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#155 in Parser implementations

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crates.io docs QUARTIQ Matrix Chat Continuous Integration

Miniconf enables lightweight (no_std) partial serialization (retrieval) and deserialization (updates, modification) within a tree by key. The tree is backed by structs/arrays/Options of serializable types.


See below for a comprehensive example showing the features of the Tree traits. See also the documentation of the TreeKey trait for a detailed description.

use miniconf::{Error, JsonCoreSlash, Tree, TreeKey};
use serde::{Deserialize, Serialize};

#[derive(Deserialize, Serialize, Copy, Clone, Default)]
enum Either {

#[derive(Deserialize, Serialize, Copy, Clone, Default, Tree)]
struct Inner {
    a: i32,
    b: i32,

#[derive(Tree, Default)]
struct Settings {
    // Atomic updtes by field name
    foo: bool,
    enum_: Either,
    struct_: Inner,
    array: [i32; 2],
    option: Option<i32>,

    // Exclude an element (not Deserialize/Serialize)
    skipped: (),

    // Exposing elements of containers
    // ... by field name
    struct_tree: Inner,
    // ... or by index
    array_tree: [i32; 2],
    // ... or exposing two levels (array index and then inner field name)
    array_tree2: [Inner; 2],

    // Hiding paths by setting the Option to `None` at runtime
    option_tree: Option<i32>,
    // Hiding a path and descending into the inner `Tree`
    option_tree2: Option<Inner>,
    // Hiding elements of an array of `Tree`s
    array_option_tree: [Option<Inner>; 2],

let mut settings = Settings::default();
let mut buf = [0; 64];

// Atomic updates by field name
settings.set_json("/foo", b"true")?;
assert_eq!(settings.foo, true);
settings.set_json("/enum_", br#""Good""#)?;
settings.set_json("/struct_", br#"{"a": 3, "b": 3}"#)?;
settings.set_json("/array", b"[6, 6]")?;
settings.set_json("/option", b"12")?;
settings.set_json("/option", b"null")?;

// Deep access by field name in a struct
settings.set_json("/struct_tree/a", b"4")?;
// ... or by index in an array
settings.set_json("/array_tree/0", b"7")?;
// ... or by index and then struct field name
settings.set_json("/array_tree2/1/b", b"11")?;

// If a `Tree`-Option is `None` it is hidden at runtime and can't be serialized/deserialized.
settings.option_tree = None;
assert_eq!(settings.set_json("/option_tree", b"13"), Err(Error::Absent(1)));
settings.option_tree = Some(0);
settings.set_json("/option_tree", b"13")?;
settings.option_tree2 = Some(Inner::default());
settings.set_json("/option_tree2/a", b"14")?;
settings.array_option_tree[1] = Some(Inner::default());
settings.set_json("/array_option_tree/1/a", b"15")?;

// Serializing elements by path
let len = settings.get_json("/struct_", &mut buf).unwrap();
assert_eq!(&buf[..len], br#"{"a":3,"b":3}"#);

// Iterating over all paths
for path in Settings::iter_paths::<String>("/") {
    let path = path.unwrap();
    // Serializing each
    match settings.get_json(&path, &mut buf) {
        // Full round-trip: deserialize and set again
        Ok(len) => { settings.set_json(&path, &buf[..len])?; }
        // Some settings are still `None` and thus their paths are expected to be absent
        Err(Error::Absent(_)) => {}
        e => { e.unwrap(); }

# Ok::<(), Error<serde_json_core::de::Error>>(())

Settings management

One possible use of Miniconf is a backend for run-time settings management in embedded devices. It was originally designed to work with JSON (serde_json_core) payloads over MQTT (minimq) and provides a MQTT settings management client and a Python reference implementation to interact with it.


Miniconf can be used with any serde::Serializer/serde::Deserializer backend, path hierarchy separator, and key lookup algorithm.

Currently support for / as the path hierarchy separator and JSON (serde_json_core) is implemented through the JsonCoreSlash super trait.


Miniconf is also protocol-agnostic. Any means that can receive key-value input from some external source can be used to access nodes by path.

The MqttClient implements settings management over the MQTT protocol with JSON payloads. A Python reference library is provided that interfaces with it. This example discovers the unique prefix of an application listening to messages under the topic quartiq/application/12345 and set its foo setting to true.

python -m miniconf -d quartiq/application/+ foo=true

Derive macros

For structs Miniconf offers derive macros for [macro@TreeKey], [macro@TreeSerialize], and [macro@TreeDeserialize]. The macros implements the TreeKey, TreeSerialize, and TreeDeserialize traits. Fields/items that form internal nodes (non-leaf) need to implement the respective Tree{Key,Serialize,Deserialize} trait. Leaf fields/items need to support the respective serde trait (and the desired serde::Serializer/serde::Deserializer backend).

Structs, arrays, and Options can then be cascaded to construct more complex trees. When using the derive macro, the behavior and tree recursion depth can be configured for each struct field using the #[tree(depth(Y))] attribute.

See also the TreeKey trait documentation for details.

Keys and paths

Lookup into the tree is done using an iterator over [Key] items. usize indices or &str names are supported.

Path iteration is supported with arbitrary separator between names.


Deferred/deep/non-atomic access to inner elements of some types is not yet supported, e.g. enums other than Option. These are still however usable in their atomic serde form as leaves.


  • mqtt-client Enable the MQTT client feature. See the example in MqttClient.
  • json-core Enable the JsonCoreSlash implementation of serializing from and into json slices (using serde_json_core).

The mqtt-client and json-core features are enabled by default.


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