As far as I know, Config4* is by far the best configuration-file parser in the world. Competing technologies (such as XML, JSON, Java properties, the Windows Registry and so on) are mediocre and simplistic in comparison.

Config4* is pronounced “config for star”. The “*” in the name is a placeholder for a programming language, so Config4* is actually a family of configuration-file parsers. Initially, the Config4* family has just two members: Config4Cpp (for C++) and Config4J (for Java). Over time, the family may grow to support other languages.

Config4* is released under the MIT open-source licence, and is developed and maintained by Ciaran McHale.

Overview of Config4* Capabilities

The first few chapters of the Config4* Getting Started Guide provide a good overview of Config4*’s capabilities. In particular:

Alternatively, you can find an overview of Config4* in a slide presentation, which is available in the following formats.

After you have read an overview of Config4*’s capabilities, you might want to have a look at the Config4* Practical Usage Guide (HTML, PDF), which provides examples of how Config4* can benefit a diverse range of applications.

Download the Source Code

Implementations of Config4* are provided in source-code format.

 Config4Cpp (C++ version)   compressed tar (96 KB)   zip (220 KB) 
 Config4J (Java version)   compressed tar (104 KB)   zip (256 KB) 

Download the Manuals

A comprehensive set of high-quality manuals are available for Config4*. Each manual is available in three formats: on-line HTML for convenient browsing; a PDF file formatted for A5 paper (slightly larger than paperback novel size) for off-line viewing on your computer screen; and a 2-up version of the PDF file, suitable for printing.