IniConf - A Module for reading .ini-style configuration files


IniConf provides a way to have readable configuration files outside your Perl script. The configuration can be safely reloaded upon receipt of a signal.


Get a new IniConf object with the new method:

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

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

INI files consist of a number of sections, each preceeded with the section name in square brackets. 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

[section] Parameter=Value

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 multivalued fields 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.

See the METHODS section, below, for settable options.

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 (-file=>$filename, [-option=>value ...] )

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

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

-reloadsig signame
You may specify a signal (such as SIGHUP) that will cause the configuration file to be read. This is useful for static daemons where a full restart in order to realize a configuration change would be undesirable. Note that your application must be tolerant of the signal you choose. If a signal handler was already in place before the IniConf object is created, it will be called after the configuration file is reread. The signal handler will not be re-enabled until after the configuration file is reread any the previous signal handler returns.

-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

See your system documentation for information on valid signals.

-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 sensitivity.


val ($section, $parameter)

Returns the value of the specified parameter in section $section.

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

Sets the value of parameter $section 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. Otherwise, it returns 1.


Forces the config file to be re-read. Also see the -reloadsig option to the new method for a way to connect this method to a signal (such as SIGHUP).


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.

Parameters ($sectionname)

Returns an array containing the parameters contained in the specified section.

GroupMembers ($group)

Returns an array containing the members of specified $group. 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).

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.



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.




Version 0.9 (beta)


Scott Hutton (


Copyright (c) 1996 Scott Hutton. All rights reserved. This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.