Yet Another Command Line Parser

Manlio Perillo NOmanlio_perilloSPAM at
Tue Oct 26 14:13:57 EDT 2004

In the standard library there are two modules for command line
parsing: optparse and getopt.
In the Python Cookbook there is another simple method for parsing,
using a docstring.

However sometimes (actually, in all my small scripts) one has a simple
function whose arguments are choosen on the command line.

For this reason I have written a simple module, optlist, that parses
the command line as it was a function's argument list.

It is more simple to post an example:

import optlist

def main(a, b, *args, **kwargs):
    print 'a =', a
    print 'b =', b

    print 'args:', args
    print 'kwargs:', kwargs

And on the shell:
shell: 10, 20, 100, x=1

Since sometimes one needs to keep the options, I have provided an
alternate syntax, here is an example:

import optlist

optlist.setup('a, b, *args, **kwargs')

print 'a =', optlist.a
print 'b =', optlist.b

print 'args:', optlist.args
print 'kwargs:', optlist.kwargs

Finally, the module is so small that I post it here:

-------------------------- --------------------------------

import sys

# add spaces to avoids errors like: 1 2, 3 4 -> (12, 34)
_options = ' '.join(sys.argv[1:])

def call(func):
    Call func, passing to it the arguments from the command line
    exec('func(' + _options + ')')
def setup(template):
    Template is a string containing the argument list.
    The command line options are evaluated according to the template
    and the values are stored in the module dictionary
    exec('def helper(' + template +
    exec('helper(' + _options + ')')


I hope that this is not 'Yet Another Unuseful Module' and that the
code is correct.

The only problem is that error messages are ugly.

Regards   Manlio Perillo

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