Configuration Format

helper has a standard configuration file format for creating consistent, easy to configure applications using the YAML <>_ file format. The configuration file has three case-sensitive sections that are required: Application, Daemon, and Logging.

YAML is used for the configuration file for helper based applications and will automatically be loaded and referenced for all the required information to start your application. The configuration may be reloaded at runtime by sending a USR1 signal to parent process.


As a generalization, this is where your application’s configuration directives go. There is only one core configuration attribute for this section, wake_interval. The wake_interval value is an integer value that is used for the sleep/wake/process flow and tells helper how often to fire the Controller.process method.


This section contains the settings required to run the application as a daemon. They are as follows:

The username to run as when the process is daemonized
group [optional]
The group name to switch to when the process is daemonized
The pidfile to write when the process is daemonized


helper uses logging.config.dictConfig module to create a flexible method for configuring the python standard logging module. If Python 2.6 is used, logutils.dictconfig.dictConfig is used instead.

The following basic example illustrates all of the required sections in the dictConfig format, implemented in YAML:

version: 1
formatters: []
  format: '%(levelname) -10s %(asctime)s %(process)-6d %(processName) -15s %(name) -10s %(funcName) -20s: %(message)s'
  datefmt: '%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S'
    class: logging.StreamHandler
    formatter: verbose
    debug_only: True
    handlers: [console]
    level: INFO
    propagate: true
    handlers: [console]
    level: DEBUG
    propagate: true
disable_existing_loggers: true
incremental: false


The debug_only node of the Logging > handlers > console section is not part of the standard dictConfig format. Please see the Logging Caveats section below for more information.

Logging Caveats

In order to allow for customizable console output when running in the foreground and no console output when daemonized, a “debug_only” node has been added to the standard dictConfig format in the handler section. This method is evaluated in the helper.Logging and removed, if present, prior to passing the dictionary to dictConfig if present.

If the value is set to true and the application is not running in the foreground, the configuration for the handler and references to it will be removed from the configuration dictionary.


If you find that your application is not logging anything or sending output to the terminal, ensure that you have created a logger section in your configuration for your controller. For example if your Controller instance is named MyController, make sure there is a MyController logger in the logging configuration.