value of the platform.system() function, e.g., Linux

TOP_DIR The directory above BASE_DIR

USER The login name of the current user

VIRTUAL_ENV If run within a Python virtual environment, this attribute is defined to be the path to the environment, otherwise it has the value None

Attribute Documentation

Appending :doc to an attribute name in a YAML file defines a documentation string for the attribute. This should be used to give information on the expected value for the attribute and how the value might differ on production, beta and development servers, e.g., documentation for the DEBUG attribute would be defined using the YAML:

DEBUG:doc: |
    Enable or disable debugging functionality.  On the production server
    this attribute should be set to false

Typical Structure

On a typical production system for the “buildaudit” app, a local buildaudit.yaml would exist in, e.g., the /var/www directory. This would contain the production passwords, debug settings, etc. Under this directory, a webapps directory could contain another buildaudit.yaml file possibly generated by a build process which could define attributes identifying the build, the Git Hash for the code, build time, etc. Finally, a buildaudit.yaml file co-located with the file giving the base attributes and their documentation strings:

+- /var/www
    +- buildaudit.yaml
    +- webapps
       +- buildaudit.yaml
       +- buildaudit
           +- buildaudit.yaml