Generate a command-line interface for any(ish) class
Perl 6
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Getopt::ForClass - Use MAIN to dispatch to a class


#!/usr/bin/env perl6
use Getopt::ForClass;

class MyApp {
    has $.token;

    method BUILD(:$!token) { }

    method list-things(:$filter) { ... }
    method add-thing($name) { ... }
    method remove-thing($name, Bool :$cascade) { ... }

our &MAIN := build-main-for-class(
    class => MyApp,

# On the command-line:
# % myapp --token=abc123 list-things --filter red
# % myapp --token=abc123 add-thing socks
# % myapp --token=abc123 remove-thing shrubbery --cascade


This module exports a function, build-main-for-class, which takes a class type and uses it to setup a MAIN function that is able to execut the various methods of that class as sub-commands of the script.


sub build-main-for-class

sub build-main-for-class(:$class!, :$methods = *) returns Routine:D

This routine is exported by default. Given a $class, it will inspect that class and generate a MAIN function that is able to execute one of the methods of that class per run. It does this by generating a multisub, which may be assigned to MAIN in your program.

Specifically, it does the following:

    1. One MAIN multisub candidate is generated for each method in the class (limited by the smartmatch in $methods, see below).
    1. Each MAIN candidate will provide command-line options based upon the BUILD submethod for the class. If no BUILD is provided, then no attributes will be set during construction.
    1. The first positional argument accepted by each MAIN candidate is the name of one of the methods in the class.
    1. The remaining positional and named arguments for each MAIN candidate are those taken from BUILD and those taken from the method of the class this candidate is associated with.

When run, the MAIN method will first construct an object by calling the new method and passing to that method the same parameters as are defined in BUILD. It will then call the method for the selected candidate passing to that method all the arguments given on the command-line.


sub MAIN_HELPER($retval = 0)

In addition to generating the MAIN routine, this module also provides a MAIN_HELPER, which will parse the command-line arguments to call the generated MAIN subroutine.

This implementation will attempt to locate the most appropriate MAIN candidate using parameters given on the command-line. It will then organize and pass the command-line parameters to the MAIN candidate. This works somewhat differently from the Perl6 native MAIN_HELPER (at least as of this writing):

    • Any parameter of the form --NAME=VALUE will be treated as a named parameter. If the candidate explicitly defines that named parameter with a numeric type, the value will be converted to a number before being passed. If it defines a boolean type, the value will be converted to False if it matches "1", "y", "yes", or "true" (using a case insensitive match) and True otherwise. Otherwise, the string will be passed as is.
    • Any parameter of the form --NAME will be treated as a named parameter. If the candidate explicityly defines that named parameter as boolean, it will be set to a True value. Any other type is assumed to require a parameter so the next argument on the command-line must be a parameter. If the type of the named parameter is numeric, the value will be coerced into a number before being passed.
    • Any parameter of the form --no-NAME will be treated as a named parameter. The named parameter will be set to False.
    • Any parameter following -- will be treated as a positional parameter, even if it takes on one of the forms named above.
    • Any other parameter is treated as a positional parameter. Positional parameters will be converted to boolean or numbers based upon type.

This implementation is less picky about the ordering of parameters than the built-in Perl 6 implementation that is in place as of this writing.


Sterling Hanenkamp <>


Copyright 2016 Sterling Hanenkamp.

This software is licensed under the same terms as Perl 6.