Dotconf / docs / schema / containers.rst

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Section container

Typically, this class has to be derived to specify accepted key for the section:

class MySection(Section):

    a_key = Value(Integer())

A section can also be defined imperatively:

>>> section = MySection()
>>> section.add('another_key', Value(Integer()))


A section can hold some metadata, for example to define arguments schema or how many time the section can appear. This metadata can be defined in several different ways:

  • In the _meta dict of a section definition (metadata are inherited from parent classes):

    class MySection(Section):
        _meta = {'unique': True}
  • In the meta dict of a section object:

    >>> section = MySection()
    >>> section.meta['unique'] = True
  • In keyword parameters on instance initialization:

    >>> section = MySection(unique=True)

Accepted metadata


The args metadata (default None) store the container used to validate the section argument (value between the section name and the opening brace). You can use any type of container but a :class:`Section`.

If the metadata is set to None (the default), argument for the section is forbidden.


class MySection(Section):
    _meta = {'args': Value(String())}


This meta can't be defined for the __top__ section.


The unique metadata (default False) can be used to prevent multiple section to have the same arguments.

For example if you have a section with this kind of schema:

class MySubSection(Section):
    _meta = {'args': Value(String()), 'unique': True}

class MySection(Section):
    sub = MySubSection()

And a configuration file with this content:

sub "foo" {...}
sub "bar" {...}
sub "foo" {...}

The last "foo" section will throw a validation error because an another "sub" section already exists with this argument.


This meta can't be defined for the __top__ section.


The repeat metadata (default to (1, 1)) allow to define how many time the section can appear. The first value is the minimum number of times, and the second the maximum number of time.

Values must be non-negative integers, and the first must be smaller or equal to the second. The second value can be set to None to express the infinite value.


  • (1, 1): the section must appear once
  • (1, 2): the section must appear one or two times
  • (0, 1): the section is optionnal and can appear once
  • (0, None): the section is optionnal and can appear an infinite number of times
  • (1, None): the section mut appear at least once

Some shortcut are available in the :mod:`dotconf.schema.containers` module:

  • once -> (1, 1)
  • many -> (0, None)


This meta can't be defined for the __top__ section.


The allow_unknow metadata (default to False) allow the user to set value which are not defined in the section schema. Unknown data are then available in the validated section.

Value container

Choice container

List containers

Array containers