A simple to use, composing, header only, command line arguments parser for C++ 11 and beyond.


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Boost Software License 1.0


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1. License

Distributed under the Boost Software License, Version 1.0. (See accompanying file LICENSE.txt or copy at http://www.boost.org/LICENSE_1_0.txt)

2. Features

  • Header only with no external dependencies (except the std library).

  • Define your interface once to get parsing, type conversions and usage strings with no redundancy.

  • Composing. Each opt or arg is an independent parser. Combine these to produce a composite parser — this can be done in stages across multiple function calls — or even projects.

  • Bind parsers directly to variables that will receive the results of the parse — no intermediate dictionaries to worry about.

  • Or can also bind parsers to lambdas for more custom handling.

  • Deduces types from bound variables or lambdas and performs type conversions (via ostream <<), with error handling, behind the scenes.

  • Bind parsers to vectors for args that can have multiple values.

  • Uses result types for error propagation, rather than exceptions (doesn’t yet build with exceptions disabled, but that will be coming later)

  • Models POSIX standards for short and long opt behavior.

  • Customizable option syntax.

  • Specify cardinality of arg-s from one to many.

  • Limit option values to a specified set of values.

  • Recursive argument groups with callback for detection. This allows for easy and generic sub-command specifications.

3. Using

To use, just #include <lyra/lyra.hpp>

A parser for a single option can be created like this:

int width = 0;
auto cli = lyra::cli()
    | lyra::opt( width, "width" )
        ("How wide should it be?");

You can use this parser directly like this:

auto result = cli.parse( { argc, argv } );
if ( !result )
	std::cerr << "Error in command line: " << result.errorMessage() << std::endl;

// Everything was ok, width will have a value if supplied on command line.

Note that exceptions are not used for error handling.

You can combine parsers by composing with |, like this:

int width = 0;
std::string name;
bool doIt = false;
std::string command;
auto cli
    = lyra::opt( width, "width" )
        ("How wide should it be?")
    | lyra::opt( name, "name" )
        ("By what name should I be known")
    | lyra::opt( doIt )
        ("Do the thing" )
    | lyra::arg( command, "command" )
        ("which command to run");

opt specifies options that start with a short dash (-) or long dash (--). Options can be argument taking (such as -w 42), in which case the opt takes a second argument — a hint, or they are pure flags (such as -d), in which case the opt has only one argument — which must be a boolean. The option names are provided in one or more sets of square brackets, and a description string can be provided in parentheses. The first argument to an opt is any variable, local, global member, of any type that can be converted from a string using std::ostream.

arg specifies arguments that are not tied to options, and so have no square bracket names. They otherwise work just like opt.

A usage string can be obtained by inserting the parser into a stream. The usage string is built from the information supplied.

As a convenience, the standard help options (-h, --help and -?) can be specified using the help parser, which just takes a boolean to bind to.

4. Documentation

More examples and reference is available in the included documentation.

5. Origins

This is a fork of the dormant Clara project.