A simple command line parser written by standard C++.
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ProgramOptions is a helper for creating and managing CommandLine, it can be used for parsing command line as well as generate usage information automatically.

It stores options and values into a map.

It's easy to check whether an option exist, and get value with a specified type.


ProgramOptions includes two parts,

  • parser
  • usage generator

both part can be simply used as following:


  1. Include the header 'program_options/parser.h'.
  2. Note that Parser is in the program_options namespace.
  3. Declare an object associates with Parser.
  4. Then call Parser::parse() manually.
  5. Verify an option by calling has(),has_or(),has_and().
  6. To get a value from specified option by calling get() and then as< T >().
// $ path/to/program -xyz 3.14 --option value
Parser parser;
parser.parse(argc, argv);

// to get a value from an option
parser.get("option")->val(); // std::string

// verify an option

// verify a sequence of options (deprecated)
parser.has_or(2, "x", "y");
parser.has_and(2, "option", "c");
parser.has_and(1, "-xy");

// more simple way
parser.has_or({"x", "y"});
parser.has_and({"option", "c"});

It also supports "=" to assign a value to an option:

// $ path/to/program --option=value1,value2... -c=config.json
parser.get("option")->val(); // value1,value2...
parser.get("c")->as<std::string>(); // config.json

Subroutine parsing is also ok:

// $ path/to/program pull --option xx
parser.get_subroutine_name(); // pull
parser.get("option")->val(); // xx

For more details and examples, check out test/parser_test.cc

usage generator

  1. Include the header 'program_options/generator.h'.
  2. Declare an object associate with Generator.
  3. Begin with Generator::make_usage().
  4. Then just append parentheses and add your options and descriptions.
  5. Finally, just std::cout << object; and you will get all usage information.
Generator generator;

generator.make_usage("Usage for example:")
      ("h,help", "show help information")
      ("o,option", "", "this is an option")
      (",option-2", "this is the option 2")
      ("c,", "this is option c")
      ("p,position", "0.0", "position of a place");

cout << generator;

Usage for example:
  -h [ --help ]               show help information
  -o [ --option ] arg         this is an option
  --option-2                  this is the option 2
  -c                          this is option c
  -p [ --position ] arg = 0.0 position of a place


  • The first parameter's format: short-form,long-form, You can set any one of them or both.
  • If you don't require a value of an option, you don't need to set the second parameter inside the parentheses, and the arg will not be displayed. Otherwise, set it.
  • If no comma in the first parameter, this usage row will be ignored.

Your program may has subroutines, it can be easily done with Generator::add_subroutine():

Generator generator;

generator.make_usage("Usage for example:")
         .add_subroutine("pull", "description of pull")
      ("h,help", "show help information")
      ("o,option", "", "this is an option")
      (",option-2", "this is the option 2")
      ("c,", "this is option c")
      ("p,position", "0.0", "position of a place");

cout << generator; // will print all subroutines you added.
cout << generator("pull"); // just the "pull" 's usages.

Note that every usages collection has a subroutine, if you didn't call add_subroutine, it will add a default routine EmptySubroutine (see Subroutine::get_default_name()). In fact, it will not be displayed while printing.

For more examples, check out test/generator_test.cc

Make a combination

At present, the two parts above can be used together.

Consider the following situation:

As the usage generator example shows, assignment of -o and --option are the same, but we don't know which one is given, how parser check it out?

In the previous version,

if (parser.has_or(2, "o", "option"))
    // -o or --option was set
// or
if (parser.has("o") || parser.has("option"))
    // -o or --option was set

as you see, when we have a lot of option to be checked, it's so wordy and unfriendly.

But now, you can get parser through Generator::make_parser():

Parser* parser = generator.make_parser();

then the parser have known the rules generated by generator.

if (parser->has("o"))
// or if(parser->has("option"))
// that's enough.

Don't worry about the value that any option takes, also ok for taking a value of default value from an option:

float position = parser->get("p")->as<float>();
// float position = parser->get("position")->as<float>();
// as you like.

For more examples, check out test/combination_test.cc

Make a template

The latest version of ProgramOption allows you to make an user-defined template for Generator:

Generator generator;
    .make_template("-% | --% %", {Row::kShort, Row::kLong, Row::kDescription})
    ("h,help", "show help");
std::cout << gen("sub");
-h | --help show help

Note that template allows you to use your own style for outputing, but it will lose some features such as: auto-align, it isn't smart enough. The default output style is recommended.


Nothing to do at the moment. Waiting for your advice.