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doc_GOALS_md(3elektra) Elektra doc_GOALS_md(3elektra)


doc_GOALS_md - Goals

improve robustness of configuration systems
reject invalid configuration
avoid common programming errors by using better bindings
  • allow software to be better integrated on configuration level
  • postpone some decisions from programmers to maintainers/administrators:
syntax of the configuration files
side effects (e.g. logging, vcs commit, notifications)
flexible adoption to specific needs
adoption of standards (xdg, xml, json)
reduce duplication of code (a single parser/generator used by everyone accessing a specific part of configuration)


  • Embedded: Elektra is on the frontier for embedded systems because of its tiny core and the many possibilities with it`s plugins.
  • Server: Elektra is ideal suited for a local configuration storage by mounting existing configuration files into the global tree. Nodes using Elektra can be connected by already existing configuration management tools.
  • Desktop: Elektra allows applications to read and write from a global configuration tree. Missing is a description (schema) so that these values actually can be shared.

Quality Goals

1.) Simplicity

An overly complex system cannot be managed nor understood. Extensibility brings some complex issues, which need to be solved - but in a way so that the user sees either nothing of it or only needs to understand very simple concepts so that it works flawlessly. Special care for simplicity is taken for the users:

  • Endusers when reconfiguring or upgrading should never take any notice of Elektra, except that it works more robust, better integrated and with less problems.
  • Programmers should have multiple ways to take advantage of Elektra so that it flawlessly integrate with their system.
  • Plugin Programmers: it should be simple to extend Elektra in any desired way.
  • Application`s Maintainers to correctly setup+upgrade KDB
  • Administrators that want to change the maintainers setup according to their needs

2.) Robustness

Configuration Systems today suffer badly from:

  • weak input validation
  • faulty transformations from strings to other types
  • no error messages
  • undefined behaviour

We want to tackle this problem.

3.) Extensibility

There are so many variants of

  • storage formats
  • frontend integrations
  • bindings

Nearly every aspect of Elektra must be extremely extensible. On the other side semantics must be very clear and well defined so that this extensible system works reproducible and predictable.

Only key/value pairs are the common factor and a way to get and set them, everything else is an extension.

4.) Performance

Configuration is the main impact for bootup and startup time. Elektra needs to be similar fast then current solutions. Ideally it should get faster because of centralized optimization endeavours where everyone using Elektra can benefit from.

Only pay for what you need.

Sun May 29 2016 Version 0.8.14