Minimal NestedText

Minimal NestedText is a subset of NestedText that foregoes some of the complications of NestedText. It sacrifices the completeness of NestedText for an even simpler data file format that is still appropriate for a surprisingly wide variety of applications, such as most configuration files. The simplicity of Minimal NestedText makes it very easy to create readers and writers. Indeed, writing such functions is good programming exercise for people new to recursion.

Minimal NestedText is NestedText without support for multi-line keys and inline dictionaries and lists.

If you choose to create a Minimal NestedText reader or writer it is important to code it in such a way as to discourage the creation Minimal NestedText documents that are invalid NestedText. Thus, your implementation should disallow keys that start with :␣, [ or {. Also, please clearly indicate that is only supports Minimal NestedText to avoid any confusion.

Many of the examples given in this document conform to the Minimal NestedText subset. For convenience, here is another:

name: No-Soak Instant Pot Chili

    > Chili with meat and beans.
    > Takes a little over an hour from start to finish while starting with
    > dried beans that have not be pre-soaked.


    ground beef: 1-2 pounds
    onion: 1
    garlic: 3-4 cloves
    dry red kidney beans: 1 16-oz bag
    broth: 4 cups
    chili powder: 3 tablespoon
    dried oregano: 1-2 teaspoon
    cumin: 1 teaspoon (optional)
    dice tomatoes: 6 cups (2 large cans or grow your own)
    water: 2-3 cups
    salt and pepper: to taste

    > Place the 4 cups of broth and the dry kidney beans into the pot of your
    > Instant Pot
    > Add 2 T of chili powder and salt and pepper
    > Place the lid on your Instant Pot and press the bean setting. The timer
    > should read 30 minutes. Allow it to come to pressure and cook.
    > While the beans are cooking, saute beef with onion and garlic.
    > When the timer beeps, do a quick release and open up the pot
    > Add the meat, tomatoes, water, oregano, cumin, and the additional 1T of
    > chili powder and stir well.
    > At this point your pot should be quite full. Close up the Instant Pot
    > again and hit the chili/beans button once more. Allow it to come to
    > pressure and cook.
    > Do a quick release when the chili has finished cooking.

    > This instant pot chili assumes dried beans.
    > It takes TWO 30 minute cycles.
    > One with just the beans and one with all the ingredients together.
    > If you are not using dried beans, you can skip the first cycle and
    > simply add all of the ingredients to the pot and cook for 30 minutes
    > at high pressure.

Minimal NestedText is powerful enough to satisfy most needs. It is only necessary to use the extended capabilities of NestedText if you have keys that start with reserved characters or contain newlines or if your document contains lots of short lists or dictionaries. In the later situation, being constrained to use Minimal NestedText might make entry tedious.

Here is another example of Minimal NestedText that shows off a particular strength of NestedText, its ability to hold code fragments without the need for quoting or escaping. It holds some Parametrize From File test cases for pytest:

    id: base
      > class DummyConfig(Config):
      >     def load(self):
      >         yield DictLayer({"x": 1}, location="/path/to/file")
      > class DummyObj:
      >     __config__ = [DummyConfig]
      >     meta = byoc.meta_view()
      >     x = byoc.param()
      > obj = DummyObj()
      > obj.x
        type: LayerMeta
        location: /path/to/file
    id: never-accessed
      > class DummyObj:
      >     meta = byoc.meta_view()
      >     x = byoc.param()
      x: NeverAccessedMeta