Because NestedText explicitly does not attempt to interpret the data it parses, it is meant to be paired with a tool that can both validate the data and convert them to the expected types. For example, if you are expecting a date for a particular field, you would want to validate that the input looks like a date (e.g. YYYY/MM/DD) and then convert it to a useful type (e.g. arrow.Arrow). You can do this on an ad hoc basis, or you can apply a schema.

A schema is the specification of what fields are expected (e.g. “birthday”), what types they should be (e.g. a date), and what values are legal (e.g. must be in the past). There are many libraries available for applying a schema to data such as those parsed by NestedText. Because different libraries may be more or less appropriate in different scenarios, NestedText avoids favoring any one library specifically:

See the Examples page for examples of how to use some of these libraries with NestedText.

The approach of using separate tools for parsing and interpreting the data has two significant advantages that are worth briefly highlighting. First is that the validation tool understands the context and meaning of the data in a way that the parsing tool cannot. For example, “12” can be an integer if it represents a day of a month, a float if it represents the output voltage of a power brick, or a string if represents the version of a software package. Attempting to interpret “12” without this context is inherently unreliable. Second is that when data is interpreted by the parser, it puts the onus on the user to specify the correct types. Going back to the previous example, the user would be required to know whether 12, 12.0, or "12" should be entered. It does not make sense for this decision to be made by the user instead of the application.