A Minecraft library for saving, loading, updating, and commenting YAML configuration files
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A Minecraft library for saving, loading, updating, and commenting YAML configuration files.

This library facilitates creating, saving, loading, updating, and commenting YAML configuration files. It does so by automatically mapping instances of configuration classes to serializable maps which are first transformed into YAML and then saved to some specified file.

Information on how to import this library can be found at the end of this documentation. For a step-by-step tutorial that shows most features of this library in action check out the Tutorial page on the wiki!


  • Automatic creation, saving, loading, and updating of configuration files
  • Support for comments through annotations
  • Support for all primitive types, their wrapper types, and strings
  • Support for all Java enums, records, and POJOs (+ inheritance!)
  • Support for (nested) lists, sets, arrays, and maps
  • Support for BigInteger and BigDecimal
  • Support for LocalDate, LocalTime, LocalDateTime, and Instant
  • Support for UUID, File, Path, URL, and URI
  • Support for Bukkit's ConfigurationSerializable types (e.g. ItemStack)
  • Option to format the names of configuration elements
  • Option to exclude fields from being converted
  • Option to customize null handling
  • Option to customize serialization by providing your own serializers
  • Option to add headers and footers to configuration files
  • ...and a few more!

Usage example

This section contains a short usage example to get you started. The whole range of features is discussed in the following sections. Information on how to import this library is located at the end of this documentation.

For a step-by-step tutorial with a more advanced example check out the Tutorial page on the wiki.

If you want support for Bukkit classes like ItemStack, check out the Configuration properties section.

public final class Example {
    // * To create a configuration annotate a class with @Configuration and make sure that
    //   it has a no-args constructor.
    // * Now add fields to that class and assign them default values.
    // * That's it! Fields can be private; setters are not required.
    public static class BaseConfiguration {
        private String host = "";
        private int port = 1234;
        // The library supports lists, sets, and maps.
        private Set<String> blockedAddresses = Set.of("");
        // Fields can be ignored by making them final, transient, static or by
        // annotating them with @Ignore.
        private final double ignoreMe = 3.14;

    // This library supports records; no @Configuration annotation required
    public record User(
            String username,
            @Comment("Please choose a strong password.")
            String password
    ) {}

    // Subclassing of configurations and nesting of configurations in other configurations
    // is also supported. Subclasses don't need to be annotated again.
    public static final class UserConfiguration extends BaseConfiguration {
        // You can add comments with the @Comment annotation. Each string in the comment
        // array is written (as a comment) on a new line.
        @Comment({"The admin user has full access.", "Choose a proper password!"})
        User admin = new User("root", "toor"); // The User class is a record!
        List<User> blockedUsers = List.of(
                new User("user1", null), // null values are supported
                new User("user2", null)

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        var configFile = Paths.get("/tmp/config.yml");
        var config = new UserConfiguration();

        // Save an instance to the configuration file, UserConfiguration.class, config);

        // Load a new instance from the configuration file
        config = YamlConfigurations.load(configFile, UserConfiguration.class);

        // Modify the configuration and save it again
        config.blockedUsers.add(new User("user3", "pass3"));, UserConfiguration.class, config);

By running the above code, a new YAML configuration is created at /tmp/config.yml. Its content looks like this:

port: 1234
# The admin user has full access.
# Choose a proper password!
  username: root
  # Please choose a strong password.
  password: toor
  - username: user1
  - username: user2
  - username: user3
    password: pass3

Two things are noticeable here:

  1. Not every user in the blockedUsers list has a password mapping. This is because null values are not output by default. That behavior can be changed by the builder.
  2. The password of the user with username user3 has no comment. This is due to limitations of the YAML library. Configurations in lists, sets, or maps cannot have their comments printed.

General information

In the following sections the term configuration type refers to any Java record type or to any non-generic class that is directly or indirectly (i.e. through subclassing) annotated with @de.exlll.configlib.Configuration. Accordingly, the term configuration refers to an instance of such a type. A configuration element is either a class field or a record component of a configuration type.

Declaring configuration types

To declare a configuration type, either define a Java record or annotate a class with @Configuration and make sure that it has a no-args constructor. The no-args constructor can be private. Inner classes (i.e. the ones that are nested but not static) have an implicit synthetic constructor with at least one argument and are, therefore, not supported.

Now simply add components to your record or fields to your class whose type is any of the supported types listed in the next section. You can (and should) initialize all fields of a configuration class with non-null default values.

Supported types

A configuration type may only contain configuration elements of the following types:

Type class Types
Boolean types boolean, and Boolean
Integer types byte, short, int, long, and their respective wrapper types
Floating point types float, double, and their respective wrapper types
Characters and strings char, Character, String
Big numeric types BigInteger, BigDecimal
Time related types LocalTime, LocalDate, LocalDateTime, Instant
Utility types UUID, File, Path, URL, URI
Enums Any Java enum
Configurations Any Java record or any class annotated with @Configuration
ConfigurationSerializable All Bukkit classes that implement this interface, like ItemStack
Collections (Nested) Lists, sets, maps*, or arrays of previously listed types

(*) Map keys can only be of simple or enum type, i.e. they cannot be in the Collections, Configurations, or ConfigurationSerializable type class.

For all types that are not listed in the table above, you can provide your own custom serializer.

Examples of supported types

The following class contains examples of types that this library supports:

public final class SupportedTypes {
    boolean supported;
    Character supported;
    String supported;
    LocalTime supported;
    UUID supported;
    ExampleEnum supported;    // where 'ExampleEnum' is some Java enum type
    ExampleConfig supported;  // where 'ExampleConfig' is a class annotated with @Configuration
    ExampleRecord supported;  // where 'ExampleRecord' is a Java record

    /* collection types */
    List<BigInteger> supported;
    Set<Double> supported;
    LocalDate[] supported;
    Map<ExampleEnum, ExampleConfig> supported;

    /* nested collection types */
    List<Map<ExampleEnum, LocalDate>> supported;
    int[][] supported;
    Map<Integer, List<Map<Short, Set<ExampleRecord>>>> supported;

    // supported if a custom serializer is registered
    java.awt.Point supported;

    // supported when a special properties object is used (explained further below)
    org.bukkit.inventory.ItemStack supported;
Examples of unsupported types

The following class contains examples of types that this library does (and will) not support:

public final class UnsupportedTypes<T> {
    Map<Point, String> unsupported;        // invalid map key
    Map<List<String>, String> unsupported; // invalid map key
    Box<String> unsupported;               // custom parameterized type
    List<? extends String> unsupported;    // wildcard type
    List<?> unsupported;                   // wildcard type
    List<?>[] unsupported;                 // wildcard type
    T unsupported;                         // type variable
    List unsupported;                      // raw type
    List[] unsupported;                    // raw type
    List<String>[] unsupported;            // generic array type
    Set<Integer>[] unsupported;            // generic array type
    Map<Byte, Byte>[] unsupported;         // generic array type

NOTE: Even though this library does not support these types, it is still possible to serialize them by providing a custom serializer via the @SerializeWith annotation. That serializer then has to be applied to top-level type (i.e. nesting must be set to 0, which is the default).

Loading and saving configurations

There are two ways to load and save configurations. Which way you choose depends on your liking. Both ways have three methods in common:

  • The save method saves a configuration to a file. The file is created if it does not exist and is overwritten otherwise.
  • The load method creates a new configuration instance and populates it with values taken from a file. For classes, the no-args constructor is used to create a new instance. For records, the canonical constructor is called.
  • The update method is a combination of load and save and the method you'd usually want to use: it takes care of creating the configuration file if it does not exist and otherwise updates it to reflect changes to (the configuration elements of) the configuration type.
Example of update behavior when configuration file exists

Let's say you have the following configuration type:

public final class C {
    int i = 10; 
    int j = 11; 

... and a YAML configuration file that contains:

i: 20
k: 30

Now, when you use one of the methods below to call update for that configuration type and file, the configuration instance that update returns will have its i variable initialized to 20 and its j variable will have its default of 11. After the operation, the configuration file will contain:

i: 20
j: 11

To exemplify the usage of these three methods we assume for the following sections that you have implemented the configuration type below and have access to some regular java.nio.file.Path object configurationFile.

public final class Config { /* some fields */ }

Way 1

The first way is to create a configuration store and use it directly to save, load, or update configurations.

YamlConfigurationProperties properties = YamlConfigurationProperties.newBuilder().build();
YamlConfigurationStore<Config> store = new YamlConfigurationStore<>(Config.class, properties);

Config config1 = store.load(configurationFile);, configurationFile);
Config config2 = store.update(configurationFile);

Way 2

The second way is to use the static methods from the YamlConfigurations class.

Config config1 = YamlConfigurations.load(configurationFile, Config.class);, Config.class, config1);
Config config2 = YamlConfigurations.update(configurationFile, Config.class);

Each of these methods has two additional overloads: One that takes a properties object and another that lets you configure a properties object builder. For example, the overloads of the load method are:

// overload 1
YamlConfigurationProperties properties = YamlConfigurationProperties.newBuilder().build();
Config config1 = YamlConfigurations.load(configurationFile, Config.class, properties);

// overload 2
Config config2 = YamlConfigurations.load(
    builder -> builder.inputNulls(true).outputNulls(false)

All three methods can also be passed a Java record instead of a class. To provide default values for records when calling the update method, you can add a constructor with no parameters that initializes its components. This constructor is only called if the configuration file does not exist.

record User(String name, String email) {
    User() { this("John Doe", "[email protected]"); }
User user = YamlConfigurations.update(configurationFile, User.class);

Configuration properties

Instances of the ConfigurationProperties class allow customization of how configurations are stored and loaded. To create such an instance, instantiate a new builder using the YamlConfigurationProperties.newBuilder() method, configure it, and finally call its build() method. Alternatively, you can use the toBuilder() method of an existing YamlConfigurationProperties to create a new builder that is initialized with values takes from the properties object.

Check out the methods of the builder class to see which configuration options are available.

Support for Bukkit classes like ItemStack

There is a special YamlConfigurationProperties object with name BUKKIT_DEFAULT_PROPERTIES that adds support for Bukkit's ConfigurationSerializable types. If you want to use any of these types in your configuration, you have to use that object as a starting point:

YamlConfigurationProperties properties = ConfigLib.BUKKIT_DEFAULT_PROPERTIES.toBuilder()
     // ...further configure the builder...

To get access to this object, you have to import configlib-paper instead of configlib-yaml as described in the Import section.


The configuration elements of a configuration type can be annotated with the @Comment annotation. This annotation takes an array of strings. Each of these strings is written onto a new line as a comment. The strings can contain \n characters. Empty strings are written as newlines (not as comments).

If a configuration type C that defines comments is used (as a configuration element) within another configuration type, the comments of C are written with the proper indentation. However, if instances of C are stored inside a collection, their comments are not printed when the collection is written.

Serializing the following configuration as YAML ...

public final class ExampleConfiguration {
    @Comment({"Hello", "", " ", "World"})
    private String commentedField = "commented field";

... results in the YAML file shown below:

 # Hello

 # World
 commentedField: commented field

Similarly, if you define the following record configuration and save it ...

record Address(@Comment("The street") String street) {}
record User(@Comment("The name") String name, @Comment("The address") Address address) {}

User user = new User("John Doe", new Address("10 Downing St"));

... you get:

# The name
name: John Doe
# The address
  # The street
  street: 10 Downing St


Subclassing of configurations types is supported. Subclasses of configuration types don't need to be annotated with @Configuration. When a configuration is written, the fields of parent classes are written before the fields of the child in a top to bottom manner. Parent configurations can be abstract.

Shadowing of fields

Shadowing of fields refers to the situation where a subclass of configuration has a field that has the same name as a field in one of its super classes. Shadowing of fields is currently not supported. (This restriction might easily be lifted. If you need this feature, please open an issue and describe how to handle name clashes.)

Ignoring and filtering fields

Fields that are final, static, transient or annotated with @Ignore are neither serialized nor updated during deserialization. You can filter out additional fields by providing an instance of FieldFilter to the configuration properties. Record components cannot be filtered.

Handling of missing and null values

Missing values

When a configuration file is read, values that correspond to a configuration element might be missing. That can happen, for example, when somebody deleted that value from the configuration file, when you add configuration elements to your configuration type, or when the NameFormatter that was used to create that file is replaced.

In such cases, fields of configuration classes keep the default value you assigned to them and record components are initialized with the default value of their corresponding type.

Null values

NOTE: Null values written to a configuration file generally don't give any indication about which kinds of values the configuration expects. Therefore, they not only make it harder for the users of that configuration file to properly configure it, but they might also prevent loading a configuration if the values the users set are of the wrong type.

Although strongly discouraged, null values are supported and ConfigurationProperties let you configure how they are handled when serializing and deserializing a configuration:

  • By setting outputNulls to false, configuration elements, and collection elements that are null are not output. Any comments that belong to such fields are also not written.
  • By setting inputNulls to false, null values read from the configuration file are treated as missing and are, therefore, handled as described in the section above.
  • By setting inputNulls to true, null values read from the configuration file override the corresponding default values of a configuration class with null or set the component value of a record type to null. If the configuration element type is primitive, an exception is thrown.

The following code forbids null values to be output but allows null values to be input. By default, both are forbidden which makes the call to outputNulls in this case redundant.


Formatting the names of configuration elements

You can define how the names of configuration elements are formatted by configuring the configuration properties with a custom formatter. Formatters are implementations of the NameFormatter interface. You can implement this interface yourself or use one of the several formatters this library provides. These pre-defined formatters can be found in the NameFormatters class.

The following code formats fields using the IDENTITY formatter (which is the default).


Type conversion and serializer selection

Before instances of the types listed in the supported types section can be stored, they need to be converted into serializable types (i.e. into types the underlying YAML library knows how to handle). The conversion happens according to the following table:

Source type Target type
Boolean types Boolean
Integer types Long
Floating point types Double
Characters and strings String
Big numeric types String
Time related types String
Utility types String
Enums String
Configurations Map<String, ?>
Set<S> List<T>*
List<S> List<T>
S[] List<T>
Map<S1, S2> Map<T1, T2>
ConfigurationSerializable String

(*) By default, sets are serialized as lists. This can be changed through the configuration properties. This also means that Sets are valid target types.

Serializer selection

To convert the value of a configuration element E with (source) type S into a serializable value of some target type, a serializer has to be selected. Serializers are instances of the de.exlll.configlib.Serializer interface and are selected based on S. Put differently, serializers are, by default, always selected based on the compile-time type of E and never on the runtime type of its value.

Why should I care about this?

This distinction makes a difference (and might lead to confusion) when you have configuration elements that are configuration classes, and you extend those classes. Concretely, assume you have written two configuration classes A and B where B extends A. Then, if you use A a = new B() in your main configuration, only the fields of a A will be stored when you save your main configuration. That is because the serializer of field a was selected based on the compile-time type of a which is A and not B. The same happens if you have a List<A> and put instances of B (or some other subclass of A) in it.

You can override the default selection by annotating a configuration element with @SerializeWith, by annotating a type with @SerializeWith, or by adding your own serializer for S to the configuration properties. When you do so, it can happen that there multiple serializers available for a particular configuration element and its type. In that case, one of them chosen according to the following precedence rules:

  1. If the element is annotated with @SerializeWith and the nesting matches, the serializer referenced by the annotation is selected.
  2. Otherwise, if the ConfigurationProperties contain a serializer for the type in question, that serializer is returned.
    • Serializers created by factories that were added through addSerializerFactory for some type take precedence over serializers added by addSerializer for the same type.
  3. If the type is annotated @SerializeWith, the serializer referenced by the annotation is selected.
  4. If the type is annotated with an annotation which is annotated with @SerializeWith, the serializer referenced by @SerializeWith is returned.
  5. If this library defines a serializer for that type, that serializer is selected.
  6. Ultimately, if no serializer can be found, an exception is thrown.

For lists, sets, and maps, the algorithm is applied to their generic type arguments recursively first.

The SerializeWith annotation

The SerializeWith annotation enforces the use of the specified serializer for a configuration element or type. It can be applied to configuration elements (i.e. class fields and record components), to types, and to other annotations.

@SerializeWith(serializer = MyPointSerializer.class)
Point point;
@SerializeWith(serializer = SomeClassSerializer.class)
public final class SomeClass {/* ... */} 

The serializer referenced by this annotation is selected regardless of whether the annotated type or type of configuration element matches the type the serializer expects.

If the annotation is applied to a configuration element and that element is an array, list, set, or map, a nesting level can be set to apply the serializer not to the top-level type but to its elements. For maps, the serializer is applied to the values and not the keys.

@SerializeWith(serializer = MySetSerializer.class, nesting = 1)
List<Set<String>> list;

Setting nesting to an invalid value, i.e. a negative one or one that is greater than the number of levels the element actually has, results in the serializer not being selected. For type annotations, the nesting has no effect.

More nesting examples

In this example...

@SerializeWith(serializer = MySetSerializer.class, nesting = 1)
List<Set<String>> list;
  • a nesting of 0 would apply the serializer to list (which is of type List<Set<String>>),
  • a nesting of 1 would apply it to the Set<String> elements within list, and
  • a nesting of 2 would apply it to the strings within the sets of list.

However, since the referenced serializer MySetSerializer most likely expects Sets as input, setting nesting to 0 or 2 would result in an exception being thrown when the configuration is serialized.

Some more examples:

// MyListSerializer is applied to 'list'
@SerializeWith(serializer = MyListSerializer.class)
List<Set<String>> list;

// MySetSerializer is applied to the Set<String> elements of 'list'
@SerializeWith(serializer = MySetSerializer.class, nesting = 1)
List<Set<String>> list;

// MyStringSerializer is applied to the strings within the set elements of 'list'
@SerializeWith(serializer = MyStringSerializer.class, nesting = 2)
List<Set<String>> list;

// MyMap0Serializer is applied to 'map'
@SerializeWith(serializer = MyMap0Serializer.class)
Map<Integer, Map<String, Double>> map;

// MyMap1Serializer is applied to the Map<String, Double> values of 'map'
@SerializeWith(serializer = MyMap1Serializer.class, nesting = 1)
Map<Integer, Map<String, Double>> map;

// MyDoubleSerializer is applied to the doubles within the nested values of 'map'
@SerializeWith(serializer = MyDoubleSerializer.class, nesting = 2)
Map<Integer, Map<String, Double>> map; 

The @Polymorphic annotation

The @Polymorphic annotation indicates that the annotated type is polymorphic. Serializers for polymorphic types are not selected based on the compile-time types of configuration elements, but instead are chosen at runtime based on the actual types of their values.

This enables adding instances of subclasses / implementations of a polymorphic type to collections. The subtypes must be valid configurations.

static abstract class A { ... }

static final class Impl1 extends A { ... }
static final class Impl2 extends A { ... }
List<A> as = List.of(new Impl1(...), new Impl2(...), ...); 

For correct deserialization, if an instance of polymorphic type (or one of its implementations / subclasses) is serialized, an additional property that holds type information is added to its serialization. By default, that type information is the Java class name of the actual type. It is possible to provide type aliases by using the PolymorphicTypes annotation.

        @PolymorphicTypes.Type(type = Impl1.class, alias = "IMPL_1"),
        @PolymorphicTypes.Type(type = Impl2.class, alias = "IMPL_2")
interface B { ... }

record Impl1(...) implements B { ... }
record Impl2(...) implements B { ... }

Custom serializers

If you want to add support for a type that is not a Java record or whose class is not annotated with @Configuration, or if you don't like how one of the supported types is serialized by default, you can write your own custom serializer.

Serializers are instances of the de.exlll.configlib.Serializer interface. When implementing that interface you have to make sure that you convert your source type into one of the valid target types listed in type conversion section.

The serializer then has to be registered through a ConfigurationProperties object or alternatively be applied to a configuration element or type with @SerializeWith. If you want to use the @SerializeWith annotation, your serializer class must either have a constructor with no parameters or one with exactly one parameter of type SerializerContext.

The following Serializer serializes instances of java.awt.Point into strings and vice versa.

public final class PointSerializer implements Serializer<Point, String> {
    public String serialize(Point element) {
        return element.x + ":" + element.y;

    public Point deserialize(String element) {
        String[] parts = element.split(":");
        int x = Integer.parseInt(parts[0]);
        int y = Integer.parseInt(parts[1]);
        return new Point(x, y);
YamlConfigurationProperties properties = YamlConfigurationProperties.newBuilder()
        .addSerializer(Point.class, new PointSerializer())
The SerializerContext interface

Instances of the SerializerContext interface contain contextual information for custom serializers. A context object gives access to the configuration properties, configuration element, and the annotated type for which the serializer was selected.

Context objects can be obtained when adding serializer factories through the addSerializerFactory method:

public final class PointSerializer implements Serializer<Point, String> {
    private final SerializerContext context;

    public PointSerializer(SerializerContext context) {
        this.context = context;
    // implementation ...
YamlConfigurationProperties properties = YamlConfigurationProperties.newBuilder()
        .addSerializerFactory(Point.class, PointSerializer::new)

Custom serializers used with @SerializeWith are allowed to declare a constructor with one parameter of type SerializerContext. If such a constructor exists, a context object is passed to it when the serializer is instantiated by this library.

Changing the type of configuration elements

Changing the type of configuration elements is not supported. If you change the type of one of these but your configuration file still contains a value of the old type, a type mismatch will occur when loading a configuration from that file. Instead, remove the old element and add a new one with a different name.

Recursive type definitions

Recursive type definitions are currently not allowed but might be supported in a future version if this feature is requested.

Examples of recursive type definitions

Neither direct nor indirect recursive type definitions are supported.

public final class RecursiveTypDefinitions {
    // Direct recursive definition
    static final class R {
        R r;

    // Indirect recursive definition
    static final class R1 {
        R2 r2;

    static final class R2 {
        R1 r1;

Project and repository structure

This project contains three classes of modules:

  • The configlib-core module contains most of the logic of this library. In it, you can find (among other things), the object mapper that converts configuration instances to maps (and vice versa), most serializers, and the classes responsible for the extraction of comments. It does not contain anything Minecraft related.
  • The configlib-yaml module contains the classes that can save configuration instances as YAML files and instantiate new instances from such files. This module does not contain anything Minecraft related, either.
  • The configlib-paper, configlib-velocity, and configlib-waterfall modules contain basic plugins that are used to conveniently load this library. These three modules shade the -core module, the -yaml module, and the YAML parser when the shadowJar task is executed. The shaded jar files are released on the releases page.
    • The configlib-paper module additionally contains the ConfigLib.BUKKIT_DEFAULT_PROPERTIES object which adds support for the serialization of Bukkit classes like ItemStack as described here.

The GitHub repository of this project uses two branches:

  • The master branch contains the functionality of the latest release version.
  • The dev branch contains the newest, possibly unstable features and refactorings.

If you plan to contribute to this project, please base your commits on the dev branch.


To use this library, import it into your project with Maven or Gradle. Examples of how to do that are at the end of this section within the spoilers. Currently, there are two repositories from which you can choose: and GitHub (which requires authentication, see this issue if you have any problems).

This library has additional dependencies (namely, a YAML parser) which are not exposed by the artifact you import. You can download plugin versions of this library that bundle all its dependencies. The artifacts of these versions can be found on the releases page where you can identify them by their -paper-, -waterfall-, and -velocity- infix and -all suffix. Except for the -paper- version, the other plugin versions currently do not add any additional features. A benefit of these versions is that they make it easier for you to update this library if you have written multiple plugins that use it. If you plan to use these versions, don't forget to add the plugin as a dependency to the plugin.yml (for Paper and Waterfall) or to the dependencies array (for Velocity) of your own plugin.

Alternatively, if you don't want to use an extra plugin, you can shade the -yaml version with its YAML parser yourself.

Import examples

If you want serialization support for Bukkit classes like ItemStack, replace configlib-yaml with configlib-paper (see here).

Import via





repositories { maven { url '' } }

dependencies { implementation 'com.github.Exlll.ConfigLib:configlib-yaml:v4.2.0' }
repositories { maven { url = uri("") } }

dependencies { implementation("com.github.Exlll.ConfigLib:configlib-yaml:v4.2.0") }
Import via GitHub

Importing via GitHub requires authentication. Check this issue if you have any trouble with that.





repositories { maven { url '' } }

dependencies { implementation 'de.exlll:configlib-yaml:4.2.0' }
repositories { maven { url = uri("") } }

dependencies { implementation("de.exlll:configlib-yaml:4.2.0") }

Future work

This section contains ideas for upcoming features. If you want any of these to happen any time soon, please open an issue where we can discuss the details.

  • JSON, TOML, XML support
  • Post-load/Pre-save hooks
  • More features and control over updating/versioning
  • More control over the ordering of fields, especially in parent/child class scenarios
  • Recursive definitions
  • Shadowing of fields
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