Master Configuration File

Basic Entry

To accurately check files, every entry and section must be provided in the master configuration file. Every entry must belong to a section. However, if an option is not registered (in the master config), inicheck will simply produce a warning to alert the user.

Consider the following entry for a configuration file:


          default = 60,
          type = int,
          description = Time interval that SMRF distributes data at in minutes

The example above specifies that the section time has an entry time_step with a default of 60 and should always be an integer. The end outcome is that inicheck requires all provided options for time_step are integers. If the user didn’t provide it, inicheck will add the default.

The attributes describing/constraining an entry are:

  • default - the default value to use for this entry when not provided
  • type - the type the value should be casted into, if it is not castable, then throw an error
  • options - a list of options that the entry value must be in.
  • description- a description of the entry to be used for documentation and self help
  • max - A Maximum value used for checking if a numeric input is under it.
  • min - A minimum value used for checking if a numeric input is over it.
  • allow_none - A Bool to check if None is an acceptable input

While these are the available attributes they are not required but always exist for each entry. If it is not provided in the master configuration file the following defaults are used.

  • default - None
  • type - str
  • options - None
  • description- ‘’
  • max - None
  • min - None
  • allow_none - True

if your options are set to none then inicheck assumes the entry can be unconstrained e.g. filenames are a great example where a user would not want a set list of available options.

Available Types

Each entry in the master config file can provide a type. If no type is provided, then the default is type string.

Note: Any path options with critical prepended just means that inicheck will throw an error instead of a warning.

Available types:

The following example required the users input to be a string, and must match nearest, linear, or cubic.

        default = linear,
        options = [nearest linear cubic],
        description = interpolation method to use for this variable

NOTE ON PATHS: All paths (filenames and directories) in inicheck are assumed to be either relative to the config file or absolute. e.g.

        default = ../log.txt,
        type = filename,
        description = path to log file

This will default to a path up one directory from the location of the config.

Notes on lists: Listed input checking can be performed. To assign a type as a list, simply add the keyword list to the type name. This will force the output to be a list and still check every entry in a provided list. To provide a list in inicheck master configs use bracketed space separated lists. An example of adding the list keyword and a list default is below

        default = [01-01 04-01 07-01 10-01] ,
        type = datetimelist
        description = List of datetimes to plot up for earnings


The master config can have recipes to generate certain adding or removing of entries in the users configuration file automatically.This can really help with config file bloat on the users end by only entering the information that matters to them. The the information that matters to the software can be added later by use of recipes.

Recipes are entered like sections but they must have the keyword recipe in the section name. Each recipe is composed of triggers and edits.

Recipe Triggers

A trigger describes the conditions for which you want to apply the edits to a configuration file. So you can think of a trigger as a conditional statement. Every trigger is distinguished from edits by having trigger in its entry name. This is required for inicheck to see the triggers!

Triggers can be defined using keywords and to create complex scenarios you can add more keywords. Recipe triggers have only a couple key words available:

  • has_section - if the configuration file has this section
  • has_item - It is provded using a bracketed, space delimited list in section > item order
  • has_value - This is the most flexible trigger provided. It is provded using a bracketed, space delimited list in section > item > value order.

Below is an example showing how a trigger can have multiple criteria that can create very specific conditions. Trigger entries can be provided in a comma separated fashion indicating that the conditions are compounded such that the recipe is applied only if all the entries are true. This allows developers to create highly specific scenarios to apply changes to a users configuration file.

       specific_trigger:  has_value = [cool_section cool_item],
                          has_section = test_section,
                          has_value = [super_section awesome_item crazy_value]

If a developer wants more broad conditions to apply changes this can be accomplished by providing another trigger which will be apply a recipe if either trigger is true.

       trigger_1:         has_value = [cool_section cool_item]
       trigger_2:         has_section = test_section
       trigger_3:         has_value = [super_section awesome_item crazy_value]


  • Triggers need to have the word trigger in its name
  • Triggers can compounded by using comma separated values (like an AND statement)
  • Triggers can be broadened by using multiple triggers (like an OR statement)

Recipe Edits

Recipe edits are simply anything in the recipe thats not a trigger and are the edits that will be made to the users configuration file if the recipe is triggered. If a keyword is not used then values are treated like section > item > value and assigned to the users configuration file.

Edits can be prescribed by section and item names under a recipe:

  some_trigger:   has_section = test_section

    module = module_name

The example above will assign the value module_name to the item module in the users section test_section if the configuration file has the section test_section

To simplify some entries there are a couple keywords available to reduce repeated actions. Available keywords for entries are:

  • apply_defaults - apply the defaults set in the section
  • remove_item - remove an item in this section
  • remove_section - remove an section in this section
  • default_item - Applies defaults to all the items provided in a space
    delimited list
trigger_type:       has_value = [topo type ipw]

topo:               type = ipw,
                    apply_defaults = [dem mask],
                    remove_item = filename

Using the entryword default

Any item can have the value default given to it which triggers inicheck to look for the default value specified in the master config file and apply during the application of a recipe.

Using the entryword ANY

To provide a little more flexibility and again avoid repeated entries, a developer can use the keyword any to capture more generic scenarios. This can be particularly useful when an item is repeated in multiple sections and the developer wants to have the same behavior.

Consider the following configuration file:

	distribution: dk

	distribution: dk

Let’s say in the above example we want to have dk_threads everytime a section has distribution: dk. So in the master configuration file we can add a recipe that uses the any keyword to use the same recipe for everytime this happens.

		default = idw,
		options = [idw dk]

		default = 2,
		type = int

		default = idw,
		options = [idw dk]

		default = 2,
		type = int


		has_value = [any distribution dk]
		dk_threads = default	

Recipe Example and Breakdown

The following example shows a recipe:

test_trigger:      has_section = csv
csv:          apply_defaults= true
mysql:        remove_section = true
gridded:      remove_section = true
  1. The section name here is identified as a recipe by having the recipe in the name.

2. The trigger is identified by having a name with the word trigger in it and is triggered when the user’s configuration file has a the section csv. 3. If the test_trigger condition is met then all the defaults will be applied to the csv section in the user’s configuration file because of the keyword apply_defaults 4. If the users config file contains the sections mysql and or gridded then they will be removed due to the keywords remove_section