The Basics

Arkenv provides a sensible set of defaults that aim to support a variety of configuration scenarios whilst making it easy to adapt to changing environments.

Below is a sample Arkenv configuration that defines arguments for a MySQL password and a port.

object Configuration {
    val mysqlPassword: String by argument()
    val port: Int by argument()

Your app might look something like this:

fun main(args: Array<String>) {
    Arkenv.parse(Configuration, args)

Command line

To begin with, you could start by passing arguments from the command line or via your IDE to verify everything works.

java -jar App.jar --mysql-password c0mpl3x --port 5000

Environment Variables

You can also use environment variables to achieve the same.

export MYSQL_PASSWORD=ch4ng3d
export PORT=5001


At some point you may want to have varying configuration without the need to change your command line arguments every time.

You may want to create profiles based on different environments that the app is going to run in, e.g. dev, test, production, etc.

Start by adding to your resources folder.


This is the base profile which will always be loaded, but can be overridden. Now you can run the program without passing any arguments from the command line.

Next, create a file for each profile called application-${profile}.properties in your resources folder.

For example


In order to activate one or more of these profiles, you can pass a comma-separated list via the command line or an environment variable.

If you wanted to activate the profiles prod and secret:

Command line:

java -jar App.jar --arkenv_profile prod,secret

Environment variable:

export ARKENV_PROFILE=prod,secret

ℹ️ You can also use yaml for your profiles. See YamlFeature.


For local development you may be using docker-compose to provide the database or other services.

You can easily integrate the .env file that is used for compose with Arkenv.

Use either cli, env vars, or a profile to specify the name of the dot env file that you want to use as a source.



By default, Arkenv provides you with a flexible set of configuration sources that enable you to externalize your configuration without having to think about how it is loaded.

Head over to the feature section to find out what else is possible.