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Subcmd - command-line interfaces with subcommands and flags

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This is subcmd, a Go package for writing command-line programs that require flag parsing and that have “subcommands” that also require flag parsing.

Use it when you want your program to parse command lines that look like this:

command -globalopt subcommand -subopt1 FOO -subopt2 ARG1 ARG2

Subcommands may have sub-subcommands and so on. Subcommands may also be implemented as separate executables.

This is a layer on top of the standard Go flag package.


import (


func main() {
  // Parse global flags normally.
  dbname := flag.String("db", "", "database connection string")

  db, err := sql.Open(dbdriver, *dbname)
  if err != nil { ... }

  // Stash global options in a top-level command object.
  c := command{db: db}

  // Run the subcommand given in the remainder of the command line.
  err = subcmd.Run(context.Background(), c, flag.Args())
  if err != nil { ... }

// The top-level command object.
type command struct {
  db *sql.DB

// To be used in subcmd.Run above, `command` must implement this method.
func (c command) Subcmds() subcmd.Map {
  return subcmd.Commands(
    // The "list" subcommand takes one flag, -reverse.
    "list", c.list, "list employees", subcmd.Params(
      "-reverse", subcmd.Bool, false, "reverse order of list",

    // The "add" subcommand takes no flags but one positional argument.
    "add", c.add, "add new employee", subcmd.Params(
      "name", subcmd.String, "", "employee name",

// Implementation of the "list" subcommand.
// The value of the -reverse flag is passed as an argument.
func (c command) list(ctx context.Context, reverse bool, _ []string) error {
  query := "SELECT name FROM employees ORDER BY name"
  if reverse {
    query += " DESC"
  rows, err := c.db.QueryContext(ctx, query)
  if err != nil { ... }
  defer rows.Close()
  for rows.Next() { ... }
  return rows.Err()

// Implementation of the "add" subcommand.
func (c command) add(ctx context.Context, name string, _ []string) error {
  _, err := c.db.ExecContext(ctx, "INSERT INTO employees (name) VALUES ($1)", name)
  return err