Yaml tutorial

Yaml tutorial

posted in productivity on

Everyone happy when the downfall Xml was a fact with the widespread use of Json. Less tags, more data. What’s there not to like. It’s also just so much easier for a human to read.

If it wasn’t so straightforward to parse JSON in the omnipresent JavaScript, Yaml might have had a good chance to take over the world being the most readable data serialization language.

YAML Ain’t Markup Language

Before we dive into the ‘code’:

  • Extensions: .yaml, .yml
  • Indenting with spaces. (no tabs!)
    • Correct indentation is mandatory!
    • 2 spaces is favored (because it makes arrays align?)
    • For arrays, the - counts as indentation
  • Keys may contain spaces, and pretty much anything when enclosed within single quotes


When unsure what something does exactly, try it online: json <-> yaml!

Scalars

# This is a comment
key: value
int: 7
float: 0.5
bool: true
null: null

This would be equal to the json: {key: 'value', int: 7, float: 0.5, bool: true, null: null}


Dates:

dt: 2018-12-18T02:59:43.1Z
dt_alt: 2017-12-17 16:59:43.10 -5
date: 2016-12-16

Json: { dt: '2018-12-18T02:59:43.100Z', dt_alt: '2017-12-17T21:59:43.100Z', date: '2016-12-16T00:00:00.000Z' }


Casting:

  • key: !!str 0.5 => “0.5”
  • key: !!float 0 => 0.0

Strings

# To be on the safe side, quote all strings
# that contain any of the following []{}:>|
str1: This is a string
str2: 'has ''one'' escape'
str3: "has many \", \t\r\n\0"

# With preserve extra whitespace starts the current level of indentation.
preserve: |
  multi-line
      with newlines and
    additional whitespace
          preserved

fold: >
  These lines
  will be folded
  into a single line

  Blank lines denote
  paragraph breaks

Mappings and Sequences

map:
  name: Billy
  age: 16

map_alt: {name: Billy The Kid, age: 16}

array:
  # To nest arrays, just increase the indenting
  - 9
  - true
  - a string

array_alt: [9, true, a string]

array_map:
  - id: 5
    name: Bart
    hobbies:
      - Skateboarding
      - Mischievousness
  - id: 6
    name: Maggie
    traits:
      lang: null
      proxy: Marge

The Json for array_map:

[{
    id: 5,
    name: 'Bart',
    hobbies: ['Skateboarding', 'Mischievousness']
}, {
    id: 6,
    name: 'Maggie',
    traits: {lang: null, proxy: 'Marge'}
}]

Anchors

Using anchors:

billing: &address1
  street: Brook Street 15
  town: Davenport

shipping: *address1

After this, the content of shipping is the same as that of billing

Merge mappings

male: &man
  gender: M
  age: null

female: &woman
  gender: F
  age: null

Bob:
  spouse: Alice
  <<: *man
  age: 32

Catherine:
  <<: *woman
  spouse: Mary

Json:

  • Bob: {spouse: 'Alice', gender: 'M', age: 32}
  • Catherine: {gender: 'F', age: null, spouse: 'Mary'}

Other

Binary:

gif_file: !!binary |
  R0lGODdhDQAIAIAAAAAAANn
  Z2SwAAAAADQAIAAACF4SDGQ
  ar3xxbJ9p0qa7R0YxwzaFME
  1IAADs=

Sets:

set:
  ? item1
  ? item2
  ? item3

Json: {set: {item2: null, item3: null, item1: null}}

Implementations

I first came into contact with Yaml when using Jekyll, where it is used quite extensively. Aside from Jekyll, it is used for a many things, in Spring, Travis CI, Grav, in the cloud, … and parsers are available for all languages.

It’s not all moonshine and roses though as the implementations tend to yield different results for more exotic inputs (and sometimes also for not so exotic input).


For .NET, there is YamlDotNet

Install-Package YamlDotNet

using YamlDotNet.Serialization;
var deserializer = new DeserializerBuilder().Build();
using (var file = File.OpenText("_config.yml"))
{
    return deserializer.Deserialize<T>(file);
}


For Node, there is js-yaml

npm install js-yaml

yaml = require('js-yaml');
fs = require('fs');
try {
  var doc = yaml.safeLoad(fs.readFileSync('_config.yml', 'utf8'));
} catch (e) {
}

Tags: tutorial