v1.0.0-rc.3
Text Version

TOML v0.2.0

Tom's Obvious, Minimal Language.

By Tom Preston-Werner.

Be warned, this spec is still changing a lot. Until it's marked as 1.0, you should assume that it is unstable and act accordingly.

Objectives

TOML aims to be a minimal configuration file format that's easy to read due to obvious semantics. TOML is designed to map unambiguously to a hash table. TOML should be easy to parse into data structures in a wide variety of languages.

Spec

  • TOML is case sensitive.
  • Whitespace means tab (0x09) or space (0x20).

Comment

Speak your mind with the hash symbol. They go from the symbol to the end of the line.

# I am a comment. Hear me roar. Roar.
key = "value" # Yeah, you can do this.

String

ProTip™: You may notice that this specification is the same as JSON's string definition, except that TOML requires UTF-8 encoding. This is on purpose.

Strings are single-line values surrounded by quotation marks. Strings must contain only valid UTF-8 characters. Any Unicode character maybe be used except those that must be escaped: quotation mark, backslash, and the control characters (U+0000 to U+001F).

"I'm a string. \"You can quote me\". Name\tJos\u00E9\nLocation\tSF."

For convenience, some popular characters have a compact escape sequence.

\b     - backspace       (U+0008)
\t     - tab             (U+0009)
\n     - linefeed        (U+000A)
\f     - form feed       (U+000C)
\r     - carriage return (U+000D)
\"     - quote           (U+0022)
\/     - slash           (U+002F)
\\     - backslash       (U+005C)
\uXXXX - unicode         (U+XXXX)

Any Unicode character may be escaped with the \uXXXX form.

Other special characters are reserved and, if used, TOML should produce an error. This means paths on Windows will always have to use double backslashes.

wrong = "C:\Users\nodejs\templates" # note: doesn't produce a valid path
right = "C:\\Users\\nodejs\\templates"

For binary data it is recommended that you use Base64 or another suitable encoding. The handling of that encoding will be application specific.

Integer

Integers are bare numbers, all alone. Feeling negative? Do what's natural. 64-bit minimum size expected.

42
-17

Float

Floats are numbers with a single dot within. There must be at least one number on each side of the decimal point. 64-bit (double) precision expected.

3.1415
-0.01

Boolean

Booleans are just the tokens you're used to. Always lowercase.

true
false

Datetime

Datetimes are ISO 8601 dates, but only the full zulu form is allowed.

1979-05-27T07:32:00Z

Array

Arrays are square brackets with other primitives inside. Whitespace is ignored. Elements are separated by commas. Data types may not be mixed.

[ 1, 2, 3 ]
[ "red", "yellow", "green" ]
[ [ 1, 2 ], [3, 4, 5] ]
[ [ 1, 2 ], ["a", "b", "c"] ] # this is ok
[ 1, 2.0 ] # note: this is NOT ok

Arrays can also be multiline. So in addition to ignoring whitespace, arrays also ignore newlines between the brackets. Terminating commas are ok before the closing bracket.

key = [
  1, 2, 3
]

key = [
  1,
  2, # this is ok
]

Table

Tables (also known as hash tables or dictionaries) are collections of key/value pairs. They appear in square brackets on a line by themselves. You can tell them apart from arrays because arrays are only ever values.

[table]

Under that, and until the next table or EOF are the key/values of that table. Keys are on the left of the equals sign and values are on the right. Keys start with the first non-whitespace character and end with the last non-whitespace character before the equals sign. Key/value pairs within tables are unordered.

[table]
key = "value"

You can indent keys and their values as much as you like. Tabs or spaces. Knock yourself out. Why, you ask? Because you can have nested tables. Snap.

Nested tables are denoted by table names with dots in them. Name your tables whatever crap you please, just don't use a dot. Dot is reserved. OBEY.

[dog.tater]
type = "pug"

In JSON land, that would give you the following structure:

{ "dog": { "tater": { "type": "pug" } } }

You don't need to specify all the super-tables if you don't want to. TOML knows how to do it for you.

# [x] you
# [x.y] don't
# [x.y.z] need these
[x.y.z.w] # for this to work

Empty tables are allowed and simply have no key/value pairs within them.

As long as a super-table hasn't been directly defined and hasn't defined a specific key, you may still write to it.

[a.b]
c = 1

[a]
d = 2

You cannot define any key or table more than once. Doing so is invalid.

# DO NOT DO THIS

[a]
b = 1

[a]
c = 2
# DO NOT DO THIS EITHER

[a]
b = 1

[a.b]
c = 2

Array of Tables

The last type that has not yet been expressed is an array of tables. These can be expressed by using a table name in double brackets. Each table with the same double bracketed name will be an element in the array. The tables are inserted in the order encountered. A double bracketed table without any key/value pairs will be considered an empty table.

[[products]]
name = "Hammer"
sku = 738594937

[[products]]

[[products]]
name = "Nail"
sku = 284758393
color = "gray"

In JSON land, that would give you the following structure.

{
  "products": [
    { "name": "Hammer", "sku": 738594937 },
    { },
    { "name": "Nail", "sku": 284758393, "color": "gray" }
  ]
}

You can create nested arrays of tables as well. Just use the same double bracket syntax on sub-tables. Each double-bracketed sub-table will belong to the most recently defined table element above it.

[[fruit]]
  name = "apple"

  [fruit.physical]
    color = "red"
    shape = "round"

  [[fruit.variety]]
    name = "red delicious"

  [[fruit.variety]]
    name = "granny smith"

[[fruit]]
  name = "banana"

  [[fruit.variety]]
    name = "plantain"

The above TOML maps to the following JSON.

{
  "fruit": [
    {
      "name": "apple",
      "physical": {
        "color": "red",
        "shape": "round"
      },
      "variety": [
        { "name": "red delicious" },
        { "name": "granny smith" }
      ]
    },
    {
      "name": "banana",
      "variety": [
        { "name": "plantain" }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

Attempting to define a normal table with the same name as an already established array must produce an error at parse time.

# INVALID TOML DOC
[[fruit]]
  name = "apple"

  [[fruit.variety]]
    name = "red delicious"

  # This table conflicts with the previous table
  [fruit.variety]
    name = "granny smith"

Seriously?

Yep.

But why?

Because we need a decent human-readable format that unambiguously maps to a hash table and the YAML spec is like 80 pages long and gives me rage. No, JSON doesn't count. You know why.

Oh god, you're right

Yuuuup. Wanna help? Send a pull request. Or write a parser. BE BRAVE.

Implementations

If you have an implementation, send a pull request adding to this list. Please note the commit SHA1 or version tag that your parser supports in your Readme.

Validators

Language agnostic test suite for TOML parsers

Editor support

Encoder