posix-getopt

POSIX-style getopt()

npm install posix-getopt
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node-getopt

Overview

node-getopt implements the POSIX getopt() function for Node. getopt() provides a functional interface for option parsing.

Install the npm package in the usual way:

$ npm install posix-getopt

Here's how you'd typically use it for a command that takes options "-a" and "-b" with no arguments, option "-o" (also called "--output") with one argument, and another mandatory argument:

var mod_getopt = require('posix-getopt');
var parser, option;

parser = new mod_getopt.BasicParser('abo:(output)', process.argv);

while ((option = parser.getopt()) !== undefined) {
    switch (option.option) {
    case 'a':
        console.log('option "a" is set');
        break;

    case 'b':
        console.log('option "b" is set');
        break;

    case 'o':
        console.error('option "o" has value "%s"',
            option.optarg);
        break;

    default:
        /* error message already emitted by getopt */
        mod_assert.equal('?', option.option);
        break;
    }
}

if (parser.optind() >= process.argv.length)
    usage('missing required argument: "input"');

console.log('input = %s', process.argv[parser.optind()]);

Examples:

$ cmd
error: missing required argument: "input"
usage: cmd [-ab] [-o file] input

$ cmd foo
input = foo

$ cmd -a foo
option "a" is set
input = foo

$ cmd -ba foo
option "b" is set
option "a" is set
input = foo

$ cmd -ba -obar foo
option "b" is set
option "a" is set
option "o" has value "bar"
input = foo

$ cmd -ba --output=bar foo
option "b" is set
option "a" is set
option "o" has value "bar"
input = foo

$ cmd --output= foo
option "o" has value ""
input = foo

$ cmd -o 
option requires an argument -- o
error: missing required argument: "input"
usage: cmd [-ab] [-o file] input

$ cmd -- -a
input = -a

$ cmd -q
illegal option -- q
error: missing required argument: "input"
usage: cmd [-ab] [-o file] input

Background

getopt() is a general-purpose command line parser that follows the POSIX guidelines for command-line utilities. Using these guidelines encourages common conventions among applications, including use of:

  • short option names (e.g., "-r")
  • options with arguments (e.g., "-f filename or -ffilename")
  • chaining short option names when options have no arguments (e.g., "-ra")

This implementation mirrors the Solaris getopt() implementation and supports long option names (e.g., "--recurse"), potentially with values specified using "=" (e.g., "--file=/path/to/file").

Unlike other option parsers available for Node.js, the POSIX getopt() interface supports using the same option multiple times (e.g., "-vvv", commonly used to indicate level of verbosity).

For further reference on the relevant POSIX standards, see the following:

http://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/009695399/functions/getopt.html
http://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/009695399/utilities/getopts.html

The Utility Syntax Guidelines are described here:

http://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/009695399/basedefs/xbd_chap12.html

Status

This module is considered complete except that there's minimal automated test coverage. There are no known bugs.

API

new getopt.BasicParser(optstring, argv)

Instantiates a new object for parsing the specified arguments using the specified option string. This interface is closest to the traditional getopt() C function. Callers first instantiate a BasicParser and then invoke the getopt() method to iterate the options as they would in C. (This interface allows the same option to be specified multiple times.) The first two arguments in "argv" are ignored, since they generally denote the path to the node executable and the script being run, so options start with the third element.

The option string consists of an optional leading ":" (see below) followed by a sequence of option-specifiers. Each option-specifier consists of a single character denoting the short option name, optionally followed by a colon if the option takes an argument and/or a sequence of strings in parentheses representing long-option aliases for the option name.

Example option strings:

':r'            Command takes one option with no args: -r
':ra'           Command takes two option with no args: -r and -a
':raf:'         Command takes two option with no args: -r and -a
                and a single option that takes an arg: -f
':f:(file)'     Command takes a single option with an argument: -f
                -f can also be specified as --file

The presence of a leading colon in the option string determines the behavior when an argument is not specified for an option which takes an argument. See getopt() below. Additionally, if no colon is specified, then error messages are printed to stderr when invalid options, options with missing arguments, or options with unexpected arguments are encountered.

parser.optind()

Returns the next argv-argument to be parsed. When options are specified as separate "argv" arguments, this value is incremented with each option parsed. When multiple options are specified in the same argv-argument, the returned value is unspecified. This matches the variable "OPTIND" from the POSIX standard, but is read-only. (If you want to reset OPTIND, you must create a new BasicParser instance.) This is most useful after parsing has finished to examine the non-option arguments.

This value starts at "2" as described under "Departures from POSIX" below.

parser.getopt()

Returns the next argument specified in "argv" (the object's constructor argument). The returned value is either undefined or an object with at least the following members:

option        single-character option name

The following members may also be present:

optarg        argument value, if any

optopt        option character that caused the error, if any

error        if true, this object represents an error

This function scans "argv" starting at the current value of "optind" and returns an object describing the next argument based on the following cases:

  • If the end of command line arguments is reached, an undefined value is returned. The end of arguments is signified by a single '-' argument, a single '--' argument, an argument that's neither an option nor a previous option's argument, the end of argv, or an error.

  • If an unrecognized command line option is found (i.e. an option character not defined in "optstring"), the returned object's "option" member is just "?". "optopt" is set to the unrecognized option letter. "error" is set to a true value.

  • If a known command line option is found and the option takes no arguments then the returned object's "option" member is the option's short name (i.e. the single character specifier in "optstring").

  • If a known command line option is found and that option takes an argument and the argument is also found, then the returned object's "option" member is the option's short name and the "optarg" member contains the argument's value.

  • If a known command line option is found and that option takes an argument but the argument is not found, then the returned object's "option" member is "?" unless the first character of "optstring" was a colon, in which case the "option" member is set to ":". Either way, the "optopt" member is set to the option character that caused the error and "error" is set to a true value.

Departures from POSIX

  • Global state in the C implementation (e.g., optind, optarg, and optopt) is encapsulated in the BasicParser object. optind is available as a method call on the parser object. optarg and optopt are returned directly by getopt().

  • Rather than returning an integer or character, getopt() returns an object with the "option" field corresponding to the processed option character and possibly the additional "optarg" and "optopt" fields. If an error occurs on a particular option, "error" is also set. If an error occurs on no particular option or if the end of input is encountered, undefined is returned.

  • Long option forms are supported as described above. This introduces an additional error case which is where an argument of the form --option=value is encountered, where "option" does not take a value.

  • POSIX starts "optind" at 1, since argv[0] is generally the name of the command and options start at argv[1]. This implementation starts "optind" at 2, since argv[0] is generally the path to the node binary and argv[1] is the path to the script, so options start with argv[2].

Examples

Example 1: simple short options

var mod_getopt = require('getopt')
var parser, option;

parser = new mod_getopt.BasicParser('la',
    ['node', 'script', '-l', '-a', 'stuff']);
while ((option = parser.getopt()) !== undefined && !option.error)
    console.error(option);

outputs:

{ option: 'l' }
{ option: 'a' }

Example 2: invalid option specified

var mod_getopt = require('getopt')
var parser, option;

parser = new mod_getopt.BasicParser('la',
    ['node', 'script', '-l', '-b', 'stuff']);
while ((option = parser.getopt()) !== undefined && !option.error)
    console.error(option);
console.error(option);

outputs:

{ option: 'l' }
illegal option -- b
{ option: '?', optopt: 'b', error: true }

Example 3: long options

var mod_getopt = require('getopt')
var parser, option;

parser = new mod_getopt.BasicParser('lar(recurse)',
    ['node', 'script', '-l', '--recurse', 'stuff']);
while ((option = parser.getopt()) !== undefined && !option.error)
    console.error(option);

outputs:

{ option: 'l' }
{ option: 'r' }

Example 4: options with arguments

var mod_getopt = require('getopt')
var parser, option;

parser = new mod_getopt.BasicParser('f:lad:',
    ['node', 'script', '-l', '-f', 'filename', '-dtype', 'stuff']);
while ((option = parser.getopt()) !== undefined && !option.error)
    console.error(option);

outputs:

{ option: 'l' }
{ option: 'f', optarg: 'filename' }
{ option: 'd', optarg: 'type' }

Example 5: options with missing arguments

var mod_getopt = require('getopt')
var parser, option;

parser = new mod_getopt.BasicParser('f:la',
    ['node', 'script', '-l', '-a', '-f']);
while ((option = parser.getopt()) !== undefined && !option.error)
    console.error(option);
console.error(option);

outputs:

{ option: 'l' }
{ option: 'a' }
option requires an argument -- f
{ option: '?', optopt: 'f', error: true }

Example 6: options specified multiple times

var mod_getopt = require('getopt')
var parser, option;

parser = new mod_getopt.BasicParser('la',
    ['node', 'script', '-l', '-a', '-l']);
while ((option = parser.getopt()) !== undefined && !option.error)
    console.error(option);

outputs:

{ option: 'l' }
{ option: 'a' }
{ option: 'l' }
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