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Command line argument to object parsing library for command line application development

Project description

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What is Commandlines?

Commandlines is a Python library for command line application development that supports command line argument parsing, command string validation testing, & application logic. It has no external dependencies and provides broad Python interpreter support for Python 2.6+, Python 3.3+, pypy, and pypy3 across OS X, Linux, and Windows platforms.

How Do I Use It?

The command line string to your executable script is parsed to multiple objects that are derived from builtin Python types.

The Command Object

Instantiate a commandlines Command object:

from commandlines import Command

c = Command()

and you have access to:


Command Line Arguments Command Example Accessed/Tested With
Length of arg list $ spam eggs -t --out file c.argc == 4
Command suite sub-commands $ spam eggs c.subcmd == "eggs"
Command suite sub-sub-commands $ spam eggs overeasy c.subsubcmd == "overeasy"
Short switch syntax $ spam -e c.contains_switches('e')
Long switch syntax $ spam --eggs c.contains_switches('eggs')
Multiple switches $ spam -e --eggs c.contains_switches('e', 'eggs')
Short opt-arg definition syntax $ spam -o eggs c.get_definition('o')
Long opt-arg definition syntax $ spam --out egg s c.get_definition('out')
Alt long opt-arg definition syntax $ spam --out=egg s c.get_definition('out')
Multiple same option definitions $ spam -o eggs -o omelets c.get_multiple_definitions('o')
Multi-option short syntax switches $ spam -mpns egg s c.contains_mops('m')
Next positional argument $ spam eggs test/path c.get_arg_after('eggs')

Positional Arguments

Positional arguments use a 0 based index starting at the first argument to the executable (i.e. sys.argv[1:]) and are maintained as attributes in the Command object. Individual attribute support is provided for the first five positional arguments and the last positional argument. An ordered list of all positional arguments is available in the arguments attribute.

Positional Argument Command Example Accessed/Tested With
Positional argument at index 0 $ spam eggs c.arg0
Positional argument at index 1 $ spam eggs bacon c.arg1
Positional argument at index 2 $ spam eggs bacon toast c.arg2
Positional argument at index 3 $ spam eggs bacon toast cereal c.arg3
Positional argument at index 4 $ spam eggs bacon toast cereal milk c.arg4
Last positional argument $ spam eggs -b --toast filepath c.arglp
All positional arguments $ spam eggs -b - -toast filepath c.arguments

Special Command Line Idioms

Command Line Idioms Command Example Accessed/Tested With
Double dash idiom $ spam eggs -- -badfile c.has_double_dash()
Double dash arguments $ spam eggs -- -badfile -badfile2 c.get_double_dash_args()

Application Logic Testing Methods

Test Type Command Example Tested With
Positional command sequence $ spam eggs doit c.has_command_sequence('eggs', 'doit')
Single switch $ spam -s c.contains_switches('s')
Multiple switch $ spam -s --eggs c.contains_switches('s', 'eggs')
Single definition $ spam -o eggs c.contains_definitions('o')
Multiple different definitions $ spam -o eggs --with bacon c.contains_definitions('o', 'with')
Multiple same definitions $ spam -o eggs -o bacon c.contains_multi_definitions('o')
Positional argument $ spam eggs --coffee c.has_args_after('eggs')
Acceptable positional arg $ spam eggs toaster c.next_arg_is_in('eggs', ['toaster', 'coffeepot'])

Command String Validation Methods

Test Type Failure Example Tested With
Missing arguments $ spam c.does_not_validate_missing_args()
Expected argument number $ spam eggs c.does_not_validate_n_args(2)
Missing opt-arg definitions $ spam -o --eggs c.does_not_validate_missing_defs()
Missing switches $ spam eggs c.does_not_validate_missing_switches()
Missing multi-option short syntax switches $ spam -o eggs c.does_not_validate_missing_mops()

Help, Usage, and Version Request Testing Methods

Test Type Command Example Tested With
Help request, short $ spam -h c.is_help_request()
Help request, long $ spam --help c.is_help_request()
Usage request $ spam --usage c.is_usage_request()
Version request, short $ spam -v c.is_version_request()
Version request, long $ spam --version c.is_version_request()

API Documentation

You can view the full documentation for the Command class here.

If you would like to dig into lower level objects in the commandlines package, you can view the library API documentation.

Exceptions that are used in the commandlines package are documented here.

How to Include Commandlines in Your Project

For Projects That Will Be Distributed to Others

Add the commandlines package dependency to your project file in the install_requires field like so:


Then, enter the following command to test your project locally:

$ python develop

Import the commandlines package in your project and instantiate a Command object by adding the following lines to your Python script:

from commandlines import Command

c = Command()

And away you go…

The Commandlines package will be installed automatically for users who install your releases via pip or your project file (i.e. with the command $ python install).

For Local Projects That Are Not Intended for Redistribution

Install the Commandlines package with the command:

$ pip install commandlines

Import the commandlines package in your project and instantiate a Command object by adding the following lines to your Python script:

from commandlines import Command

c = Command()


Commandlines is licensed under the MIT license.

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