path: root/Documentation/technical/api-config.txt
diff options
authorJeff King <>2012-02-06 09:53:46 (GMT)
committerJunio C Hamano <>2012-02-06 22:18:21 (GMT)
commit9c3c22e2bf6cf05297556936666c8578e160c366 (patch)
tree9e1daa01cf6156e7b43c1544c4e9209f4544d6d3 /Documentation/technical/api-config.txt
parent828ea97de486c1693d6e4f2c7347acb50235a85d (diff)
docs: add a basic description of the config API
This wasn't documented at all; this is pretty bare-bones, but it should at least give new git hackers a basic idea of how the reading side works. Signed-off-by: Jeff King <> Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
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+config API
+The config API gives callers a way to access git configuration files
+(and files which have the same syntax). See linkgit:git-config[1] for a
+discussion of the config file syntax.
+General Usage
+Config files are parsed linearly, and each variable found is passed to a
+caller-provided callback function. The callback function is responsible
+for any actions to be taken on the config option, and is free to ignore
+some options (it is not uncommon for the configuration to be parsed
+several times during the run of a git program, with different callbacks
+picking out different variables useful to themselves).
+A config callback function takes three parameters:
+- the name of the parsed variable. This is in canonical "flat" form: the
+ section, subsection, and variable segments will be separated by dots,
+ and the section and variable segments will be all lowercase. E.g.,
+ `core.ignorecase`, `diff.SomeType.textconv`.
+- the value of the found variable, as a string. If the variable had no
+ value specified, the value will be NULL (typically this means it
+ should be interpreted as boolean true).
+- a void pointer passed in by the caller of the config API; this can
+ contain callback-specific data
+A config callback should return 0 for success, or -1 if the variable
+could not be parsed properly.
+Basic Config Querying
+Most programs will simply want to look up variables in all config files
+that git knows about, using the normal precedence rules. To do this,
+call `git_config` with a callback function and void data pointer.
+`git_config` will read all config sources in order of increasing
+priority. Thus a callback should typically overwrite previously-seen
+entries with new ones (e.g., if both the user-wide `~/.gitconfig` and
+repo-specific `.git/config` contain `color.ui`, the config machinery
+will first feed the user-wide one to the callback, and then the
+repo-specific one; by overwriting, the higher-priority repo-specific
+value is left at the end).
+There is a special version of `git_config` called `git_config_early`
+that takes an additional parameter to specify the repository config.
+This should be used early in a git program when the repository location
+has not yet been determined (and calling the usual lazy-evaluation
+lookup rules would yield an incorrect location).
+Reading Specific Files
+To read a specific file in git-config format, use
+`git_config_from_file`. This takes the same callback and data parameters
+as `git_config`.
+Value Parsing Helpers
+To aid in parsing string values, the config API provides callbacks with
+a number of helper functions, including:
+Parse the string to an integer, including unit factors. Dies on error;
+otherwise, returns the parsed result.
+Identical to `git_config_int`, but for unsigned longs.
+Parse a string into a boolean value, respecting keywords like "true" and
+"false". Integer values are converted into true/false values (when they
+are non-zero or zero, respectively). Other values cause a die(). If
+parsing is successful, the return value is the result.
+Same as `git_config_bool`, except that integers are returned as-is, and
+an `is_bool` flag is unset.
+Same as `git_config_bool`, except that it returns -1 on error rather
+than dying.
+Allocates and copies the value string into the `dest` parameter; if no
+string is given, prints an error message and returns -1.
+Similar to `git_config_string`, but expands `~` or `~user` into the
+user's home directory when found at the beginning of the path.
+Writing Config Files