[getopt-sig] there isn't really any discussion here

Greg Ward gward@python.net
Wed, 13 Feb 2002 16:23:46 -0500

On 13 February 2002, Derek Harland said:
> I'm not sure I understand either of these worries.  To me an optional
> argument is usually a simple flag to the program to indicate something.  I
> mean you either compile a c program in debug mode, or you  don't.
> Alternatively its something you specify if required, otherwise the program
> decides it for you.

Let's get some terminology straight.  Howl if you think these
definitions are bogus:

    something in sys.argv (or possibly sys.argv[1:], depending on
    your PoV)

    an argument used to supply extra information to guide or
    customize the execution of a program.  In Unix, options usually
    start with "-" or "--"; in DOS/VMS with "/".

  option argument
    an argument that follows an option and which is closely associated
    with that option, and consumed from the argument list when the
    option is.  Often, option arguments may also be included in the same
    argument as the option, eg.
      ["-f", "foo"]
    may be equivalent to

    Some options never take an argument.  Some options always take an
    argument.  Lots of people want an "optional option arguments"
    feature, meaning that some options will take an argument if they see
    it, and won't if they don't.  This is somewhat controversial.

  positional argument
    something leftover in sys.argv after options have been parsed, ie.
    options and option arguments removed from the argument list.
    (Note that Optik does not change sys.argv, but returns a copy of
    it with only positional args left.  Other getopt replacements
    might work like this, or they might not.)

  required option
    an option that must be supplied on the command-line; this is
    an oxymoron and I personally consider it poor UI design.
    (I gather Russ Cox agrees with me.)  Any getopt replacement should
    make it fairly easy to implement required options, though, because
    lots of people want them.

Greg Ward - nerd                                        gward@python.net
There's nothing to see here.  Move on; go about your business.