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clojopts

What is it?

clojopts is a Clojure command-line parsing library. Its underlying parser is java-getopt, which is a direct port of GNU getopt, so users familiar with standard Unix tools should be very comfortable using it. However, clojopts comes with many features not available in raw getopt, making it more suitable for Clojure programs.

Program features

  • Its results are returned as a Clojure map, instead of by mutation of global flag variables.
  • It provides options for handling multiple occurrences of the same parameter.
  • It parses the options supplied by the user to native Clojure types - there are many built-in parsers, or you can supply your own.
  • Numerous options for customizing parsing behavior, with sensible defaults so the simple case is easy.

Sample usage

(def *argv* ["--name=~/src/clojure/awesome.clj"
               "-n" "10"])
(clojopts "clojopts"
            *argv*
            (optional-arg file f name "The file to use"
                          :parse #(java.io.File. %))
            (with-arg lines n "How many lines to read"))
=> {:file #<File ~/src/clojure/awesome.clj>, :lines 10}

Detailed usage options

The main entry point for clojopts is the (clojopts [prog-name argv & specs]) macro. It requires your program's name (for output in usage and version messages), a seq of command-line options, and any number of option specifiers. Returns a map of any options contained in the command line. Any non-option arguments will be supplied under the key :clojopts/more.

Options are specified in the following format: (arg-type name+ docstring & options) Supported values for arg-type are: no-arg, with-arg, and optional-arg.

At least one name must be supplied, the first of which will be used as the key for arguments having any of these names. Names need not be quoted, and must not include leading dashes. Single-character names are used as short options; longer names as long options. For example, (no-arg verbose v "Verbose output") allows the user to specify either --verbose or -v, and supplies you with a :verbose key in either case.

The docstring is REQUIRED, both to enforce good documentation and to use as a separator between the list of names/aliases and any additional options. The docstring will be displayed to the user upon request with --help, or when the user supplies invalid parameters.

Permitted options include:

  • :default - the value to use if an option was supplied without an argument. Defaults to nil.
  • :id - the key to use in the map returned after parsing. Normally this is the keyword version of the first name you supply, but you can override this behavior, for example to provide the user a --name option that you wish to refer to as :file.
  • :user-name - For options with arguments: what to call the argument in the --help string; defaults to "ARG". For example, --help might display --file=NAME
  • :parse - a custom parsing function to run on the option's value before returning it. See the :group key for details on how the parse function is applied.
  • :type - instructs clojopts to coerce the argument value to a particular type before handing it to your parsing function (or returning it). Supported types are:
    • :int
    • :str
    • :boolean - return false if the option is not present, or is "no", "false", or "0"; return true otherwise, including if the option is present with no argument
    • :file (a java.io.File)
    • :guess - this is the default option, and causes clojopts to try to guess the type of the argument from its value. Currently it tries in the following order, but this is subject to change: int, double, file, boolean, string. Most notably, file is only used if the file specified actually exists, because almost any string is a valid filename.
  • :group - this influences how clojopts behaves when a single option is given multiple times. With any group setting except for :list, the parse and type functions are called on individual option values; in :list mode they are called on the option list as a whole. Legal values are:
    • :last/first - ignore all but the specified element
    • :list - process the list as a whole
    • :map - parse each element of the list separately, and return the result as a list
    • :maybe-map - like :map, but single-element lists will be returned to you as a single non-list item. This is the default setting because it is easiest to use and is generally right, but :map will be provide more regular results if you want to handle one or more arguments similarly.
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