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simple scala command line options parsing

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Octocat-spinner-32 notes notes November 11, 2013
Octocat-spinner-32 project up to Scala 2.11.0-RC4 April 15, 2014
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Octocat-spinner-32 .gitignore notes May 27, 2011
Octocat-spinner-32 README.md Enumeration example in the readme. fixes #32 February 20, 2014
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Octocat-spinner-32 ls.sbt sbt 0.13 November 10, 2013
Octocat-spinner-32 migration.md migration guide June 05, 2013
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README.md

scopt

scopt is a little command line options parsing library.

Sonatype

libraryDependencies += "com.github.scopt" %% "scopt" % "3.2.0"

resolvers += Resolver.sonatypeRepo("public")

Usage

scopt provides two styles of parsing: immutable and mutable. Either case, first you need a case class that represents the configuration:

import java.io.File
case class Config(foo: Int = -1, out: File = new File("."), xyz: Boolean = false,
  libName: String = "", maxCount: Int = -1, verbose: Boolean = false, debug: Boolean = false,
  mode: String = "", files: Seq[File] = Seq())

In immutable parsing style, a config object is passed around as an argument into action callbacks. On the other hand, in mutable parsing style you are expected to modify the config object in place.

Immutable parsing

Here's how you create a scopt.OptionParser[Config]. See Scaladoc API for the details on various builder methods.

val parser = new scopt.OptionParser[Config]("scopt") {
  head("scopt", "3.x")
  opt[Int]('f', "foo") action { (x, c) =>
    c.copy(foo = x) } text("foo is an integer property")
  opt[File]('o', "out") required() valueName("<file>") action { (x, c) =>
    c.copy(out = x) } text("out is a required file property")
  opt[(String, Int)]("max") action { case ((k, v), c) =>
    c.copy(libName = k, maxCount = v) } validate { x =>
    if (x._2 > 0) success else failure("Value <max> must be >0") 
  } keyValueName("<libname>", "<max>") text("maximum count for <libname>")
  opt[Unit]("verbose") action { (_, c) =>
    c.copy(verbose = true) } text("verbose is a flag")
  opt[Unit]("debug") hidden() action { (_, c) =>
    c.copy(debug = true) } text("this option is hidden in the usage text")
  note("some notes.\n")
  help("help") text("prints this usage text")
  arg[File]("<file>...") unbounded() optional() action { (x, c) =>
    c.copy(files = c.files :+ x) } text("optional unbounded args")
  cmd("update") action { (_, c) =>
    c.copy(mode = "update") } text("update is a command.") children(
    opt[Unit]("not-keepalive") abbr("nk") action { (_, c) =>
      c.copy(keepalive = false) } text("disable keepalive"),
    opt[Boolean]("xyz") action { (x, c) =>
      c.copy(xyz = x) } text("xyz is a boolean property"),
    checkConfig { c =>
      if (c.keepalive && c.xyz) failure("xyz cannot keep alive") else success }
  )
}
// parser.parse returns Option[C]
parser.parse(args, Config()) map { config =>
  // do stuff
} getOrElse {
  // arguments are bad, error message will have been displayed
}

The above generates the following usage text:

scopt 3.x
Usage: scopt [update] [options] [<file>...]

  -f <value> | --foo <value>
        foo is an integer property
  -o <file> | --out <file>
        out is a required file property
  --max:<libname>=<max>
        maximum count for <libname>
  --verbose
        verbose is a flag
some notes.

  --help
        prints this usage text
  <file>...
        optional unbounded args

Command: update
update is a command.

  -nk | --not-keepalive
        disable keepalive
  --xyz <value>
        xyz is a boolean property

Options

Command line options are defined using opt[A]('f', "foo") or opt[A]("foo") where A is any type that is an instance of Read typeclass.

  • Unit works as a plain flag --foo or -f
  • Int, Long, Double, String, BigInt, BigDecimal, java.io.File, and java.net.URI accept a value like --foo 80 or --foo:80
  • Boolean accepts a value like --foo true or --foo:1
  • java.util.Calendar accepts a value like --foo 2000-12-01
  • A pair of types like (String, Int) accept a key-value like --foo:k=1 or -f k=1

This could be extended by defining Read instances in the scope. For example,

object WeekDays extends Enumeration {
  type WeekDays = Value
  val Mon, Tue, Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun = Value
}
implicit val weekDaysRead: scopt.Read[WeekDays.Value] =
  scopt.Read.reads(WeekDays withName _)

By default these options are optional.

Short options

For plain flags (opt[Unit]) short options can be grouped as -fb to mean --foo --bar.

opt accepts only a single characeter, but using abbr("ab") a string can be used too:

opt[Unit]("no-keepalive") abbr("nk") action { (x, c) => c.copy(keepalive = false) }

Help, Version, and Notes

There are special options with predefined action called help("help") and version("version"), which prints usage text and header text respectively. When help("help") is defined, parser will print out short error message when it fails instead of printing the entire usage text. This behavior could be changed by overriding showUsageOnError as follows:

override def showUsageOnError = true

note("...") is used add given string to the usage text.

Arguments

Command line arguments are defined using arg[A]("<file>"). It works similar to options, but instead it accepts values without -- or -. By default, arguments accept a single value and are required.

Occurrence

Each opt/arg carries occurrence information minOccurs and maxOccurs. minOccurs specify at least how many times an opt/arg must appear, and maxOccurs specify at most how many times an opt/arg may appear.

Occurrence can be set using the methods on the opt/arg:

opt[String]('o', "out") required()
opt[String]('o', "out") minOccurs(1) // same as above
arg[String]("<mode>") optional()
arg[String]("<mode>") minOccurs(0) // same as above
arg[String]("<file>...") optional() unbounded()
arg[String]("<file>...") minOccurs(0) maxOccurs(1024) // same as above

Visibility

Each opt/arg can be hidden from the usage text using hidden() method:

opt[Unit]("debug") hidden() action { (_, c) =>
  c.copy(debug = true) } text("this option is hidden in the usage text")

Validation

Each opt/arg can carry multiple validation functions.

opt[Int]('f', "foo") action { (x, c) => c.copy(intValue = x) } validate { x =>
  if (x > 0) success else failure("Option --foo must be >0") } validate { x =>
  failure("Just because") }

The first function validates if the values are positive, and the second function always fails.

Check configuration

Consistency among the option values can be checked using checkConfig.

checkConfig { c =>
  if (c.keepalive && c.xyz) failure("xyz cannot keep alive") else success }

These are called at the end of parsing.

Commands

Commands may be defined using cmd("update"). Commands could be used to express git branch kind of argument, whose name means something. Using children method, a command may define child opts/args that get inserted in the presence of the command. To distinguish commands from arguments, they must appear in the first position within the level. It is generally recommended to avoid mixing args both in parent level and commands to avoid confusion.

arg[String]("<file>...") unbounded() optional()
cmd("update") action { (_, c) =>
  c.copy(mode = "update") } text("update is a command.") children(
  opt[Unit]("not-keepalive") abbr("nk") action { (_, c) =>
    c.copy(keepalive = false) } text("disable keepalive"),
  opt[Boolean]("xyz") action { (x, c) =>
    c.copy(xyz = x) } text("xyz is a boolean property"),
  checkConfig { c =>
    if (c.keepalive && c.xyz) failure("xyz cannot keep alive") else success }
)

In the above, update test.txt would trigger the update command, but test.txt update won't.

Commands could be nested into another command as follows:

cmd("backend") text("commands to manipulate backends:\n") action { (x, c) =>
  c.copy(flag = true) } children(
  cmd("update") children(
    arg[String]("<a>") action { (x, c) => c.copy(a = x) } 
  )     
)

Mutable parsing

Create a scopt.OptionParser[Unit] and customize it with the options you need, passing in functions to process each option or argument. Use foreach instead of action.

val parser = new scopt.OptionParser[Unit]("scopt") {
  head("scopt", "3.x")
  opt[Int]('f', "foo") foreach { x =>
    c = c.copy(foo = x) } text("foo is an integer property")
  opt[java.io.File]('o', "out") required() valueName("<file>") foreach { x =>
    c = c.copy(out = x) } text("out is a required file property")
  opt[(String, Int)]("max") foreach { case (k, v) =>
    c = c.copy(libName = k, maxCount = v) } validate { x =>
    if (x._2 > 0) success else failure("Value <max> must be >0") 
  } keyValueName("<libname>", "<max>") text("maximum count for <libname>")
  opt[Unit]("verbose") foreach { _ =>
    c = c.copy(verbose = true) } text("verbose is a flag")
  opt[Unit]("debug") hidden() foreach { _ =>
    c = c.copy(debug = true) } text("this option is hidden in the usage text")
  note("some notes.\n")
  help("help") text("prints this usage text")
  arg[java.io.File]("<file>...") unbounded() optional() foreach { x =>
    c = c.copy(files = c.files :+ x) } text("optional unbounded args")
  cmd("update") foreach { _ =>
    c.copy(mode = "update") } text("update is a command.") children(
    opt[Boolean]("xyz") foreach { x =>
      c = c.copy(xyz = x) } text("xyz is a boolean property")
  )
}
if (parser.parse(args)) {
  // do stuff
}
else {
  // arguments are bad, usage message will have been displayed
}

Building

sbt to build scopt.

License

MIT License.

Credits

  • January 13, 2008: Aaron Harnly creates aaronharnly/scala-options.
  • December 1, 2009: Tim Perrett introduces it as a gist on Parsing command lines argument in a "scalaesque" way.
  • January 10, 2010: James Strachan takes the code, adds usage text, sbt build, etc and creates jstrachan/scopt, which is also mentioned in Scala CLI Library?.
  • March 4th, 2010: Eugene Yokota joins scopt project, improves usage text, and adds support for key=value option and argument list.
  • May 27, 2011: scopt 1.0.0 is released to scala-tools.org.
  • March 18, 2012: Eugene adds immutable parser, forks the project to scopt/scopt, and releases scopt 2.0.0.
  • June 7, 2013: Eugene rewrites scopt from scratch for polymorphic options, and releases scopt 3.0.0.

Changes

See notes.

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