What's the best practice using a settings file in Python?


I have a command line script that I run with a lot of arguments. I have now come to a point where I have too many arguments, and I want to have some arguments in dictionary form too.

So in order to simplify things I would like to run the script with a settings file instead. I don't really know what libraries to use for the parsing of the file. What's the best practice for doing this? I could of course hammer something out myself, but if there is some library for this, I'm all ears.

A few 'demands':

  • Rather than using pickle I would like it to be a straight forward text file that can easily be read and edited.
  • I want to be able to add dictionary-like data in it, i.e., some form of nesting should be supported.

A simplified pseudo example file:

    color: blue
    brand: ford
city: new york
    color: black
        cylinders: 8
        placement: mid
    doors: 2
3/9/2019 12:08:37 AM

You can have a regular Python module, say config.py, like this:

truck = dict(
    color = 'blue',
    brand = 'ford',
city = 'new york'
cabriolet = dict(
    color = 'black',
    engine = dict(
        cylinders = 8,
        placement = 'mid',
    doors = 2,

and use it like this:

import config
print config.truck['color']  
10/31/2018 7:05:02 PM

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