A scalable command-line arguments parser
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Declare scalatest as a test dependency. It is really a test one.
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Commander Scala

A scalable command-line parser inspired by commander.js.

Commander-scala is available on Maven Central.

libraryDependencies += "com.github.acrisci" % "commander_2.11" % "0.1.0"

Option parsing

Options with commander are defined with the .option() method, also serving as documentation for the options. The example below parses args and options from args, leaving remaining args as the program.args array which were not consumed by options. Options will be set on the program dynamically based on the camelcased form of the long opt.

import com.github.acrisci.commander.Program

var program = new Program()
  .option("-p, --peppers", "Add peppers")
  .option("-P, --pineapple", "Add pineapple")
  .option("-b, --bbq-sauce", "Add bbq sauce")
  .option("-c, --cheese [type]", "Add the specified type of cheese [marble]", default="marble")

if (args.isEmpty)

println("you ordered a pizza with:")
if (program.peppers)
  println("  - peppers")
if (program.pineapple)
  println("  - pineapple")
if (program.bbqSauce)
  println("  - bbq")
println("  - " + program.cheese + " cheese")

Type Coercion

To coerce an option to a certain type, you can add a coercion function with the fn parameter. The coercion function should take the string given as input and coerce it to the type you want. Then you can then access the option on the Program as that type by providing a type tag.

val program = new Program()
  .description("A program that can sum or multiply a list of numbers")
  .option("-o, --operation [operation]", "The operation to perform on the numbers [sum|multiply]", default="sum")
  .option("-n, --numbers <numbers>", "Comma-separated list of numbers", fn=_.split(",").map(_.toInt))

if (args.isEmpty)

if (program.operation.equals("sum")) {
  val sum = program.numbers[Array[Int]].sum
  println(s"the sum is $sum")
} else if (program.operation.equals("multiply")) {
  val product = program.numbers[Array[Int]].product
  println(s"the product is $product")
} else {
  println("Operation must be either 'sum' or 'multiply'")


You can define commands on your program like this:

var program = new Program()
  .command(classOf[InstallPackages], "install [packages]", "Install the given packages")
  .command(classOf[SearchPackages], "search [query]", "Search for packages")
  .command(classOf[ListPackages], "list", "List packages")

If the name of the command is given as the first argument to the program, it will run the main method of the given class with the remaining arguments.


commander-scala is a work in progress.

Make issues on Github to report bugs or suggest new features. Let me know if you are working on something. Right now, I plan on staying as close to commander.js as is practical. However, I will change the api slightly where it makes sense given that Scala is very different from JavaScript. I also might add some features from other argument parsers that I like.

To Do

Here are some things that need to be done.

  • Set no help
  • Code cleanup
  • Test --help option and help command
  • Cleanup program constructor args (debug mode for tests?)
  • Promotion
  • Command name duplicates
  • Provide an action, options, and description for commands



Copyright © 2015, Tony Crisci