HelpMe is also accessible from within Python! In this documentation we will show you how to initialize a helper, and then interact with settings and functions. These functions can be helpful (harhar) when you are developing a helper and need to test obtaining settings from the environment, configuration values, or otherwise interacting with an instance of the Helper class.


Here is how to load the helper client, in the example we load github.

from helpme.main import get_helper
helper = get_helper('github')
# [helper|github]

Environment Variables and Configuration

There are two primary configuration files, both are called helpme.cfg, but helpme.cfg lives with the application installation (at the root of the helpme module, meaning it might be editable by a system admin or owner but not the user) and the other lives in the user’s $HOME folder in a subfolder called .helpme. The latter contains user-specific settings like tokens and preferences. Each helper has its own namespace in the configuration file. For example, here we should how the helper “github” might store a variable from the environment called HELPME_GITHUB_TOKEN:

alias = rainbow-taco-0103

helpme_github_token = xxxxxxxx

The mapping works so that when the user exports an environment variable that an application is looking for, if it finds the variable, it will save it to the user configuration file for discovery next time. The flow looks like this:

  • user exports HELPME_GITHUB_TOKEN
  • github helper calls function to get and update a setting
  • the environment variable is found, saved to configuration file
  • next time, the variable is found in the configuration file.

More on the functions to interact with settings is discussed next.

Helper Settings

The global settings for each helper broadly refer to what shared “HelpMe” functions should be called per helper. For example, there is a general function to prompt the user for an asciinema recording, or to collect some subset of the environment. We turn these settings on and off via adding sections to the global helpme.cfg file in the root of the helpme module folder. Here is what the section for Github might look like when we have turned on asciinema recording and asked the user for two prompts:

For a complete list of options that can be given to a helper, see the options. page.

User Settings

Once the helper is loaded, we can use its various functions to inspect settings. Here is how we would look for a setting defined in the environment (first priority), then the config file (second priority) and if found, save it to the config file for next time. If found, we return the value.

$ helper._get_and_update_setting('HELPME_GITHUB_TOKEN')

If you want to do the same, but the setting isn’t found in the config or environment, this function would return None.

$ helper._get_and_update_setting('HELPME_GITHUB_DOESNTEXIST')

It can be helpful in this case to give the function a default to return in the case that nothing is set.

$ helper._get_and_update_setting('HELPME_GITHUB_DOESNTEXIST', 'default')