An argparse wrapper that doesn't make you say "argh" each time you deal with it.





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GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), Version 3



Argh: The Natural CLI

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Building a command-line interface? Found yourself uttering "argh!" while struggling with the API of argparse? Don't like the complexity but need the power?

.. epigraph::

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.

-- Albert Einstein (probably)

Argh is a smart wrapper for argparse. Argparse is a very powerful tool; Argh just makes it easy to use.

In a nutshell

Argh-powered applications are simple but flexible:

:Modular: Declaration of commands can be decoupled from assembling and dispatching;

:Pythonic: Commands are declared naturally, no complex API calls in most cases;

:Reusable: Commands are plain functions, can be used directly outside of CLI context;

:Layered: The complexity of code raises with requirements;

:Transparent: The full power of argparse is available whenever needed;

:Namespaced: Nested commands are a piece of cake, no messing with subparsers (though they are of course used under the hood);

:Term-Friendly: Command output is processed with respect to stream encoding;

:Unobtrusive: Argh can dispatch a subset of pure-argparse code, and pure-argparse code can update and dispatch a parser assembled with Argh;

:DRY: The amount of boilerplate code is minimal; among other things, Argh will:

* infer command name from function name;
* infer arguments from function signature;
* infer argument type from the default value;
* infer argument action from the default value (for booleans);
* add an alias root command ``help`` for the ``--help`` argument.

:NIH free: Argh supports completion, progress bars and everything else by being friendly to excellent 3rd-party libraries. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Sounds good? Check the tutorial!

Relation to argparse

Argh is fully compatible with argparse. You can mix Argh-agnostic and Argh-aware code. Just keep in mind that the dispatcher does some extra work that a custom dispatcher may not do.


Using pip::

$ pip install argh

Arch Linux (AUR)::

$ yaourt python-argh


A very simple application with one command:

.. code-block:: python

import argh

def main():
    return 'Hello world'


Run it:

.. code-block:: bash

$ ./
Hello world

A potentially modular application with multiple commands:

.. code-block:: python

import argh

# declaring:

def echo(text):
    "Returns given word as is."
    return text

def greet(name, greeting='Hello'):
    "Greets the user with given name. The greeting is customizable."
    return greeting + ', ' + name

# assembling:

parser = argh.ArghParser()
parser.add_commands([echo, greet])

# dispatching:

if __name__ == '__main__':

Of course it works:

.. code-block:: bash

$ ./ greet Andy
Hello, Andy

$ ./ greet Andy -g Arrrgh
Arrrgh, Andy

Here's the auto-generated help for this application (note how the docstrings are reused)::

$ ./ help

usage: {echo,greet} ...

positional arguments:
    echo        Returns given word as is.
    greet       Greets the user with given name. The greeting is customizable.

...and for a specific command (an ordinary function signature is converted to CLI arguments)::

$ ./ help greet

usage: greet [-g GREETING] name

Greets the user with given name. The greeting is customizable.

positional arguments:

optional arguments:
  -g GREETING, --greeting GREETING   'Hello'

(The help messages have been simplified a bit for brevity.)

Argh easily maps plain Python functions to CLI. Sometimes this is not enough; in these cases the powerful API of argparse is also available:

.. code-block:: python

@arg('text', default='hello world', nargs='+', help='The message')
def echo(text):
    print text

The approaches can be safely combined even up to this level:

.. code-block:: python

# adding help to `foo` which is in the function signature:
@arg('foo', help='blah')
# these are not in the signature so they go to **kwargs:
@arg('-q', '--quux')
# the function itself:
def cmd(foo, bar=1, *args, **kwargs):
    yield foo
    yield bar
    yield ', '.join(args)
    yield kwargs['baz']
    yield kwargs['quux']
  • Project home page_ (GitHub)

  • Documentation_ (Read the Docs)

  • Package distribution_ (PyPI)

  • Questions, requests, bug reports, etc.:

    • Issue tracker_ (GitHub)
    • Mailing list_ (subscribe to get important announcements)
    • Direct e-mail (neithere at gmail com)

.. _project home page: .. _documentation: .. _package distribution: .. _issue tracker: .. _mailing list:


Developed by Andrey Mikhaylenko since 2010.

See file AUTHORS for a complete list of contributors to this library.


The fastest way to improve this project is to submit tested and documented patches or detailed bug reports.

Otherwise you can "flattr" me: |FlattrLink|_

.. _FlattrLink: .. |FlattrLink| image:: :alt: Flattr the Argh project


Argh is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

Argh 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. See the GNU Lesser General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public License along with Argh. If not, see

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