md_src_plugins_ni_README(3) README


To mount a ni plugin you can simply use:

kdb mount file.ini spec/ni ni

The strength and usage of this plugin is that it supports arbitrary meta data and is still human readable. E.g.


creates the key with meta data key meta and meta data value foo:

$ kdb getmeta user/ni/key meta

the meta data for the parent key has following syntax:


Line continuation works by ending the line with \\.

Exporting a KeySet to the nickle format:

kdb export spec/ni ni >

For in-detail explanation of the syntax (nested keys are not supported by the plugin, however) see nickel-1.1.0/include/bohr/ni.h


  • Supports most KeySets, but kdb test currently reports some errors (likely because of the UTF-8 handling happening within ni).
  • Keys have a random order when written out.
  • No comments are preserved, they are simply removed.
  • Parse errors simply result to ignoring (and removing) these parts.


This plugin is based on the Nickel Library written by author: [email protected]

Nickel (Ni) has its strength in building up a hierarchical recursive Node structure which is perfect for parsing and generating ini files. With them arbitrary deep nested hierarchy are possible, but limited in a keyname of a fixed size.

The API of nickel is very suited for elektra, it can use FILE* pointers (using that elektra could open and lock files), the node-hierarchy can be transformed to keysets, but it lacks of many features like comments and types.

The format is more general then the kde-ini format, it can handle their configuration well, when the section names do not exceed the specified length. Nesting is only required in the first depth, any deeper is not understood by kde config parser.

The memory footprint is for a 190.000 (reduced to 35.000 when rewrote first ) line ini file with 1.1MB size is 16.88 MB. The sort order is not stable, even not with the same file rewritten again.

src_plugins_ni_bohr libraries ''