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NAME

       md_src_plugins_struct_READMEREADME
        -

       · infos = Information about struct plugin is in keys below

       · infos/author = Markus Raab elektra@libelektra.org

       · infos/licence = BSD

       · infos/needs =

       · infos/provides = apply

       · infos/ordering = check

       · infos/placements = presetstorage

       · infos/description = Copies meta data to keys using structbing

       This plugin is a check plugin which checks the structure and interrelations of Keys in
       order the verify that they represent a valid configuration.

   Purpose
       The glob plugin together with the check plugins create a good combination to check keys
       which are present in the KeySet. For some storage plugins like fstab, however, missing
       keys are as fatal as not validating keys – it is not possible to write a valid
       configuration file without them.

       The problem can be described as a structure built with lists and other structures that
       must match with the key names of a KeySet. If a structure must have an element, contrary
       to glob, the plugin can yield an error if it is missing. During the matching, the plugin
       also applies metadata to the individual keys. Such plugins that check the structure and
       interrelations of keys are called structure checker. They can require that various subkeys
       have to or must not exist. This can happen recursively to specify any structure.

       The struct plugin implements such a behaviour. It allows enforcement of a strong
       consistency within the keys of one backend.

   Usage
       In order for the struct plugin to do its job, it needs a plugin configuration to know
       which structure it should check for. This configuration can be passed from a storage
       plugin’s config/needs clause.

   Example
       The fstab plugin uses the struct plugin to verify the correct structure. Here is a snippet
       from it's contract:

           keyNew ("system/elektra/modules/fstab/config/needs/struct",
           KEY_VALUE, "list FStab",
           KEY_END),
           keyNew ("system/elektra/modules/fstab/config/needs/struct/FStab",
           KEY_META, "check/type", "null empty",
           KEY_END),
           keyNew ("system/elektra/modules/fstab/config/needs/struct/FStab/device",
           KEY_META, "check/type", "string",
           KEY_META, "check/path", "device",
           KEY_END),
           keyNew ("system/elektra/modules/fstab/config/needs/struct/FStab/mpoint",
           KEY_META, "check/type", "string",
           KEY_META, "check/path", "directory",
           KEY_END),
           keyNew ("system/elektra/modules/fstab/config/needs/struct/FStab/type",
           KEY_META, "check/type", "FSType",
           KEY_END),
           keyNew ("system/elektra/modules/fstab/config/needs/struct/FStab/options",
           KEY_META, "check/type", "string",
           KEY_END),
           keyNew ("system/elektra/modules/fstab/config/needs/struct/FStab/dumpfreq",
           KEY_META, "check/type", "unsigned_short",
           KEY_END), keyNew ("system/elektra/modules/fstab/config/needs/struct/FStab/passno",
           KEY_META, "check/type", "unsigned_short",
           KEY_END),

       The key value of needs/struct within the plugin configuration marks the starting point.
       list describes the first structure to be generated. It is a built-in structure of the
       struct plugin that supports all subkeys in one level. It applies to every direct subkey
       the structure check received by the template parameter. The template parameter is, in this
       case, FStab. The rest of the configuration specifies how entries of FStab must look.

       The information applied to the keys is given through metadata. This metadata is copied to
       each key during the structure check. If,however,a key is missing,the structure check will
       terminate with a failure. Any additional key will also lead to an error.

       The metadata may be evaluated by subsequent checks. In the situation of fstab a
       typechecker and a path checker are both useful.

       The purpose of such structure checks is that only a valid configuration can be stored and
       that neither applications nor storage plugins are surprised by configuration they do not
       understand.

       The fstab plugin trusts the fact that no invalid configuration is passed. It does not
       check it again. Missing configuration would lead to partially set data structures. The
       internally used API setmntent crashes in that case. This leads us to the {purpose of
       contracts}: We want a guarantee that specific conditions are already met because we know
       that the code of the plugin cannot handle it.

       Let us look at a different scenario with the same configuration. Instead of using the
       fstab plugin, we will use a general purpose storage plugin. For example, the dump plugin.
       Note that the metadata will be stored permanently in this situation. No plugin exports a
       config/needs clauses for the struct plugin in this situation. But the user can add the
       struct plugin and the plugin configuration, as shown in the code above, to the backend
       manually. Applications still can be sure that only a specific configuration will be stored
       and passed to them. The unwritten contract is between the application and the backend. No
       contract checker, however, would detect the missing configuration.

   Limitation
       This approach for defining the structure works recursively. Every element can have a value
       with a new structure check. Additionally, multiple template parameters can support even
       more generic data structures. This is, however, not yet implemented.