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Thanks Steve. I just started playing with your ldoc tool. Very slick. 

So late... need sleep...


Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Virgin Mobile network.
  Original Message  
From: steve donovan
Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2016 12:58 AM
To: Lua mailing list
Reply To: Lua mailing list
Subject: Re: Reading a conf file

On Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 7:19 AM, Russell Haley <> wrote:
> About the saving of values: yes, it is important not to molest the
> original file. I would like to be able to work with conf files in
> FreeBSD lik rc.conf and leave them intact.

Ah, that suggests a simple solution:

(1) read all the lines into an array
local f, e =
-- check that e!
local lines = {}
for line in f:lines() do

(2) process only non-blank or lines not starting with #
local values = {}
local value_lines = {}
for i,line in ipairs(lines) do
if not (line:match '^%s*$' or line:match '^#') then
local var,val = line:match('^([^=]+)=(.+)')
values[var] = val
value_lines[var] = i

The values table is what you need. Updating a var is like so

lines[value_lines[var]] = var..'='..new_value

and then write out
local f,e =,'w');
for i,line in ipairs(lines) do