[Development] [Qt5-feedback] Command line parser in QtCore?

Craig.Scott at csiro.au Craig.Scott at csiro.au
Sat Oct 22 02:29:38 CEST 2011

On 22/10/2011, at 5:18 AM, Thiago Macieira wrote:

> On Friday, 21 de October de 2011 16:29:36 Stefan Majewsky wrote:
>> Moin moin,
>> it would be nice to have a command line parser in QtCore, i.e. some
>> class that parses stuff like
>>> ./program -vh --long-option --value=5 foo.dat
>> given some format definition. KCmdLineArgs and KCmdLineOptions from
>> kdecore do exactly that for KDE programs. I don't have time right now,
>> but perhaps someone wants to pick up this task?
> Hello Stefan
> Speaking as QtCore's maintainer, I'll reserve the decision until I see your 
> proposal.

A while back, we also found ourselves in need of decent command line parsing. It kinda surprised me that Qt didn't offer anything already in this area, since it seemed like the sort of thing that Qt would normally provide. So we considered our options. Our apps are not KDE apps, so we were not able to look there for a solution. We also do not use boost (let's not debate that, it's not the point of this post), so we were not able to use their solution either. In the end, we decided we needed to write our own, which we did. At the time, I had the thought that if we do it right, maybe one day we could consider contributing it back to become part of Qt. Funny how things come around......

Let me state a couple of things before going further. The code in question is 100% our own, so no issues with copyright and contributors, etc. I'd just have to get formal approval from our legal people to release it (that would take time, but since this code isn't particularly novel, I think I can get that approval). Our solution currently supports the main needs for a command line parser, but it won't have every bell and whistle people might want. That said, I don't think it would be particularly difficult to add support for the main omissions.

With that out of the way, I've put the class definition up on pastebin for comment. I've withheld the implementation until I've had a chance to clear it with our legal people. In the meantime, I think the interface of the class is probably enough to get some feedback on whether people think this has the potential to be a viable candidate for a command line parser for Qt:


Note that the code currently does not adhere to the Qt coding guidelines (it follows ours instead), but if we do end up contributing it to Qt, then it should not be too difficult to bring it into line.

Dr Craig Scott
Computational Software Engineering Team Leader, CSIRO (CMIS)
Melbourne, Australia

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