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Dotenv handling for deno.


Setup a .env file in the root of your project.

# .env
GREETING=hello world

Then import the configuration using the config function.

// app.ts
import { config } from "";

console.log(await config());

Then run your app.

> deno run --allow-env --allow-read app.ts
{ GREETING: "hello world" }


  • path?: string: Optional path to .env file. Defaults to ./.env.
  • export?: boolean: Set to true to export all .env variables to the current processes environment. Variables are then accessable via Deno.env.get(<key>). Defaults to false.
  • safe?: boolean: Set to true to ensure that all necessary environment variables are defined after reading from .env. It will read .env.example to get the list of needed variables.
  • example?: string: Optional path to .env.example file. Defaults to ./.env.example.
  • allowEmptyValues?: boolean: Set to true to allow required env variables to be empty. Otherwise it will throw an error if any variable is empty. Defaults to false.
  • defaults?: string: Optional path to .env.defaults file which defaults to ./.env.defaults.
  • restrictEnvAccessTo?: Array<string>: Optional list of Env variables to read from process. Alternatively the complete Env is looked up. This allows to permit access to only specific Env variables with --allow-env=ENV_VAR_NAME.

Auto loading

load.ts automatically loads the local .env file on import and exports it to the process environment:

# .env
GREETING=hello world
// app.ts
import "";

> deno run --allow-env --allow-read app.ts
hello world

Safe Mode

To enable safe mode, create a .env.example file in the root of the project.

# .env.example

Then import the configuration with safe option set to true.

// app.ts
import { config } from "";

console.log(await config({ safe: true }));

If any of the defined variables is not in .env, an error will occur. This method is preferred because it prevents runtime errors in a production application due to improper configuration.

Another way to supply required variables is externally, like so:

GREETING="hello world" deno run --allow-env app.ts

Default Values

Default values can be easily added via creating a .env.defaults file and using the same format as an.env file.

# .env.defaults
# Will not be set if GREETING is set in base .env file
GREETING="a secret to everybody"

Parsing Rules

The parsing engine currently supports the following rules:

  • Variables that already exist in the environment are not overridden with export: true
  • BASIC=basic becomes { BASIC: "basic" }
  • empty lines are skipped
  • lines beginning with # are treated as comments
  • empty values become empty strings (EMPTY= becomes { EMPTY: "" })
  • single and double quoted values are escaped (SINGLE_QUOTE='quoted' becomes { SINGLE_QUOTE: "quoted" })
  • new lines are expanded in double quoted values (MULTILINE="new\nline" becomes
line" }
  • inner quotes are maintained (think JSON) (JSON={"foo": "bar"} becomes { JSON: "{\"foo\": \"bar\"}" })
  • whitespace is removed from both ends of unquoted values (see more on trim) (FOO= some value becomes { FOO: "some value" })
  • whitespace is preserved on both ends of quoted values (FOO=" some value " becomes { FOO: " some value " })
  • dollar sign with an environment key in or without curly braces in unquoted values will expand the environment key (KEY=$KEY or KEY=${KEY} becomes { KEY: "<KEY_VALUE_FROM_ENV>" })
  • escaped dollar sign with an environment key in unquoted values will escape the environment key rather than expand (KEY=\$KEY becomes { KEY: "\\$KEY" })
  • colon and a minus sign with a default value(which can also be another expand value) in expanding construction in unquoted values will first attempt to expand the environment key. If it’s not found, then it will return the default value (KEY=${KEY:-default} If KEY exists it becomes { KEY: "<KEY_VALUE_FROM_ENV>" } If not, then it becomes { KEY: "default" }. Also there is possible to do this case KEY=${NO_SUCH_KEY:-${EXISTING_KEY:-default}} which becomes { KEY: "<EXISTING_KEY_VALUE_FROM_ENV>" })


import { stringify } from "";

const string = stringify({ GREETING: "hello world" });

GREETING='hello world'