NestedText: A Human Friendly Data Format¶
NestedText is a file format for holding structured data to be entered, edited, or viewed by people. It organizes the data into a nested collection of dictionaries, lists, and strings without the need for quoting or escaping. A unique feature of this file format is that it only supports one scalar type: strings. While the decision to eschew integer, real, date, etc. types may seem counter intuitive, it leads to simpler data files and applications that are more robust.
NestedText is convenient for configuration files, address books, account information, and the like. Because there is no need for quoting or escaping, it is particularly nice for holding code fragments. Here is an example of a file that contains a few addresses:
# Contact information for our officers president: name: Katheryn McDaniel address: > 138 Almond Street > Topeka, Kansas 20697 phone: cell: 1-210-555-5297 home: 1-210-555-8470 # Katheryn prefers that we always call her on her cell phone. email: KateMcD@aol.com additional roles: - board member vice president: name: Margaret Hodge address: > 2586 Marigold Lane > Topeka, Kansas 20682 phone: 1-470-555-0398 email: firstname.lastname@example.org additional roles: - new membership task force - accounting task force
This package contains a Python reference implementation of NestedText and a test suite. Implementation in many languages is required for NestedText to catch on widely. If you like the format, please consider contributing additional implementations.