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Command Line Interface for Ceylon
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fr.minibilles.cli allows to create command line interfaces (CLI) using simple annotations.

Thanks to David Festal for the info annotation and the bug fixes.

Build Status

Getting Started

First import the module: import fr.minibilles.cli; in your module.ceylon.

Using option, info and parameters annotation you can simply create a CLI:

Here is a simple example for a declaration:

"Simple example for command line"
parameters({`value files`})
info("Show this help", "help", 'h')
info("Presents the program version", "version", 'v')
shared class Example1(
    "Files to process"
    shared [String*] files,

    "Show some lines"
    option("show", 's')
    shared Integer showLine
) { }

The parameters() annotation allows to describe a list of arguments without any dash. For instance, here with example1 file1.txt file2.ceylon will add file1.txt and file2.ceylon to the files value. There can be only one parameters annotation on the class.

The info() annotation on the class adds meta options that are simple switches to print some information about the program. The example info("Show this help", "help", 'h') adds a -h|--help options that returns as an Info object from the parsing.

The option annotation on a value declaration associates an argument flag (-short or --longName) with a value in the class.

Here is an example how to parse the arguments and treat the result:

 // parses some arguments
value result = parseArguments<Example1>(args);

switch (result)
case (is Example1) {
    print("Executing test with ``optionsAndParameters<Example1>(result)``");
case (is Info) {
    switch (result.longName)
    case ("help") {
        // prints help
    case ("version") {
        print("Version `` `module fr.minibilles.cli`.version ``");
    else {
        print("Information ``result.longName`` is not supported");
case (is [String+]) {
    print("Parsing argument has errors ``result``");


example1(["--show", "10", "file1.txt", "file2.txt"]);

will print

Usage: example1 [options] [files]
  Simple example for command line

  	-s value, --show=value
		Show some lines

  -h, --help
		Show this help

  -v, --version
		Presents the program version
Executing test with Example1:
-showLine: 10
-files: [file1.txt, file2.txt]
Version 0.2.2

To print the help for a given class just use:


Inheritance is supported, there is an example here.

JSON Support

fr.minibilles.cli supports JSON format to read options. For the previous example, JSON would look like:

{ "help": true }
{ "version": true }
  "show": 10, 
  "--": ["file1.txt", "file2.txt"]

To read the option from JSON use:

value result = parseJson<Example1>(json);
// the result is of the same type as parseArguments()

Supported types

Here are the supported types:

  • String
  • Boolean
  • Float
  • Integer
  • Case objects will search for the object with the matching string, for instance:
interface Command of start|stop|restart {}
object start satisfies Command { 
	shared actual String string = "start";
object stop satisfies Command {
	shared actual String string = "stop";
object restart satisfies Command {
	shared actual String string = "restart";

For any other type, a creator annotation can be added to set a creator function. It reference a function taking a String as parameter and retreiving the value type or nothing. For instance:

option("source") creator(`function parsePath`)
shared Path source = parsePath("/")

Sequential allows to defines multiple arguments: [String+] files. (see limitations for multiple arguments).

Known limitations

  • In the parameters list the first sequential value found will use all the remaining arguments.
  • Multiple parameters must be of type Sequential, Iterable isn't supported.
  • Case object won't be correctly printed for the help (todo).

Things to come

  • Support for -- to break options parsing
  • Support for an automatic mode to read options from JSON


Here are some examples:

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