Configuration Files


A configuration file is an optional text file containing configuration parameters and their values. It may cascade, i.e. it can extend (inherit) configuration values from other configuration files, and supplement and/or override them.

Configuration files use JSON5 (a superset of standard JSON) syntax, as described below. These files are portable across all systems supported by Dyalog.

Names of configuration parameters defined in Configuration files may be specified in any combination of alphabetic case.

Dyalog processes up to two kinds of configuration file (each of which may cascade):

  1. An application configuration file which contains configuration values associated with a specific application
  2. A user configuration file which defines configuration values for the current, and possibly only, user of the system.

Application Configuration File

When Dyalog starts, it derives the name of the application configuration file as follows:

User Configuration File

The name of the user configuration file is specified by the UserConfigFile parameter. Under Windows, this parameter is not set by default but may be defined by the user.


Configuration files supplement existing methods of defining parameters. The following precedence table shows the order of precedence when a setting is defined in multiple places:

Configuration Files and The Configuration Dialog

The Configuration Dialog reflects the values of parameters stored in the Windows Registry and ignores overriding values defined on the command-line, in configuration files or in environment variables. If the user changes parameters using the Configuration Dialog, the new values are recorded in the Registry, but remain overridden by those that take precedence.

Configuration File Structure

Configuration files define configuration parameters using JSON5. A JSON object contains data in the form of key/value pairs and other JSON objects. The keys are strings and the values are the JSON types. Keys and values are separated by colon. Each entry (key/value pair) is separated by comma.

The top-level object defines an optional key named Extend and an optional object named Settings.

Extend is a string value containing the name of a configuration file to import. The extended (imported) file may in turn extend another configuration file. Configuration values from the imported file(s) may be overridden by redefining them. The file name is implicitly relative to the name of the file which imports it. Any file name extension must be explicitly specified.

Settings is an object containing the names of configuration parameters and their values. The values may be:

The names and values correspond to configuration parameters, but names are not case sensitive. Any named values may be defined; an APL application may query the values using +2⎕NQ'.' 'GetEnvironment' name, or using the ]config user command. Note that GetEnvironment returns the value in use as defined by the precedence rules (see Precedence).


      +2 ⎕NQ '.' 'GetEnvironment' ('MaxWS' 'Captions\Session')
│256M│My Dyalog V18.0 Session│
      ]config MaxWS Captions\Session
│MaxWS           │256M                   │
│Captions\Session│My Dyalog V18.0 Session│

A warning will be given if names are redefined in the same configuration file; the second and subsequent definitions will be discarded.

File Names

Pathnames specified in configuration files should be specified using portable forward slashes "/" rather than back-slashes "\" as the latter are used as escape characters by JSON.

WSPATH: ["c:/Dyalog18.0"] or WSPATH: ["c:\\Dyalog18.0"] specifies the file c:\Dyalog18.0.


WSPATH: ["c:\Dyalog18.0"] means c:Dyalog18.0.


  Extend: "my_default_configuration.dcfg",
  Settings: {
      // maximum workspace
      MAXWS: "2GB",
      WSPATH: ["/dir1", "/dir2", ""],      
      UserOption: 123,
      ROOTDIR: "/my/root/directory",
      // references to other configuration parameters
      FNAME: "[rootdir]/filename",


An array may be used to define file paths etc. For example,

WSPATH: ["/dir1", "/dir2"]

The only parameters which may be defined as arrays are WSPATH, WSEXT and CFEXT.

References to other Configuration Parameters

Configuration parameters which are string values may include references to other configuration parameters (regardless of where they are defined) using square bracket delimiters. For example:

MySetting: "[DYALOG]/MyFile"

will replace [DYALOG] with the value of the DYALOG configuration value.

Note that:

Nested Structures

Some parameters are stored in sub-folders in the Windows Registry. Currently, all such parameters used by Dyalog APL itself relate to the Windows IDE, but you can create your own application-specific structures..

The Configuration file supports this structure by defining an object that corresponds to a Registry sub-folder. For example:

Captions: {
Session: "My Dyalog Session",
Status: "My Status window",
      +2 ⎕NQ '.' 'GetEnvironment' 'Captions\Session'
My Dyalog Session