Sean M. Burke > Getopt-Janus-1.03 > Getopt::Janus

Download:
Getopt-Janus-1.03.tar.gz

Dependencies

Annotate this POD

View/Report Bugs
Module Version: 1.03   Source  

NAME ^

Getopt::Janus -- get program options via command-line or via a GUI

SYNOPSIS ^

  use strict;
  use Getopt::Janus;
  
  string my $title, '-t', \'Document title';
  $title = "Stuff";
  
  yes_no my $errata, "-e", "--errata", \"Append errata section";
  
  file my $in, "-i", "--in", \"Input data file";
  $in = "thing.dat";
  
  new_file my $out, "-o", "--out", \"Output data file";
  $out = "out\e.txt";
  
  new_file my $out2, "-l", "--lex", \"Other output data file";
  $out2 = "lex\e.dat";
  
  choose my $mode, '-m', '--mode', \"What processing mode",
    from => ["Normal", 'Special', "Funky mode"];
  
  yes_no my $crunchy, "-c", "--crunchy", \"Whether to do it crunchily";
  
  license_either;
  
  run \&main,
    "Example program", # title
    "This example just shows off all the widgets", # description
  ;
  
  sub main {
    # Code that deals with $title, $mode, etc...
    ##  This is where all the main work  ##
    ##   of your program should happen.  ##
    return;
  }

DESCRIPTION ^

This module is for rapid development of programs that can equally well present a simple GUI interface or present a command-line interface. It is the 80/20 attempt (i.e., 80% of the solution, gotten with just 20% of complexity that a full solution would entail) at finding a middle-ground between Getopt::* and Tk. Wherever possible, it generates help screens on its own.

This module is intended for programs that get their options (as from the command line), run (reading from or writing to files, and maybe printing a few things to STDOUT along the way), and exit. You wouldn't use this to rewrite emacs or cron -- think more of the interfaces of touch or cal or maybe even scp.

Here's how to write a program using Getopt::Janus:

Then if you call the program with no options, it will try to start up a Tk window to elicit the option values from the user. But if you specify any options at the command line (even if just the null-option "--"), then those options are used, and no Tk window is produced. Running it with the option "-h" or "--help" will return a help screen.

Consider this trivial program:

  use strict;
  use Getopt::Janus;
  string my $n, "-n", \"Number of days from now",
    \"The number of days from now whose date you want";
  $n = 5;
  run \&main, \"What's the date in N days?";
  sub main {
    die "-n has to be a number" unless $n =~ m/^\d+$/s;
    my $then = time() + $n * 24 * 60 * 60;
    print "In $n days, it will be ",
      scalar(localtime $then), "\n";
  }

With this named as ndays, you can run it any of these ways:

  ndays -n=15      (report the date of 15 days from now)
  ndays -n 15      (same as -n=15)
  ndays            (bring up a GUI window to ask what number of days)

  ndays --         (no GUI window: run with defaults, i.e. n=5)

  ndays -h         (give a help screen instead of running)
  ndays --help     (slightly more verbose than -h)

COMMON FUNCTION ARGUMENTS ^

The module Getopt::Janus defines and exports the functions listed in the next section. In discussing the syntax of the functions, I use the abbreviation *decl*, which stands for this set of possible argument syntaxes:

$variable,

This declares which variable you want the option's value to end up in. Note that under recent-enough versions of Perl, you can my the variable at the same time, as in yes_no my $flag, ...

(Note that $variable can actually be any kind of scalar slot, like $foo{'bar'} -- but usually you'll want just a plain variable).

"-f", and/or "--foo",

This expresses what command-line option is associated with this variable. This part can't be blank.

That is, any of these are good switch-name declarations:

  "-f",
  "--foo",
  "-f", "--foo",
  "--foo", "-f",
optional \"Option title", or optional \"Option title", \"Description of this option's meaning"

Here you declare the (optional) title and (optional) longer description of this option. You should provide at least a title, but you don't have to -- if you don't, then Getopt::Janus will try to make do with the long switchname ("--foo") or, failing that, with the more cryptic short switchname ("-f").

So here, for example (and as illustrated further elsewhere in this document), are several valid syntaxes:

  yes_no $s, '-s', \"Be strange";
  
  yes_no $o{'strangely'}, '-s', \"Be strange",
   \"Whether to do things all weird";

  yes_no my $strange_flag, "--strangely";

FUNCTIONS ^

The module Getopt::Janus defines and exports the functions listed in this section. See the previous section for an explanation of *decl*.

yes_no *decl*;

This declares an option whose value will be either true or false. In GUI terms, this is usually expressed as a checkbox. In command-line terms, this usually means that the option is false unless there's an "-x" to turn it on (although it can be turned off with "-x=0", which should be necessary only if the default is to be on).

string *decl*;

This declares an option whose value is an arbitrary string. In GUI terms, this is usually expressed as just an Entry blank widget. In command-line terms, this in an option whose value you provide with "-x 123" or "-x=123". (To explicitly force it to an empty-string, use "-x=".)

file *decl*;

This declares an option whose value is an existing file. In command-line terms, this works the same as a string declaration would (i.e., "-x filename" or "-x=filename"). But in GUI terms, this means that the system should give you a window for browsing through directories to select an existing file, and should complain if you try to specify a nonexistent file.

Note that the Getopt::Janus system doesn't actually ensure that this value is a valid input filespec (although the GUI widget system might try to enforce that).

new_file *decl*;

This declares an option whose value is a new file. In command-line terms, this works the same as a string declaration would (i.e., "-x filename" or "-x=filename"). But in GUI terms, this means that the system should give you a window for browsing through directories to select where to put the file, allow you to type in a new filename, and prompt you for confirmation if you use the name of an already-existing file.

Note that the Getopt::Janus system doesn't actually ensure that this value is a valid output filespec (although the GUI widget system might try to enforce that).

There is an extra feature unique to new_file default values -- if you declare a variable whose value (either before or after the declaration -- before run is called, anyway) has the escape character in it (\e), then this is taken as a placeholder. Getopt::Janus will then scan for files that are named like that but which have digits where your filename has an \e, and replace your \e with 1 greater than the highest value found (or with "100" if no such files were found). So if you have this:

  new_file my $out, "-o", "--output", \"Where to write the data";
  $out = "output\e.dat";

If there are already files output234.dat, output236.dat, and output123.dat, then $out will be set to output237.dat, since that's one higher than the highest number found (236).

choose *decl*, from => ['First', 'Second',...]

This declares an option whose value must be one of the options. In GUI terms, this is expressed as a dropdown menu. In command line terms, this works the same as a string declaration would (i.e., "-x First" or "-x=First"), except that it is a fatal error if the user tries to set this to anything but the allowed values.

Note that if you set the default value of the variable, it must be to one of the possible values -- and if you want empty-string to be a default value, you have to explicitly allow for that. If you don't set a default value, the first choice in the list will be used as the default value.

For example:

  use strict;
  use Getopt::Janus;
  choose my $ice_cream, '-i', \"What kind of ice cream",
   'from' => [ 'Lemon sorbet', 'Vanilla ice cream', 'Mango zabaglione' ];
  run \&main;
  sub main {
    print "Ice cream is $ice_cream.\n";
    return;
  }

In the above example, the default value of $ice_cream is the first element, 'Lemon sorbet', simply because it is the first element in the list. If you wanted it to be another of the options, you could express that like this:

  use strict;
  use Getopt::Janus;
  choose my $ice_cream, '-i', \"What kind of ice cream",
   'from' => [ 'Lemon sorbet', 'Vanilla ice cream', 'Mango zabaglione' ];
  $ice_cream = 'Mango zabaglione';
  run \&main;
  sub main {
    print "Ice cream is $ice_cream.\n";
    return;
  }

But a fatal error would result if you did this:

  use strict;
  use Getopt::Janus;
  choose my $ice_cream, '-i', \"What kind of ice cream",
   'from' => [ 'Lemon sorbet', 'Vanilla ice cream', 'Mango zabaglione' ];
  $ice_cream = 'Rainbow sherbet';
  run \&main;
  sub main {
    print "Ice cream is $ice_cream.\n";
    return;
  }

(At time of writing, the error message looks like Rainbow sherbet isn't any of the allowed values {Lemon sorbet Vanilla ice cream Mango zabaglione} at....)

To repeat what I said earlier, if you want empty-string to be a default value, you have to explicitly allow for that. Here's an example of that:

  use strict;
  use Getopt::Janus;
  
  choose my $ice_cream, '-i', \"What kind of ice cream",
   'from' => [ '', 'Lemon sorbet', 'Vanilla ice cream', 'Mango zabaglione' ];
  
  run \&main;
  
  sub main {
    print "Ice cream is $ice_cream.\n";
    return;
  }

(In fact, not only is it a permitted value there, but it also just happens to get made the default, because it's the first permitted value.)

Note that "the default" for choose in GUI terms means that it's the value that the widget has when it first appears, as you'd expect. In command-line terms, it means the value that the widget has unless the user provides a different value in a "-x=Newvalidvalue" option.

license_artistic() or license_gnu() or license_either()

These functions (which currently take no parameters) declare this program as being distributable under the Perl Artistic License; or under the GNU Public License; or under either. Use only one of these commands per program. If you don't want to use any of these licenses, then don't call any of these functions at all -- their use is optional.

You can also spell these as licence_artistic() or licence_gnu() or licence_either(), which are synonymous with the "-ense" functions.

run \&main;
run \&main, \"Program Title";
run \&main, \"Program Title", \"A description of the program";

This starts the program by running the main routine (or whatever you call the routine). The optional \"Program Title" is for declaring the title of the program. The optional \"A description of the program" is for declaring a (longer) description of what the program does.

Before you call main, call all the option-declaration functions you need, and optionally set the declared variables to their initial values; and then call run to call the routine that does all the program's work (and end that routine with return, not exit!). I haven't yet seen any need to have any statements that execute after the call to run.

note_new_files( files... );

This function tells the program interface that about files that you're creating, so that the interface may prompt the user to open these files and/or their directories, once the program has run. You don't need to call this for values you get from new_file variables -- that's done automatically. (Currently this prompt-to-open step is happens only under Tk under MSWindows.)

note_new_file is an alias to note_new_files, provided in case calling note_new_files on a single file seems counter-intuitive to you.

To avoid having the prompt-to-open step run at all, call it with this magic value:

  note_new_files '.NO.';

COMMAND-LINE PARSING ^

Getopt::Janus recognizes several syntaxes for specifying values on the command line -- but your favorite value might not be among them, so look out. Here are the supported syntaxes, given -f and --foo as switches:

  -f          set a yes_no option "-f" to a true value
  --foo       set a yes_no option "--foo" to a true value
  -f=abc      set an option "-f" to the value "abc"
  --foo=123   set an option "--foo" to the value "foo"

And, assuming -f and -f aren't declared as yes_no options:

  -f abc      set an option "-f" to the value "abc"
  --foo 123   set an option "--foo" to the value "foo"

And finally:

  --          end the list of switches

If Getopt::Janus can't cleanly parse the command line as either empty, or "--", or consisting entirely of a list of switches (ending in an optional "--"), then it will abort, and will emit a help message explaining the correct syntax.

Note Getopt::Janus differentiates between this:

  progname

and this:

  progname --

With the first one (no argument list at all), Getopt::Janus sees an empty argument list, and so tries starting up a GUI interface. In the second one (an argument list consisting of just "--"), Getopt::Janus sees a non empty argument list, and so uses the command-line interface, regardless of the fact that the list happens to just be the thing that means "here ends the list of switches".

Note that unlike most/all other switch-parsing libraries Getopt::Janus does not allow there to be anything on the command line (after the program name) except for switches! That is, you cannot use Getopt::Janus to write a program that takes this syntax:

  progname -x=123 thingy anotherthingy

That's forbidden because thingy and anotherthingy aren't switches, nor are they switch values.

So you'd have to do it like this:

  progname -x 123 -i thingy -o anotherthingy

Or, synonymously,

  progname -x=123 -i=thingy -o=anotherthingy

Or even a mix of key=val and key val syntax:

  progname -x 123 -i=thingy -o anotherthingy

Note also that Getopt::Janus does not support switch clustering. That is, you cannot abbreviate "-x -y -z" as "-xyz". But note that Getopt::Janus does tolerate "-xyz" as a variant of "--xyz".

And finally, note that the way Getopt::Janus parses "-x -y" depends on whether -x is declared as a yes_no option. If so, then "-x -y" is parsed as an -x option (set to a true value), and then a -y option. But if -x isn't declared as a yes_no option, then "-x -y" is parsed as "-x=-y", i.e., setting the -x value to the two-character string "-y".

SEE ALSO ^

Tk, which forms the basis of Janus's currently only GUI class.

Other modules that process the command line (only): Getopt::Std, Getopt::Long, Getopt::constant

CAVEAT ^

In order to work around some odd behavior in Tk (specifically in Tk::Pane), the Getopt::Janus interface to Tk has to sort of guess the size to make the main window. Sometimes it's a bit larger than it needs to be, but every now and then it might be a bit smaller, at which point you can either just use the scrollbars to move around, or just make the window big enough to not need the scrollbars.

NOTES ^

"Janus" is the name of the Roman god of beginnings (and therefore of doors, the first day of months, boundaries, and so on). He is typically shown as having two faces -- one on the front of his head and one on the back of his head.

You can pronounce "Janus" like the English name "Janice".

While this module (Getopt::Janus) is currently the only publicly documented part of this distribution, there are several Getopt::Janus::* classes whose source might interest the morbidly curious (but probably no-one else).

I wrote this module because sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. That is, I have been writing lots of little programs to which sometimes I wanted a simple command-line interface (CLI) but sometimes a simple graphical user interface (GUI).

Thanks to lots of different people who hand-held me thru writing all the Tk code that this module uses, especially to Daniel Berger for his very patient help with the geometry code.

COPYRIGHT AND DISCLAIMER ^

Copyright (c) 2003 Sean M. Burke. All rights reserved.

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but without any warranty; without even the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

AUTHOR ^

Sean M. Burke, sburke@cpan.org

syntax highlighting: