1. Add your config variable to src/confvars.h

  2. There is no step 2, use it through one of the accessors.

  3. Actually, there is a step 2, document the variable in bkmsg.doc.


BK behavior on a local and macro scale is influenced by configuration that can exist in files and an environment variable.

To see all the documented options can be configured, look at

bk help config-etc

To see all the places this config file can live:

bk help config

To see how that happens in code, see slib.c:loadConfig(), which calls the individual loaders.

Of interest there is that an empty value can be used to block or overwrite entries, and that at the end of the process, if any key has an empty value, the key is deleted from the hash.

Description of the fields

In src/confvars.h each call to the CONFVAR() macro must have the following fields:

  1. NAME: this is the name of the configuration variable. A CFG_NAME global enum will be created which must be used for accessing the config variable using the cfg_*() APIs.

  2. TYPE: One of the types at the beginning of cfg.h. The types are described in the Design goals Section.

  3. DEFAULT VALUE: This is a C string which will be used as the default value if the configuration variable is not found in any of the places that are searched.

  4. IN SETUP: Whether this variable will be part of the default config file that bk setup puts in new repositories. (This is printed by bk setup -pv). It is a string, and if set to "" then the default will be used, otherwise a value other than default can be specified, as is done for checkout. Note that if this field is not 0, the variable must be documented in src/bkmsg.doc with a section called #config_$var where $var is the name of the variable. NOTE: Technically, this is not true, as the config.template or command line can include items that are not documented. In that case, the config_undoc template will be used to print out the variable and its default.

  5. NAME: This is the name by which the configuration variable will be searched for. Separate from this, there is a place in cfg.c to store aliases, which map on to these names.


CONFVAR(BAM, SIZE, "off", "", "BAM")

Will declare a new CFG_BAM macro for a configuration variable of type Size which will default to "off". When accessed via the cfg_bool() API, it will be treated as a boolean, but when accessed via the cfg_size() API, it will return its value, if it is numeric (including the values "1" and "0"). To use, first check for number, then boolean:

unless (bam = cfg_size(p, CFG_BAM))
	bam = cfg_bool(p, CFG_BAM) ? BAM_SIZE : 0;

Design goals

  • Support for multiple names for the configuration variable. One example of where this is important is "auto_populate", which has three variants in the config file: "auto_populate", "autopopulate", and "auto-populate".

  • Record the type of the variable. The following variable types are proposed:

    • Bool: Returns 1 on "1", "on", "true", and "yes", returns 0 on "0", "off", "false", and "no". Gives an error otherwise.

      Use `cfg_bool()` for access.
    • Int: Returns an integer converted using strtoll(). It returns 0 on error or if the configuration variable is not found.

      Use `cfg_int()` for access.
    • Size: Returns a positive 64-bit integer that can be specified as a number followed by one of the following 3 letters: "K", "M", or "G". The configuration value is converted using strtoull() and the suffix multiplies it by 210, 220, and 230 respectively.

      If the number cannot be converted, or the configuration variable is
       not found, 0 is returned.
      Use `cfg_size()` for access.
    • Str: Returns a char * with the value specified for the configuration variable. If the configuration variable is not found, 0 is returned.

      Use `cfg_str()` for access.
  • Callers should use constants that can be checked at compile time rather than fail at runtime due to programming errors. E.g. use CFG_AUTOPOPULATE to access the value of any of the following configuration variables: "auto_populate", "autopopulate", or "auto-populate".

  • A single file where all the configuration variables are declared and their default value is specified.

  • O(1) access from the cfg_*() accessors.

  • A way to print all of the configuration variables and both their default values and what the current values are as returned by the cfg_*() accessors. I.e. the list of configuration variables should be iterable. Note: default strings can be seen, but default integers for clock_skew, BAM, and parallel are still specified in code to deal with the complexities of backward compatibility.

Read through configvars.h and bkmsg.doc looking for #config_${var} to see default config values and docs.