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== CLI Release 2 ==
CLI2 is not yet available as a download, still being in beta. However for those interested in downloading and building it, here are some sample applications. [/CLI2]

About the Commons CLI Library

This wiki site is used for discussion of topics associated with the commons-cli project whose home page is http://jakarta.apache.org/commons/cli


Updates on C# port - Unit testing almost complete, and changes

The unit tests from 1.1 of CLI have almost all been ported to the C# version. I am happy to say that the port passes 45/45 of the tests ported so far. The following additional changes have been implemented in the C# port:

- In C# you cannot access a static method, field, or property accessor from an instance reference (static or otherwise), hence the following code is illegal:

Option timeLimit = OptionBuilder
        .withDescription("Set time limit for execution, in mintues")

So, in order to maintain elegance I have come up with a solution. I have changed OptionBuilder's static methods to instance methods, but created a static property accessor called 'Factory'. Factory is defined as such:

/// <summary>
///             Returns a static instance of OptionBuilder.
/// </summary>
public static OptionBuilder Factory
        get { return instance; }

So the original code now works with one small variation:

Option timeLimit = OptionBuilder.Factory
        .withDescription("Set time limit for execution, in mintues")

- In C# all classes derive from Object, just like Java. Even primitive types are automatically boxed and unboxed into Object-derived subclasses, just like Java. For a class to be cloneable it must implement the interface ICloneable and the method 'public object Clone()', just like Java. However, unlike Java, Object does not implement a shallow clone method. This means that the logic you implement in your own clone method cannot call the super (or base as it is in C#) class's Clone method to get a typed, shallow clone. This would not necessarily be a big deal as you could just create a new class that you are attempting to clone, but if you do this you would have to be able to clone its properties (assuming they are publicly accessible or can be set via a constructor) manually -- a cumbersome task.

check this.MemberwiseClone()

You see the problem. Option is cloneable, and it relies on the Object's clone method. I toyed around porting this functionality via two methods. The first method looked like this:

object clone = Activator.CreateInstance( this.GetType(), null );
( clone as Option ).m_alist_values = new List<string>( m_alist_values );
return clone;

The above code will not work in all cases, hence I discarded it. The problem is that the Activator.CreateInstance method's second parameter requires either a null value for a parameterless constructor, or a parameter array to pass to the constructor of the type you are attempting to create. As seen in OptionTest.java (and now OptionTest.cs), the DefaultOption class that extends Option does not implement a parameterless constructor, and in fact does not even override all of Option's constructors, just one. So, while using the CreateInstance method *would* result in the proper object type once cloned, it is cumbersome (although possible) to know the right constructor parameters to pass to the CreateInstance method. Even if you do figure out the parameters needed, you still have the task of cloning the new Option's properties, some of which are not publicly scoped.

Instead, I am serializing the object to be cloned and deserialzing it into a new copy. Like so:

BinaryFormatter bf = new BinaryFormatter();
MemoryStream memStream = new MemoryStream();
bf.Serialize( memStream, this );
memStream.Position = 0;
object clone = ( bf.Deserialize( memStream ) );
( clone as Option ).m_alist_values = new List<string>( m_alist_values );
return clone;

This method is certainly not as efficient as a simple object creation, but it guarantees future compatibility with new properties that Option may receive. The only caveat is that the Option class, and any class that extends it, must implement the attribute [Serializable] so that it can be serialized:

public class MyOption : Option

Release 1.1 Ported to C#

Version 1.1 of the CLI library has been ported to C# ([http://code.lostcreations.com/wiki/lib/CLI Homepage]) and is available at http://code.lostcreations.com/browser/trunk/lib/csharp/Cli/. You can download the sources from the subversion repository with the following command:

svn co http://svn.lostcreations.com/code/trunk/lib/csharp/Cli/

The following changes were made to CLI while porting:

- Java's iterator is bi-directional while .NET's enumerator is simple, and uni-directional. I created a class, BidirectionalEnumerator<T> to match the functionality present in Java.

- Getters and setters have become property accessors. For example, instead of getWidth() and setWidth(), there is now Width { get; set; }.

- Method names now begin with upper case.

- Class level variables are now prefixed with "m_".

- Interfaces now begin with upper case "I". Ex. CommandLineParser is now ICommandLineParser.

- I've used generics where possible instead of Objects. Ex. An ArrayList of Object types intended to hold strings is now List<string>.

- I've used Dictionary<Tk,Tv> for a hash table.

- In Java, the method substring is defined as func(int begin, int end) where end is exclusive and the length to splice is a result of end - begin. In .NET Substring is func(int begin, int length) where length is inclusive. Instead of changing your math I instead created a static class called JavaPorts and have created the method JavaPorts.Substring( string value, int beginIndex, int endIndex ) that functions as Java's substring.

There has only been minimal bug testing performed on the port, as it was ported to serve a particular need. Please [http://code.lostcreations.com/newticket?id=code/newticket&owner=akutz&priority=minor&component=CLI submit bug reports] as you find them, or [http://code.lostcreations.com/report/16 view a list of outstanding issues].

Release 2.0 - Update

We are currently working on the final touches of releasing the 2.0 release. The tasks that remain are to improve code coverage, review and complete javadoc, and complete user documentation.

Bad 1.0 release on Ibiblio (Maven)

Release 1.0 occurred in Nov 2002.

Due to an unfortunate accident, the 1.0 jar file published on ibiblio at http://www.ibiblio.org/maven/commons-cli/jars was overwritten at some point by a snapshot of later code, i.e. file commons-cli-1.0.jar became a snapshot of the trunk code at some later time (possibly 29 Jan 2004). The ibiblio repository of jar files is the default location that the Maven build tool uses to automatically download dependencies; therefore any project that uses Maven to build code which declares a dependency on commons-cli 1.0 may have downloaded and cached the incorrect file.

The binary and source distribution downloads available via the download pages of Apache or its mirrors is, and always has been the correct 1.0 release.

The file in question can be found at http://www.ibiblio.org/maven/commons-cli/jars

  • The md5 checksum of the valid 1.0 jar is: f6feeb3b3d95f7d09180fd71e96cead4 and its size is: 30117 bytes.
  • The md5 checksum of the invalid 1.0 jar is: 5cb21f532ab921134751b4b6e4807be4 and its size is: 32377 bytes

The snapshot which was accidentally published on ibiblio contains a number of API differences from the actual 1.0 release. Most obviously, the snapshot jar contains classes OptionValidator and Util which are not present in the real 1.0 release.


The old 1.0 jar was renamed to commons-cli-20040117.000000.jar and a correct commons-cli-1.0.jar put in place.


  • [wiki:/FAQ The Frequently Asked Questions Page (FAQ)]
  • [wiki:/Projects Projects using Commons CLI]


  • [http://www.devx.com/Java/Article/30117 Extend the JDK Classes with Jakarta Commons, Part III] - Explore Jakarta Commons components that enable you to parse arguments in a command-line application, connect to various file systems at the same time, allow an application to uniformly access configurations loaded from various sources, and pool any object.

Documentation Bugs

The Usage Scenarios documentation shows the PosixParser being used for the Ant example. This won't work. Either the BasicParser or GnuParser should be used for this example.

The [http://jakarta.apache.org/commons/cli/usage.html Usage Scenarios] documentation gives an API usage example for the Ant logfile option of:

Option logfile   = OptionBuilder.withArgName( "file" )BR                                 .hasArg()BR                                 .withDescription(  "use given file for log" )BR                                 .create( "file" );

This should instead be:

Option logfile   = OptionBuilder.withArgName( "file" )BR                                 .hasArg()BR                                 .withDescription(  "use given file for log" )BR                                 .create( "logfile" );

Similarly for the find option:

Option find      = OptionBuilder.withArgName( "file" )BR                                 .hasArg()BR                                 .withDescription(  "use given file for log" )BR                                 .create( "find" );

The section titled "Retrieving the argument value" shows an example of accessing the getOptionValue() method of Options. This is actually a method of CommandLine.

// get c option valueBR String countryCode = options.getOptionValue("c"); // (Wrong if options is an instance of Options)

This should instead be:

// get c option valueBR String countryCode = cmd.getOptionValue("c"); // (Here cmd is an instance of CommandLine)

CLI (last edited 2009-09-20 23:48:27 by localhost)