Configuring Bazaar

A configuration option has:

  • a name: a valid python identifier (even if it’s not used as an identifier in python itself)
  • a value: a unicode string


The Option object is used to define its properties:

  • name: a name: a valid python identifier (even if it’s not used as an identifier in python itself). This is also used to register the option.
  • default: the default value that Stack.get() should return if no value can be found for the option.

Since plugins should be able to lazily register options, the associated help is not part of the object but provided at registration time.


Options are grouped into sections which share some properties with the well known dict objects:

  • the key is the name,
  • you can get, set and remove an option,
  • the value is a unicode string.

MutableSection is needed to set or remove an option, ReadOnlySection should be used otherwise.


Options can be persistent in which case they are saved into Stores.

config.Store defines the abstract interface that all stores should implement.

This object doesn’t provide direct access to the options, it only provides access to Sections. This is deliberate to ensure that sections can be properly shared by reusing the same underlying objects. Accessing options should be done via the Section objects.

A Store can contain one or more sections, each section is uniquely identified by a unicode string.

config.ConfigObjStore is an implementation that use ConfigObj.

Depending on the object it is associated with (or not) a Store also needs to implement a locking mechanism. LockableConfigObjStore implements such a mechanism for ConfigObj based stores.

Classes are provided for the usual Bazaar configuration files and could be used as examples to define new ones if needed. The associated tests provides a basis for new classes which only need to register themselves in the right places to inherit from the existing basic tests and add their own specific ones.

Filtering sections

For some contexts, only some sections from a given store will apply. Defining which is what the SectionMatcher are about.

The main constraint here is that a SectionMatcher should delay the loading of the associated store as long as possible. The constructor should collect all data needed for the selection and uses it while processing the sections in get_sections.

Only ReadOnlySection objects are manipulated here but a SectionMatcher can return dedicated Section to provide additional context (the LocationSection add an extra_path attribute to implement the appendpath policy for example).


An option can take different values depending on the context it is used. Such a context can involve configuration files, options from the command line, default values in bzrlib and then some.

Such a context is implemented by creating a list of Section stacked upon each other. A Stack can then be asked for an option value and returns the first definition found.

This provides a great flexibility to decide priorities between sections when the stack is defined without to worry about them in the code itself.

A stack also defines a mutable section (which can be None) to handle modifications.

Many sections (or even stores) are aimed at providing default values for an option but these sections shouldn’t be modified lightly as modifying an option used for different contexts will indeed be seen by all these contexts.

Default values in configuration files are defined by users. Developers shouldn’t have to modify them, as such, no mechanism nor heuristics are used to find which section (or sections) should be modified.

A Stack defines a mutable section when there is no ambiguity. If there is one, then the user should be able to decide and in this case a new Stack can be created cheaply.

Different stacks can be created for different purposes, the existing GlobalStack, LocationStack and BranchStack can be used as basis or examples. These classes are the only ones that should be used in code, Stores can be used to build them but shouldn’t be used otherwise, ditto for sections. Again, the associated tests could and should be used against the created stacks.

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