Option Callbacks

When Optik's built-in actions and types aren't quite enough for your needs, you have two choices: extend Optik or define a callback option. Extending Optik is more general, but overkill for a lot of simple cases. Quite often a simple callback is all you need.

There are two steps to defining a callback option:

Defining a callback option

As always, the easiest way to define a callback option is by using the parser.add_option() method. Apart from action, the only option attribute you must specify is callback, the function to call:

parser.add_option("-c", action="callback", callback=my_callback)

callback is a function (or other callable object), so you must have already defined my_callback() when you create this callback option. In this simple case, Optik doesn't even know if -c takes any arguments, which usually means that the option takes no arguments -- the mere presence of -c on the command-line is all it needs to know. In some circumstances, though, you might want your callback to consume an arbitrary number of command-line arguments. This is where writing callbacks gets tricky; it's covered later in this document.

Optik always passes four particular arguments to your callback, and it will only pass additional arguments if you specify them via callback_args and callback_kwargs. Thus, the minimal callback function signature is:

def my_callback(option, opt, value, parser):

The four arguments to a callback are described below.

There are several other option attributes that you can supply when you define a callback option:

has its usual meaning: as with the store or append actions, it instructs Optik to consume one argument and convert it to type. Rather than storing the converted value(s) anywhere, though, Optik passes it to your callback function.
also has its usual meaning: if it is supplied and > 1, Optik will consume nargs arguments, each of which must be convertible to type. It then passes a tuple of converted values to your callback.
a tuple of extra positional arguments to pass to the callback
a dictionary of extra keyword arguments to pass to the callback

How callbacks are called

All callbacks are called as follows:

func(option, opt_str, value, parser, *args, **kwargs)


is the Option instance that's calling the callback
is the option string seen on the command-line that's triggering the callback. (If an abbreviated long option was used, opt_str will be the full, canonical option string -- e.g. if the user puts "--foo" on the command-line as an abbreviation for "--foobar", then opt_str will be "--foobar".)
is the argument to this option seen on the command-line. Optik will only expect an argument if type is set; the type of value will be the type implied by the option's type. If type for this option is None (no argument expected), then value will be None. If nargs > 1, value will be a tuple of values of the appropriate type.

is the OptionParser instance driving the whole thing, mainly useful because you can access some other interesting data through its instance attributes:

the current list of leftover arguments, ie. arguments that have been consumed but are neither options nor option arguments. Feel free to modify parser.largs, e.g. by adding more arguments to it. (This list will become args, the second return value of parse_args().)
the current list of remaining arguments, ie. with opt_str and value (if applicable) removed, and only the arguments following them still there. Feel free to modify parser.rargs, e.g. by consuming more arguments.
the object where option values are by default stored (an instance of optik.OptionValues). This lets callbacks use the same mechanism as the rest of Optik for storing option values; you don't need to mess around with globals or closures. You can also access or modify the value(s) of any options already encountered on the command-line.
is a tuple of arbitrary positional arguments supplied via the callback_args option attribute.
is a dictionary of arbitrary keyword arguments supplied via callback_kwargs.

Raising errors in a callback

The callback function should raise OptionValueError if there are any problems with the option or its argument(s). Optik catches this and terminates the program, printing the error message you supply to stderr. Your message should be clear, concise, accurate, and mention the option at fault. Otherwise, the user will have a hard time figuring out what he did wrong.

Callback example 1: trivial callback

Here's an example of a callback option that takes no arguments, and simply records that the option was seen:

def record_foo_seen(option, opt_str, value, parser):
    parser.saw_foo = True

parser.add_option("--foo", action="callback", callback=record_foo_seen)

Of course, you could do that with the store_true action.

Callback example 2: check option order

Here's a slightly more interesting example: record the fact that "-a" is seen, but blow up if it comes after "-b" in the command-line.

def check_order(option, opt_str, value, parser):
    if parser.values.b:
        raise OptionValueError("can't use -a after -b")
    parser.values.a = 1
parser.add_option("-a", action="callback", callback=check_order)
parser.add_option("-b", action="store_true", dest="b")

Callback example 3: check option order (generalized)

If you want to re-use this callback for several similar options (set a flag, but blow up if "-b" has already been seen), it needs a bit of work: the error message and the flag that it sets must be generalized.

def check_order(option, opt_str, value, parser):
    if parser.values.b:
        raise OptionValueError("can't use %s after -b" % opt_str)
    setattr(parser.values, option.dest, 1)
parser.add_option("-a", action="callback", callback=check_order, dest='a')
parser.add_option("-b", action="store_true", dest="b")
parser.add_option("-c", action="callback", callback=check_order, dest='c')

Callback example 4: check arbitrary condition

Of course, you could put any condition in there -- you're not limited to checking the values of already-defined options. For example, if you have options that should not be called when the moon is full, all you have to do is this:

def check_moon(option, opt_str, value, parser):
    if is_moon_full():
        raise OptionValueError("%s option invalid when moon is full"
                               % opt_str)
    setattr(parser.values, option.dest, 1)
                  action="callback", callback=check_moon, dest="foo")

(The definition of is_moon_full() is left as an exercise for the reader.)

Callback example 5: fixed arguments

Things get slightly more interesting when you define callback options that take a fixed number of arguments. Specifying that a callback option takes arguments is similar to defining a store or append option: if you define type, then the option takes one argument that must be convertible to that type; if you further define nargs, then the option takes nargs arguments.

Here's an example that just emulates the standard store action:

def store_value(option, opt_str, value, parser):
    setattr(parser.values, option.dest, value)
                  action="callback", callback=store_value,
                  type="int", nargs=3, dest="foo")

Note that Optik takes care of consuming 3 arguments and converting them to integers for you; all you have to do is store them. (Or whatever; obviously you don't need a callback for this example.)

Callback example 6: variable arguments

Things get hairy when you want an option to take a variable number of arguments. For this case, you must write a callback, as Optik doesn't provide any built-in capabilities for it. And you have to deal with certain intricacies of conventional UNIX command-line parsing that Optik normally handles for you. In particular, callbacks should implement the conventional rules for bare "--" and "-" arguments:

If you want an option that takes a variable number of arguments, there are several subtle, tricky issues to worry about. The exact implementation you choose will be based on which trade-offs you're willing to make for your application (which is why Optik doesn't support this sort of thing directly).

Nevertheless, here's a stab at a callback for an option with variable arguments:

def vararg_callback(option, opt_str, value, parser):
    assert value is None
    done = 0
    value = []
    rargs = parser.rargs
    while rargs:
        arg = rargs[0]

        # Stop if we hit an arg like "--foo", "-a", "-fx", "--file=f",
        # etc.  Note that this also stops on "-3" or "-3.0", so if
        # your option takes numeric values, you will need to handle
        # this.
        if ((arg[:2] == "--" and len(arg) > 2) or
            (arg[:1] == "-" and len(arg) > 1 and arg[1] != "-")):
            del rargs[0]

     setattr(parser.values, option.dest, value)

parser.add_option("-c", "--callback",
                  action="callback", callback=varargs)

The main weakness with this particular implementation is that negative numbers in the arguments following "-c" will be interpreted as further options (probably causing an error), rather than as arguments to "-c". Fixing this is left as an exercise for the reader.