IniFiles(3)           User Contributed Perl Documentation          IniFiles(3)

       Config::IniFiles - A module for reading .ini-style configuration files.

         use Config::IniFiles;
         my $cfg = new Config::IniFiles( -file => "/path/configfile.ini" );
         print "We have parm " . $cfg->val( 'Section', 'Parameter' ) . "."
               if $cfg->val( 'Section', 'Parameter' );

       Config::IniFiles provides a way to have readable configuration files
       outside your Perl script.  Configurations can be imported (inherited,
       stacked,...), sections can be grouped, and settings can be accessed
       from a tied hash.

       INI files consist of a number of sections, each preceded with the
       section name in square brackets.  The first non-blank character of the
       line indicating a section must be a left bracket and the last nonblank
       character of a line indicating a section must be a right bracket. The
       characters making up the section name can be any symbols at all.
       However section names must be unique.

       Parameters are specified in each section as Name=Value.  Any spaces
       around the equals sign will be ignored, and the value extends to the
       end of the line. Parameter names are localized to the namespace of the
       section, but must be unique within a section.


       Both the hash mark (#) and the semicolon (;) are comment characters.
       Lines that begin with either of these characters will be ignored.  Any
       amount of whitespace may preceed the comment character.

       Multiline or multi-valued parameters may also be defined ala UNIX "here
       document" syntax:

         value/line 1
         value/line 2

       You may use any string you want in place of "EOT".  Note that what
       follows the "<<" and what appears at the end of the text MUST match
       exactly, including any trailing whitespace.

USAGE -- Object Interface
       Get a new Config::IniFiles object with the new method:

         $cfg = Config::IniFiles->new( -file => "/path/configfile.ini" );
         $cfg = new Config::IniFiles -file => "/path/configfile.ini";

       Optional named parameters may be specified after the configuration file
       name.  See the new in the METHODS section, below.

       Values from the config file are fetched with the val method:

         $value = $cfg->val('Section', 'Parameter');

       If you want a multi-line/value field returned as an array, just specify
       an array as the receiver:

         @values = $cfg->val('Section', 'Parameter');

       new ( [-option=>value ...] )

       Returns a new configuration object (or "undef" if the configuration
       file has an error).  One Config::IniFiles object is required per
       configuration file.  The following named parameters are available:

       -file  filename
                 Specifies a file to load the parameters from. This 'file' may
                 actually be any of the following things:

                   1) a simple filehandle, such as STDIN
                   2) a filehandle glob, such as *CONFIG
                   3) a reference to a glob, such as \*CONFIG
                   4) an IO::File object
                   5) the pathname of a file

                 If this option is not specified, (i.e. you are creating a
                 config file from scratch) you must specify a target file
                 using SetFileName in order to save the parameters.

       -default section
                 Specifies a section to be used for default values. For
                 example, if you look up the "permissions" parameter in the
                 "users" section, but there is none, Config::IniFiles will
                 look to your default section for a "permissions" value before
                 returning undef.

       -reloadwarn 0⎪1
                 Set -reloadwarn => 1 to enable a warning message (output to
                 STDERR) whenever the config file is reloaded.  The reload
                 message is of the form:

                   PID <PID> reloading config file <file> at YYYY.MM.DD HH:MM:SS

                 Default behavior is to not warn (i.e. -reloadwarn => 0).

       -nocase 0⎪1
                 Set -nocase => 1 to handle the config file in a case-
                 insensitive manner (case in values is preserved, however).
                 By default, config files are case-sensitive (i.e., a section
                 named 'Test' is not the same as a section named 'test').
                 Note that there is an added overhead for turning off case

       -import object
                 This allows you to import or inherit existing setting from
                 another Config::IniFiles object. When importing settings from
                 another object, sections with the same name will be merged
                 and parameters that are defined in both the imported object
                 and the -file will take the value of given in the -file.

                 If a -default section is also given on this call, and it does
                 not coincide with the default of the imported object, the new
                 default section will be used instead. If no -default section
                 is given, then the default of the imported object will be

       val ($section, $parameter)

       Returns the value of the specified parameter ($parameter) in section
       $section, returns undef if no section or no parameter for the given
       section section exists.

       If you want a multi-line/value field returned as an array, just specify
       an array as the receiver:

         @values = $cfg->val('Section', 'Parameter');

       setval ($section, $parameter, $value, [ $value2, ... ])

       Sets the value of parameter $parameter in section $section to $value
       (or to a set of values).  See below for methods to write the new
       configuration back out to a file.

       You may not set a parameter that didn't exist in the original
       configuration file.  setval will return undef if this is attempted. See
       newval below to do this. Otherwise, it returns 1.

       newval($section, $parameter, $value [, $value2, ...])

       Assignes a new value, $value (or set of values) to the parameter
       $parameter in section $section in the configuration file.

       delval($section, $parameter)

       Deletes the specified parameter from the configuration file


       Forces the configuration file to be re-read. Returns undef if the file
       can not be opened, no filename was defined (with the -file option) when
       the object was constructed, or an error occurred while reading.

       If an error occurs while parsinf the INI file the
       @Config::IniFiles::errors array will contain messages that might help
       you figure out where the problem is in the file.


       Returns an array containing section names in the configuration file.
       If the nocase option was turned on when the config object was created,
       the section names will be returned in lowercase.

       SectionExists ( $sect_name )

       Returns 1 if the specified section exists in the INI file, 0 otherwise
       (undefined if section_name is not defined).

       AddSection ( $sect_name )

       Ensures that the named section exists in the INI file. If the section
       already exists, nothing is done. In this case, the "new" section will
       possibly contain data already.

       If you really need to have a new section with no parameters in it,
       check that the name that you're adding isn't in the list of sections

       DeleteSection ( $sect_name )

       Completely removes the entire section from the configuration.

       Parameters ($sect_name)

       Returns an array containing the parameters contained in the specified


       Returns an array containing the names of available groups.

       Groups are specified in the config file as new sections of the form

         [GroupName MemberName]

       This is useful for building up lists.  Note that parameters within a
       "member" section are referenced normally (i.e., the section name is
       still "Groupname Membername", including the space) - the concept of
       Groups is to aid people building more complex configuration files.

       SetGroupMember ( $sect )

       Makes sure that the specified section is a member of the appropriate

       Only intended for use in newval.

       RemoveGroupMember ( $sect )

       Makes sure that the specified section is no longer a member of the
       appropriate group. Only intended for use in DeleteSection.

       GroupMembers ($group)

       Returns an array containing the members of specified $group. Each
       element of the array is a section name. For example, given the sections

         [Group Element 1]

         [Group Element 2]

       GroupMembers would return ("Group Element 1", "Group Element 2").

       WriteConfig ($filename)

       Writes out a new copy of the configuration file.  A temporary file
       (ending in .new) is written out and then renamed to the specified
       filename.  Also see BUGS below.


       Same as WriteConfig, but specifies that the original configuration file
       should be rewritten.

       SetFileName ($filename)

       If you created the Config::IniFiles object without initialising from a
       file, or if you just want to change the name of the file to use for
       ReadConfig/RewriteConfig from now on, use this method.

       Returns $filename if that was a valid name, undef otherwise.

       SetSectionComment($section, @comment)

       Sets the comment for section $section to the lines contained in
       @comment.  Each comment line will be prepended with "#" if it doesn't
       already have a comment character (ie: if $line !~ m/^\s*[#;]/)

       To clear a section comment, use DeleteSectionComment ($section)

       GetSectionComment ($section)

       Returns a list of lines, being the comment attached to section
       $section. In scalar context, returns a string containing the lines of
       the comment separated by newlines.

       The lines are presented as-is, with whatever comment character was
       originally used on that line.

       DeleteSectionComment ($section)

       Removes the comment for the specified section.

       SetParameterComment ($section, $parameter, @comment)

       Sets the comment attached to a particular parameter.

       Any line of @comment that does not have a comment character will be
       prepended with "#".

       GetParameterComment ($sect, $parm)

       Gets the comment attached to a parameter.

       DeleteParameterComment ($sect, $parm)

       Deletes the comment attached to a parameter.

       GetParameterEOT ($section, $parameter)

       Accessor method for the EOT text (in fact, style) of the specified
       parameter. If any text is used as an EOT mark, this will be returned.
       If the parameter was not recorded using HERE style multiple lines,
       GetParameterEOT returns undef.

       SetParameterEOT ($section, $EOT)

       Accessor method for the EOT text for the specified parameter. Sets the
       HERE style marker text to the value $EOT. Once the EOT text is set,
       that parameter will be saved in HERE style.

       To un-set the EOT text, use DeleteParameterEOT ($section, $parameter).

       DeleteParameterEOT ($sect, $parm)

       Removes the EOT marker for the given section and parameter.  When
       writing a configuration file, if no EOT marker is defined then "EOT" is


       Deletes the entire configuration file in memory.

USAGE -- Tied Hash
       tie $ini, 'Config::IniFiles', (-file=>$filename, [-option=>value ...] )

       Using tie, you can tie a hash to a Config::IniFiles object. This
       creates a new object which you can access through your hash, so you use
       this instead of the new method. This actually creates a hash of hashes
       to access the values in the INI file. The options you provide through
       tie are the same as given for the new method, above.

       Here's an example:

         use Config::IniFiles;

         my %ini
         tie %ini, 'Config::IniFiles', ( -file => "/path/configfile.ini" );

         print "We have $ini{Section}{Parameter}." if $ini{Section}{Parameter};

       Accessing and using the hash works just like accessing a regular hash
       and many of the object methods are made available through the hash

       For those methods that do not coincide with the hash paradigm, you can
       use the Perl tied function to get at the underlying object tied to the
       hash and call methods on that object. For example, to write the hash
       out to a new ini file, you would do something like this:

         tied( %ini )->WriteConfig( "/newpath/newconfig.ini" ) ⎪⎪
           die "Could not write settings to new file.";

       $val = $ini{$section}{$parameter}

       Returns the value of $parameter in $section.

       Because of limitations in Perl's tie implementation, multiline values
       accessed through a hash will always be returned as a single value with
       each line joined by the default line separator ($\). To break them
       apart you can simple do this:

         @lines = split( "$\", $ini{section}{multi_line_parameter} );

       $ini{$section}{$parameter} = $value;

       Sets the value of $parameter in $section to $value.

       To set a multiline or multiv-alue parameter just assign an array
       reference to the hash entry, like this:

        $ini{$section}{$parameter} = [$value1, $value2, ...];

       If the parameter did not exist in the original file, it will be
       created. However, Perl does not seem to extend autovivification to tied
       hashes. That means that if you try to say

         $ini{new_section}{new_paramters} = $val;

       and the section 'new_section' does not exist, then Perl won't properly
       create it. In order to work around this you will need to create a hash
       reference in that section and then assign the parameter value.
       Something like this should do nicely:

         $ini{new_section} = {};
         $ini{new_section}{new_paramters} = $val;

       %hash = %{$ini{$section}}

       Using the tie interface, you can copy whole sections of the ini file
       into another hash. Note that this makes a copy of the entire section.
       The new hash in no longer tied to the ini file, In particular, this
       means -default and -nocase settings will not apply to %hash.

       $ini{$section} = {}; %{$ini{$section}} = %parameters;

       Through the hash interface, you have the ability to replace the entire
       section with a new set of parameters. This call will fail, however, if
       the argument passed in NOT a hash reference. You must use both lines,
       as shown above so that Perl recognizes the section as a hash reference
       context before COPYing over the values from your %parameters hash.

       delete $ini{$section}{$parameter}

       When tied to a hash, you can use the Perl delete function to completely
       remove a parameter from a section.

       delete $ini{$section}

       The tied interface also allows you to delete an entire section from the
       ini file using the Perl delete function.

       %ini = ();

       If you really want to delete all the items in the ini file, this will
       do it. Of course, the changes won't be written to the actual file
       unless you call RewriteConfig on the object tied to the hash.

       Parameter names

       my @keys = keys %{$ini{$section}}

       while (($k, $v) = each %{$ini{$section}}) {...}

       if( exists %{$ini{$section}}, $parameter ) {...}

       When tied to a hash, you use the Perl keys and each functions to
       iteratively list the parameters (keys) or parameters and their values
       (each) in a given section.

       You can also use the Perl exists function to see if a parameter is
       defined in a given section.

       Note that none of these will return parameter names that are part if
       the default section (if set), although accessing an unknown parameter
       in the specified section will return a value from the default section
       if there is one.

       Section names

       foreach( keys %ini ) {...}

       while (($k, $v) = each %ini) {...}

       if( exists %ini, $section ) {...}

       When tied to a hash, you use the Perl keys and each functions to
       iteratively list the sections in the ini file.

       You can also use the Perl exists function to see if a section is
       defined in the file.


       Contains a list of errors encountered while parsing the configuration
       file.  If the new method returns undef, check the value of this to find
       out what's wrong.  This value is reset each time a config file is read.

       ·  The output from [Re]WriteConfig/OutputConfig might not be as pretty
          as it can be.  Comments are tied to whatever was immediately below
          them.  And case is not preserved for Section and Parameter names if
          the -nocase option was used.

       ·  No locking is done by [Re]WriteConfig.  When writing servers, take
          care that only the parent ever calls this, and consider making your
          own backup.

Data Structure
       Note that this is only a reference for the package maintainers - one of
       the upcoming revisions to this package will include a total clean up of
       the data structure.

         $iniconf->{cf} = "config_file_name"
                 ->{startup_settings} = \%orginal_object_parameters
                 ->{firstload} = 0
                 ->{nocase} = 0
                 ->{reloadwarn} = 0
                 ->{sects} = \@sections
                 ->{sCMT}{$sect} = \@comment_lines
                 ->{group}{$group} = \@group_members
                 ->{parms}{$sect} = \@section_parms
                 ->{EOT}{$sect}{$parm} = "end of text string"
                 ->{pCMT}{$sect}{$parm} = \@comment_lines
                 ->{v}{$sect}{$parm} = $value   OR  \@values

       The original code was written by Scott Hutton.  Then handled for a time
       by Rich Bowen (thanks!), It is now managed by Jeremy Wadsack, with many
       contributions from various other people.

       In particular, special thanks go to (in roughly chronological order):

       Bernie Cosell, Alan Young, Alex Satrapa, Mike Blazer, Wilbert van de
       Pieterman, Steve Campbell, Robert Konigsberg, Scott Dellinger, R.
       Bernstein, Jeremy Wadsack, Daniel Winkelmann, Pires Claudio, and Adrian

       Geez, that's a lot of people. And apologies to the folks who were

       If you want someone to bug about this, that would be:

               Jeremy Wadsack <dgsupport at wadsack-allen dot com>

       If you want more information, or want to participate, go to:


       Please send bug reports to

       Development discussion occurs on the mailing list config-inifiles-, which you can subscribe to by going to the
       project web site (link above).

       This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
       under the same terms as Perl itself.

Change log
            $Log:,v $
            Revision 2.27  2001/12/20 16:03:49  wadg
            - Fixed bug introduced in new valid file check where ';' comments in first lines were not considered valid
            - Rearranged some tests to put them in the proper files (case and -default)
            - Added more comment test to cover more cases
            - Fixed first two comments tests which weren't doing anything

            Revision 2.26  2001/12/19 22:20:50  wadg
            #481513 Recognize badly formatted files

            Revision 2.25  2001/12/12 20:44:48  wadg
            Update to bring CVS version in synch

            Revision 2.24  2001/12/07 10:03:06  wadg
            222444 Ability to load from arbitrary source

            Revision 2.23  2001/12/07 09:35:06  wadg
            Forgot to include updates t/test.ini

            Revision 2.22  2001/12/06 16:52:39  wadg
            Fixed bugs 482353,233372. Updated doc for new mgr.

            Revision 2.21  2001/08/14 01:49:06  wadg
            Bug fix: multiple blank lines counted as one
            Patched README change log to include recent updates

            Revision 2.20  2001/06/07 02:49:52  grail
             - Added checks for method parameters being defined
             - fixed some regexes to make them stricter
             - Fixed greps to make them consistent through the code (also a vain
               attempt to help my editors do syntax colouring properly)
             - Added AddSection method, replaced chunk of ReadConfig with AddSection
             - Added case handling stuff to more methods
             - Added RemoveGroupMember
             - Made variable names more consistent through OO methods
             - Restored Unix EOLs

            Revision 2.19  2001/04/04 23:33:40  wadg
            Fixed case sensitivity bug

            Revision 2.18  2001/03/30 04:41:08  rbowen
            Small documentation change in - pod2* was choking on misplaces
            =item tags. And I regenerated the README
            The main reason for this release is that the MANIFEST in the 2.17 version was
            missing one of the new test suite files, and that is included in this

            Revision 2.17  2001/03/21 21:05:12  wadg
            Documentation edits

            Revision 2.16  2001/03/21 19:59:09 wadg
            410327 -default not in original; 233255 substring parameters

            Revision 2.15  2001/01/30 11:46:48  rbowen
            Very minor documentation bug fixed.

            Revision 2.14  2001/01/08 18:02:32  wadg
            [Bug #127325] Fixed proken import; changelog; moved

            Revision 2.13  2000/12/18 07:14:41  wadg
            [Bugs# 122441,122437] Alien EOLs and OO delete method

            Revision 2.12  2000/12/18 04:59:37  wadg
            [Bug #125524] Writing multiline of 2 with tied hash

            Revision 2.11  2000/12/16 12:53:13  grail
            [BUG #122455] Problem with File Permissions

            Revision 2.10  2000/12/13 17:40:18  rbowen
            Updated version number so that CPAN will stop being angry with us.

            Revision 1.18  2000/12/08 00:45:35  grail
            Change as requested by Jeremy Wadsack, for Bug 123146

            Revision 1.17  2000/12/07 15:32:36  grail
            Further patch to duplicate sections bug, and replacement of repeated values handling code.

            Revision 1.14  2000/11/29 11:26:03  grail
            Updates for task 22401 (no more reloadsig) and 22402 (Group and GroupMember doco)

            Revision 1.13  2000/11/28 12:41:42  grail
            Added test for being able to add sections with wierd names like section⎪version2

            Revision 1.11  2000/11/24 21:20:11  rbowen
            Resolved SourceForge bug #122445 - a parameter should be split from its value on the first = sign encountered, not on the last one. Added test suite to test this, and put test case in test.ini

            Revision 1.10  2000/11/24 20:40:58  rbowen
            Updated MANIFEST to have file list of new files in t/
            Updated to have mention of sourceforge addresses, rather than addresses
            Regenerated README from

            Revision 1.9  2000/11/23 05:08:08  grail
            Fixed documentation for bug 122443 - Check that INI files can be created from scratch.

            Revision  2000/11/10 03:04:01  rbowen
            Initial checkin of the Config::IniFiles source to SourceForge

            Revision 1.8  2000/10/17 01:52:55  rbowen
            Patch from Jeremy. Fixed "defined" warnings.

            Revision 1.7  2000/09/21 11:19:17  rbowen
            Mostly documentation changes. I moved the change log into the POD rather
            than having it in a separate Changes file. This allows people to see the
            changes in the Readme before they download the module. Now I just
            need to make sure I remember to regenerate the Readme every time I do
            a commit.

            1.6 September 19, 2000 by JW, AS
            * Applied several patches submitted to me by Jeremy and Alex.
            * Changed version number to the CVS version number, so that I won't
            have to think about changing it ever again. Big version change
            should not be taken as a huge leap forward.

            0.12 September 13, 2000 by JW/WADG
            * Added documentation to clarify autovivification issues when
            creating new sections
            * Fixed version number (Oops!)

            0.11 September 13, 2000 by JW/WADG
            * Applied patch to Group and GroupMembers functions to return empty
            list when no groups are present (submitted by John Bass, Sep 13)

            0.10 September 13, 2000 by JW/WADG
            * Fixed reference in POD to ReWriteFile. changes to RewriteConfig
            * Applied patch for failed open bug submitted by Mordechai T. Abzug Aug 18
            * Doc'd behavior of failed open
            * Removed planned SIG testing from as SIGs have been removed
            * Applied patch from Thibault Deflers to fix bug in parameter list
            when a parameter value is undef

            Hey! Where's the change log for 0.09?

            2000-07-30  Adrian Phillips  <>

            * Fixed some tests which use $\, and made those that try
            to check a non existant val check against ! defined.

            * hopefully fixed use of $\ when this is unset
            (problems found when running tests with -w).  Similar problem with
            $/ which can be undefined and trying to return a val which does
            not exist. Modified val docs section to indicate a undef return
            when this occurs.

            Looks like we missed a change log for 0.07. Bummer.

            0.06 Sun Jun 25, 2000 by Daniel Winkelmann
            * Patch for uninitialized value bug in newval and setval

            0.05 Sun Jun 18, 2000 by RBOW
            * Added something to shut up -w on VERSIONS
            * Removed unused variables

            0.04 Thu Jun 15 - Fri Jun 16, 2000 by JW/WADG
            * Added support for -import option on ->new
            * Added support for tying a hash
            * Edited POD for grammer, clarity and updates
            * Updated file
            * Fixed bug in multiline/single line output
            * Fixed bug in default handling with tie interface
            * Added bugs to for regression
            * Fixed bug in {group} vs. {groups} property (first is valid)
            * Fixed return value for empty {sects} or {parms}{$sect} in
            Sections and Parameters methods

            0.03 Thu Jun 15, 2000 by RBOW
            * Modifications to permit 'use strict', and to get 'make test' working

            0.02 Tue Jun 13, 2000 by RBOW
            * Fixed bug reported by Bernie Cosell - Sections, Parameters,
            and GroupMembers return undef if there are no sections,
            parameters, or group members. These functions now return
            () if the particular value is undefined.
            * Added some contributed documentation, from Alex Satrapa, explaining
            how the internal data structure works.
            * Set up a project on SourceForge. (Not a change, but worth
            * Added Groups method to return a list of section groups.

            0.01  Mon Jun 12, 2000 by RBOW
            Some general code cleanup, in preparation for changes to
            come. Put up Majordomo mailing list and sent invitation to
            various people to join it.

3rd Berkeley Distribution    perl 5.005, patch 03                  IniFiles(3)