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Config::INI::Reader - a subclassable .ini-file parser


version 0.029


If family.ini contains:

  admin = rjbs

  awesome = yes
  height = 5' 10"

  awesome = totally
  height = 23"

Then when your program contains:

  my $hash = Config::INI::Reader->read_file('family.ini');

$hash will contain:

    '_'  => { admin => 'rjbs' },
    rjbs => {
      awesome => 'yes',
      height  => q{5' 10"},
    mj   => {
      awesome => 'totally',
      height  => '23"',


Config::INI::Reader is yet another config module implementing yet another slightly different take on the undeniably easy to read ".ini" file format. Its default behavior is quite similar to that of Config::Tiny, on which it is based.

The chief difference is that Config::INI::Reader is designed to be subclassed to allow for side-effects and self-reconfiguration to occur during the course of reading its input.


This library should run on perls released even a long time ago. It should work on any version of perl released in the last five years.

Although it may work on older versions of perl, no guarantee is made that the minimum required version will not be increased. The version may be increased for any reason, and there is no promise that patches will be accepted to lower the minimum required perl.


These methods are all that most users will need: they read configuration from a source of input, then they return the data extracted from that input. There are three reader methods, read_string, read_file, and read_handle. The first two are implemented in terms of the third. It iterates over lines in a file, calling methods on the reader when events occur. Those events are detailed below in the "METHODS FOR SUBCLASSING" section.

All of the reader methods return an unblessed reference to a hash.

All throw an exception when they encounter an error.


  my $hash_ref = Config::INI::Reader->read_file($filename);

Given a filename, this method returns a hashref of the contents of that file.


  my $hash_ref = Config::INI::Reader->read_string($string);

Given a string, this method returns a hashref of the contents of that string.


  my $hash_ref = Config::INI::Reader->read_handle($io_handle);

Given an IO::Handle, this method returns a hashref of the contents of that handle.


These are the methods you need to understand and possibly change when subclassing Config::INI::Reader to handle a different format of input.


  my $section_name = $reader->current_section;

This method returns the name of the current section. If no section has yet been set, it returns the result of calling the starting_section method.


  my $name = $reader->parse_section_header($line, $handle);

Given a line of input, this method decides whether the line is a section-change declaration. If it is, it returns the name of the section to which to change. If the line is not a section-change, the method returns false.



This method is called whenever a section change occurs in the file.

The default implementation is to change the current section into which data is being read and to initialize that section to an empty hashref.


  my ($name, $value) = $reader->parse_value_assignment($line, $handle);

Given a line of input, this method decides whether the line is a property value assignment. If it is, it returns the name of the property and the value being assigned to it. If the line is not a property assignment, the method returns false.


  $reader->set_value($name, $value);

This method is called whenever an assignment occurs in the file. The default behavior is to change the value of the named property to the given value.


  my $section = Config::INI::Reader->starting_section;

This method returns the name of the starting section. The default is: _


  do_nothing if $reader->can_ignore($line, $handle)

This method returns true if the given line of input is safe to ignore. The default implementation ignores lines that contain only whitespace or comments.

This is run after preprocess_line.



This method is called to preprocess each line after it's read but before it's parsed. The default implementation just strips inline comments. Alterations to the line are made in place.


  $reader->handle_unparsed_line( $line, $handle );

This method is called when the reader encounters a line that doesn't look like anything it recognizes. By default, it throws an exception.



This method is called when the reader has finished reading in every line of the file.


  my $reader = Config::INI::Reader->new;

This method returns a new reader. This generally does not need to be called by anything but the various read_* methods, which create a reader object only ephemerally.


Originaly derived from Config::Tiny, by Adam Kennedy.


Ricardo Signes <>


This software is copyright (c) 2007 by Ricardo Signes.

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.