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README.rst

Opterator

Opterator is an option parsing script for Python that takes the boilerplate out of option parsing.

Opterator is based on the idea that a main() function for a script can be decorated to allow command-line arguments to be translated into method parameters. This allows it to be self-documenting, and reduces errors in creating and assigning options. I don't know if you'd want to use it for large programs, but it's really useful for quick and dirty ones where you can't decide if you want to bother with argparse, but querying sys.argv manually is a bit too complicated.

For example, you can document a simple program for renaming a file using opterator like this:

from opterator import opterate
@opterate
def main(source, dest, backup=False, interactive=False):
    '''A script for renaming files
    :param source: the source file
    :param dest: the destination
    :param backup: backup the file
    :param interactive: -p --interactive interatively
    move files...     '''
    # Move the file

if __name__ == '__main__':
    main()

For comparison, an optparse program would take several more less readable lines of code:

from argparse import ArgumentParser

def main():
    '''main entrypoint for renaming files. Accept two options, backup
    and interactive'''
    parser = ArgumentParser(usage="A script for renaming files")
    parser.add_argument("source", help="the source file")
    parser.add_argument("dest", help="the destination")
    parser.add_argument('-b', '--backup', action="store_true",
        help='backup the file')
    parser.add_argument('-p', '--interactive', action="store_true",
        help='interactively move files')
    arguments = parser.parse_args()
    # Move the file

if __name__ == '__main__':
    main()

Opterator automatically generates help messages from the docstring. The main part of the docstring becomes the main part of the help string. The individual parameter docstrings become the helptext for the arguments. By default, the long and short form of a given parameter come from the parameter name and the first character of the parameter name. In Python 3, you can replace this with a function annotation; or in Python 2 or 3 you can replace them by adding options that begin with a - character between the parameter and the docstring.

So, if your main function looks like this:

from opterator import opterate


@opterate
def main(filename1, filename2, recursive=False, backup=False,
         suffix='~', *other_filenames):
    '''An example copy script with some example parameters that might
    be used in a file or directory copy command.

    :param recursive: -r --recursive copy directories
        recursively
    :param backup: -b --backup backup any files you copy over
    :param suffix: -S --suffix override the usual backup
        suffix '''
    filenames = [filename1, filename2] + list(other_filenames)
    destination = filenames.pop()

    print("You asked to move %s to %s" % (filenames, destination))
    if recursive:
        print("You asked to copy directories recursively.")
    if backup:
        print("You asked to backup any overwritten files.")
        print("You would use the suffix %s" % suffix)

if __name__ == '__main__':
    main()

Your help text will look like this:

.. code-block:: none

dusty:opterator $ python cp.py -h usage: cp.py [-h] [-r] [-b] [-S SUFFIX] filename1 filename2 [other_filenames [other_filenames ...]]

An example copy script with some example parameters that might be used in a file or directory copy command.

positional arguments:
filename1 filename2 other_filenames
optional arguments:
-h, --help show this help message and exit
-r, --recursive
  copy directories recursively
-b, --backup backup any files you copy over
-S SUFFIX, --suffix SUFFIX
  override the usual backup suffix

If you want to try out the funky function annotation syntax, give this a shot:

from opterator import opterate


@opterate
def main(show_details:['-l']=False, cols:['-w', '--width']='', *files):
    '''
    List information about a particular file or set of files

    :param show_details: Whether to show detailed info about files
    :param cols: specify screen width
    '''
    print(files)
    print(show_details)
    print(cols)

if __name__ == '__main__':
    main()
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