Friday, December 14, 2012

Using getopt with optparse (or how to move from getopt gradually)


SCons has a very old and interesting codebase with a lots of outdated and unusual stuff that makes it more difficult to extend. One such thing is getopt library, which is a predessor for Optik library (written by Greg Ward) now better known as optparse.

So I wanted to replace getopt with optparse, but didn't want to change everything in one step, because I didn't have time to check every option. Instead I decided to parse options I needed with optparse and leave everything else to the old getopt engine.

getopt only needs a list of arguments to work. sys.argv[1:] to be exact. This is also the second half of result returned by OptionParser.parse_args() function. The only problem was to teach OptionParser to ignore unknown options and leave them in arguments. Strange thing, but Optik examples included this user story, completely ignored in optparse documentation. To make this long user story short, you need to subclass OptionParser to use getopt with optparse:
# "Pass-through" option parsing -- an OptionParser that ignores
# unknown options and lets them pile up in the leftover argument
# list.  Useful to gradually port getopt to optparse.

from optparse import OptionParser, BadOptionError

class PassThroughOptionParser(OptionParser):
    def _process_long_opt(self, rargs, values):
            OptionParser._process_long_opt(self, rargs, values)
        except BadOptionError, err:
    def _process_short_opts(self, rargs, values):
            OptionParser._process_short_opts(self, rargs, values)
        except BadOptionError, err:

parser = PassThroughOptionParser(add_help_option=False)
parser.add_option('-a', '--all', action='store_true',
                      help="Run all tests.")
(options, args) = parser.parse_args()

#print "options:", options
#print "args:", args
Now pass args down to the getopt call and you're all set.

P.S. In argparse you can use ArgumentParser.parse_known_args() function.

Update 2013-02: For humane option parsing you should definitely see docopt library.

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