Solution 1

import sys


sys.argv is a list that contains all the arguments passed to the script on the command line. sys.argv[0] is the script name.


import sys

Solution 2

The canonical solution in the standard library is argparse (docs):

Here is an example:

from argparse import ArgumentParser

parser = ArgumentParser()
parser.add_argument("-f", "--file", dest="filename",
                    help="write report to FILE", metavar="FILE")
parser.add_argument("-q", "--quiet",
                    action="store_false", dest="verbose", default=True,
                    help="don't print status messages to stdout")

args = parser.parse_args()

argparse supports (among other things):

  • Multiple options in any order.
  • Short and long options.
  • Default values.
  • Generation of a usage help message.

Solution 3

Just going around evangelizing for argparse which is better for these reasons.. essentially:

(copied from the link)

  • argparse module can handle positional and optional arguments, while optparse can handle only optional arguments

  • argparse isnt dogmatic about what your command line interface should look like - options like -file or /file are supported, as are required options. Optparse refuses to support these features, preferring purity over practicality

  • argparse produces more informative usage messages, including command-line usage determined from your arguments, and help messages for both positional and optional arguments. The optparse module requires you to write your own usage string, and has no way to display help for positional arguments.

  • argparse supports action that consume a variable number of command-line args, while optparse requires that the exact number of arguments (e.g. 1, 2, or 3) be known in advance

  • argparse supports parsers that dispatch to sub-commands, while optparse requires setting allow_interspersed_args and doing the parser dispatch manually

And my personal favorite:

  • argparse allows the type and action parameters to add_argument() to be specified with simple callables, while optparse requires hacking class attributes like STORE_ACTIONS or CHECK_METHODS to get proper argument checking

Solution 4

There is also argparse stdlib module (an "impovement" on stdlib's optparse module). Example from the introduction to argparse:

import argparse

if __name__ == '__main__':
    parser = argparse.ArgumentParser()
        'integers', metavar='int', type=int, choices=range(10),
         nargs='+', help='an integer in the range 0..9')
        '--sum', dest='accumulate', action='store_const', const=sum,
        default=max, help='sum the integers (default: find the max)')

    args = parser.parse_args()


$ 1 2 3 4

$ --sum 1 2 3 4

Solution 5

If you need something fast and not very flexible

import sys

first_name = sys.argv[1]
last_name = sys.argv[2]
print("Hello " + first_name + " " + last_name)

Then run python James Smith

to produce the following output:

Hello James Smith

Solution 6

One way to do it is using sys.argv. This will print the script name as the first argument and all the other parameters that you pass to it.

import sys

for arg in sys.argv:
    print arg

Solution 7

The docopt library is really slick. It builds an argument dict from the usage string for your app.

Eg from the docopt readme:

"""Naval Fate.

Usage: ship new <name>... ship <name> move <x> <y> [--speed=<kn>] ship shoot <x> <y> mine (set|remove) <x> <y> [--moored | --drifting] (-h | --help) --version

  -h --help     Show this screen.
  --version     Show version.
  --speed=<kn>  Speed in knots [default: 10].
  --moored      Moored (anchored) mine.
  --drifting    Drifting mine.

from docopt import docopt

if __name__ == '__main__':
    arguments = docopt(__doc__, version='Naval Fate 2.0')

Solution 8

#set default args as -h , if no args:
if len(sys.argv) == 1: sys.argv[1:] = ["-h"]

Solution 9

I use optparse myself, but really like the direction Simon Willison is taking with his recently introduced optfunc library. It works by:

"introspecting a function definition (including its arguments and their default values) and using that to construct a command line argument parser."

So, for example, this function definition:

def geocode(s, api_key='', geocoder='google', list_geocoders=False):

is turned into this optparse help text:

      -h, --help            show this help message and exit
      -l, --list-geocoders
      -a API_KEY, --api-key=API_KEY
      -g GEOCODER, --geocoder=GEOCODER

Solution 10

I like getopt from stdlib, eg:

    opts, args = getopt.getopt(sys.argv[1:], 'h', ['help'])
except getopt.GetoptError, err: 

for opt, arg in opts:
    if opt in ('-h', '--help'): 

if len(args) != 1:
    usage("specify thing...")

Lately I have been wrapping something similiar to this to make things less verbose (eg; making "-h" implicit).

Solution 11

As you can see optparse "The optparse module is deprecated with and will not be developed further; development will continue with the argparse module."

Solution 12

Pocoo's click is more intuitive, requires less boilerplate, and is at least as powerful as argparse.

The only weakness I've encountered so far is that you can't do much customization to help pages, but that usually isn't a requirement and docopt seems like the clear choice when it is.

Solution 13

import argparse

parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description='Process some integers.')
parser.add_argument('integers', metavar='N', type=int, nargs='+',
                   help='an integer for the accumulator')
parser.add_argument('--sum', dest='accumulate', action='store_const',
                   const=sum, default=max,
                   help='sum the integers (default: find the max)')

args = parser.parse_args()

Assuming the Python code above is saved into a file called
$ python -h


Solution 14

You may be interested in a little Python module I wrote to make handling of command line arguments even easier (open source and free to use) - Commando

Solution 15

Yet another option is argh. It builds on argparse, and lets you write things like:

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__':

It will automatically generate help and so on, and you can use decorators to provide extra guidance on how the arg-parsing should work.

Solution 16

I recommend looking at docopt as a simple alternative to these others.

docopt is a new project that works by parsing your --help usage message rather than requiring you to implement everything yourself. You just have to put your usage message in the POSIX format.

Solution 17

Also with python3 you might find convenient to use Extended Iterable Unpacking to handle optional positional arguments without additional dependencies:

   _, arg1, arg2, arg3, *_ = sys.argv + [None] * 2
except ValueError:
   print("Not enough arguments", file=sys.stderr) # unhandled exception traceback is meaningful enough also

The above argv unpack makes arg2 and arg3 "optional" - if they are not specified in argv, they will be None, while if the first is not specified, ValueError will be thouwn:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "", line 3, in <module>
    _, arg1, arg2, arg3, *_ = sys.argv + [None] * 2
ValueError: not enough values to unpack (expected at least 4, got 3)

Solution 18

My solution is entrypoint2. Example:

from entrypoint2 import entrypoint
def add(file, quiet=True): 
    ''' This function writes report.

    :param file: write report to FILE
    :param quiet: don't print status messages to stdout
    print file,quiet

help text:

usage: [-h] [-q] [--debug] file

This function writes report.

positional arguments:
  file         write report to FILE

optional arguments:
  -h, --help   show this help message and exit
  -q, --quiet  don't print status messages to stdout
  --debug      set logging level to DEBUG

Solution 19

import sys

# Command line arguments are stored into sys.argv
# print(sys.argv[1:])

# I used the slice [1:] to print all the elements except the first
# This because the first element of sys.argv is the program name
# So the first argument is sys.argv[1], the second is sys.argv[2] ecc

print("File name: " + sys.argv[0])
for i in sys.argv[1:]:

Let's name this file and let's run it:

C:\Users\simone> python arg1 arg2 arg3 ecc
File name:

Now let's write a simple program,

import sys

    print(sum(map(float, sys.argv[1:])))
    print("An error has occurred")


C:\Users\simone> python 10 4 6 3

Solution 20

This handles simple switches, value switches with optional alternative flags.

import sys

# [IN] argv - array of args
# [IN] switch - switch to seek
# [IN] val - expecting value
# [IN] alt - switch alternative
# returns value or True if val not expected
def parse_cmd(argv,switch,val=None,alt=None):
    for idx, x in enumerate(argv):
        if x == switch or x == alt:
            if val:
                if len(argv) > (idx+1):            
                    if not argv[idx+1].startswith('-'):
                        return argv[idx+1]
                return True

//expecting a value for -i
i = parse_cmd(sys.argv[1:],"-i", True, "--input")

//no value needed for -p
p = parse_cmd(sys.argv[1:],"-p")

Solution 21

Several of our biotechnology clients have posed these two questions recently:

  • How can we execute a Python script as a command?
  • How can we pass input values to a Python script when it is executed as a command?

I have included a Python script below which I believe answers both questions. Let's assume the following Python script is saved in the file

# file name:
# input values: data  - location of data to be processed
#               date  - date data were delivered for processing
#               study - name of the study where data originated
#               logs  - location where log files should be written 
# macOS usage: 
#   python3 "/Users/lawrence/data" "20220518" "XYZ123" "/Users/lawrence/logs"
# Windows usage: 
#   python "D:\data" "20220518" "XYZ123" "D:\logs"
# import needed modules...
import sys
import datetime

def main(argv):

   # print message that process is starting...
   print("test process starting at","%Y%m%d %H:%M"))

   # set local values from input values...
   data = sys.argv[1]
   date = sys.argv[2]
   study = sys.argv[3]
   logs = sys.argv[4]

   # print input arguments...
   print("data value is", data)
   print("date value is", date)
   print("study value is", study)
   print("logs value is", logs)

   # print message that process is ending...
   print("test process ending at","%Y%m%d %H:%M"))

# call main() to begin processing...

if __name__ == '__main__':


The script can be executed on a macOS computer in a Terminal shell as shown below and the results will be printed to standard output (be sure the current directory includes the file):

$ python3 "/Users/lawrence/data" "20220518" "XYZ123" "/Users/lawrence/logs"
test process starting at 20220518 16:51
data value is /Users/lawrence/data
date value is 20220518
study value is XYZ123
logs value is /Users/lawrence/logs
test process ending at 20220518 16:51

The script can also be executed on a Windows computer in a Command Prompt as shown below and the results will be printed to standard output (be sure the current directory includes the file):

D:\scripts>python "D:\data" "20220518" "XYZ123" "D:\logs"
test process starting at 20220518 17:20
data value is D:\data
date value is 20220518
study value is XYZ123
logs value is D:\logs
test process ending at 20220518 17:20

This script answers both questions posed above and is a good starting point for developing scripts that will be executed as commands with input values.