Component frameworks are complex systems that rely on many layers of abstraction to function properly. One essential requirement is a consistent means of describing each individual component and how it relates to both other components and the whole framework. As component frameworks are designed to be flexible by nature, the description method should be simultaneously powerful, lead to efficient code, and be easy to use, so that new users can quickly adapt their own code to work with the framework. In this paper, we discuss the Cactus Configuration Language (CCL) which is used to describe components ("thorns") in the Cactus Framework. The CCL provides a description language for the variables, parameters, functions, scheduling and compilation of a component and includes concepts such as interface and implementation which allow thorns providing the same capabilities to be easily interchanged. We include several application examples which illustrate how community toolkits use the CCL and Cactus and identify needed additions to the language.