An Elegant CLI Library for PHP
Latest commit 38b23a1 Oct 19, 2016 @nategood committed on GitHub Merge pull request #58 from Jalle19/patch-1
Fix invalid phpdoc types


An Elegant PHP CLI Library

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Commando is a PHP command line interface library that beautifies and simplifies writing PHP scripts intended for command line use.


PHP's $argv magic variable and global $_SERVER['argv'] make me cringe, getopt isn't all that much better, and most other PHP CLI libraries are far too OOP bloated. Commando gets down to business without a ton of overhead, removes the common boilerplate stuff when it comes to handling cli input, all while providing a clean and readable interface.


Commando requires that you are running PHP 5.3 or higher.

Commando is PSR-0 compliant and can be installed using Composer. Add nategood/commando to your composer.json

"require": {
    "nategood/commando": "*"

If you're new to Composer...

Currently installing via Composer is the only supported option.


Here is an example of a PHP Commando script that gives a decent tour of Commando's features. Let's say it is in a file called hello.php.


require_once 'vendor/autoload.php';

$hello_cmd = new Commando\Command();

// Define first option
    ->describedAs('A person\'s name');

// Define a flag "-t" a.k.a. "--title"
    ->describedAs('When set, use this title to address the person')
    ->must(function($title) {
        $titles = array('Mister', 'Mr', 'Misses', 'Mrs', 'Miss', 'Ms');
        return in_array($title, $titles);
    ->map(function($title) {
        $titles = array('Mister' => 'Mr', 'Misses' => 'Mrs', 'Miss' => 'Ms');
        if (array_key_exists($title, $titles))
            $title = $titles[$title];
        return "$title. ";

// Define a boolean flag "-c" aka "--capitalize"
    ->describedAs('Always capitalize the words in a name')

$name = $hello_cmd['capitalize'] ? ucwords($hello_cmd[0]) : $hello_cmd[0];

echo "Hello {$hello_cmd['title']}$name!", PHP_EOL;

Running it:

> php hello.php Nate
Hello, Nate!

> php hello.php --capitalize nate
Hello, Nate!

> php hello.php -c -t Mr 'nate good'
Hello, Mr. Nate Good!

Things to note:

  • Commando implements ArrayAccess so it acts much like an array when you want to retrieve values for it
  • For "anonymous" (i.e. not a named flag) arguments, we access them based on their numeric index
  • We can access option values in an array via a flags name OR its alias
  • We can use closures to perform validation and map operations right as part of our option definition

Baked in Help

Commando has automatic --help support built in. Calling your script with this flag will print out a pretty help page based on your option definitions and Commando settings. If you define an option with the alias of 'help', it will override this built in support.

help screenshot

Error Messaging

By default, Commando will catch Exceptions that occur during the parsing process. Instead, Commando prints a formatted, user-friendly error message to standard error and exits with a code of 1. If you wish to have Commando throw Exceptions in these cases, call the doNotTrapErrors method on your Command instance.

error screenshot

Command Methods

These options work on the "command" level.

useDefaultHelp (bool help)

The default behavior of Commando is to provide a --help option that spits out a useful help page generated off of your option definitions. Disable this feature by calling useDefaultHelp(false)

setHelp (string help)

Text to prepend to the help page. Use this to describe the command at a high level and maybe some examples usages of the command.


Print the default help for the command. Useful if you want to output help if no arguments are passed.

beepOnError (bool beep=true)

When an error occurs, print character to make the terminal "beep".


Return an array of Options for each options provided to the command.


Return an array of Options for only the flags provided to the command.


Return an array of Options for only the arguments provided to the command. The order of the array is the same as the order of the arguments.


Return associative array of values for arguments provided to the command. E.g. array('f' => 'value1').


Return array of values for arguments provided to the command. E.g. array('value1', 'value2').

Command Option Definition Methods

These options work on the "option" level, even though they are chained to a Command instance

option (mixed $name = null)

Aliases: o

Define a new option. When name is set, the option will be a named "flag" option. Can be a short form option (e.g. f for option -f) or long form (e.g. foo for option --foo). When no name is defined, the option is an annonymous argument and is referenced in the future by it's position.

flag (string $name)

Same as option except that it can only be used to define "flag" type options (a.k.a. those options that must be specified with a -flag on the command line).

argument ()

Same as option except that it can only be used to define "argument" type options (a.k.a those options that are specified WITHOUT a -flag on the command line).

alias (string $alias)

Aliases: a, aka

Add an alias for a named option. This method can be called multiple times to add multiple aliases.

description (string $description)

Aliases: d, describe, describedAs

Text to describe this option. This text will be used to build the "help" page and as such, it is end user facing.

require (bool $require)

Aliases: r, required

Require that this flag is specified

needs (string|array $options)

Aliases: none

Require that other $options be set for this option to be used.

must (Closure $rule)

Aliases: N/A

Define a rule to validate input against. Takes function that accepts a string $value and returns a boolean as to whether or not $value is valid.

map (Closure $map)

Aliases: cast, castTo

Perform a map operation on the value for this option. Takes function that accepts a string $value and return mixed (you can map to whatever you wish).

referToAs (string $name)

Aliases: title, referredToAs

Add a name to refer to an argument option by. Makes the help docs a little cleaner for annonymous "argument" options.

boolean ()

Aliases: N/A

Specifices that the flag is a boolean type flag.

default (mixed $defaultValue)

Aliases: defaultsTo

If the value is not specified, default to $defaultValue.

In the case of boolean() type flags, when the flag is present, the value of this option the negation of $defaultValue. That is to say, if you have a flag -b with a default of true, when -b is present as a command line flag, the value of the option will be false.

file ()

Aliases: expectsFile

The value specified for this option must be a valid file path. When used relative paths will be converted into fully quatified file paths and globbing is also optionally supported. See the file.php example.


Commando highly encourages sending in pull requests. When submitting a pull request please:

  • All pull requests should target the dev branch (not master)
  • Make sure your code follows the coding standards laid out in PSR-1 and PSR-2
  • Make sure you add appropriate test coverage for your changes
  • Run all unit tests in the test directory via phpunit ./tests
  • Include commenting where appropriate and add a descriptive pull request message


Released under MIT license.

Change Log


  • Bug fix for #34


  • getOptions added (along with some better documentation)


  • Adds support for "needs" to define dependencies between options (thanks @enygma) PR #31
  • Fixes issue with long-argument-names Issue #30


  • Fixed up default values for boolean options, automatically default boolean options to false (unlikely, but potentially breaking change) PR #19


  • Added ability to define default values for options


  • Improved Help Formatting PR #12


  • Bug fix for printing double help PR #10


  • Adds support for requiring options to be valid file paths or globs
  • Returns a fully qualified file path name (e.g. converts relative paths)
  • Returns an array of file paths in the case of globbing
  • See the file.php example in the examples directory


The primary goal of this update was to better delineate between flag options and argument options. In Commando, flags are options that we define that require a name when they are being specified on the command line. Arguments are options that are not named in this way. In the example below, '-f' and '--long' are described as "flags" type options in Commando terms with the values 'value1' and 'value2' respectively, whereas value3, value4, and value5 are described as "argument" type options.

php command.php -f value1 --long value2 value3 value4 value5
  • Added Command::getArguments() to return an array of Option that are of the "argument" type (see argumentsVsFlags.php example)
  • Added Command::getFlags() to return an array of Option that are of the "flag" type (see argumentsVsFlags.php example)
  • Added Command::getArgumentValues() to return an array of all the values for "arguments"
  • Added Command::getFlagValues() to return an array of all values for "flags"
  • Command now implements Iterator interface and will iterator over all options, starting with arguments and continuing with flags in alphabetical order
  • Can now define options with Command::flag($name) and Command::argument(), in addition to Command::option($name)
  • Added ability to add a "title" to refer to arguments by, making the help docs a little cleaner (run help.php example)
  • Cleaned up the generated help docs
  • Bug fix for additional colorized red line when an error is displayed


  • Bug fix for options values with multiple words


  • Beep support added to Terminal
  • Commando::beepOnError() added


  • Terminal updated to use tput correctly

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