Saturday, October 14, 2017

Java Command-Line Interfaces (Part 23): Rop

The Rop library is described on its main page as "a lightweight command line option parser written in Java." The "Introduction" to Rop also states, "Rop is designed to be minimal meanwhile convenient, and to cover most usual command line parsing use cases." This post is the twenty-third in this series on parsing command line arguments in Java and focuses on Rop.

Like the twenty-two posts in this series before this one, this post uses examples implementing two command line options, one for file path and name and one for verbosity level. The full code listing the example is available on GitHub.

The "definition" stage is accomplished in Rop via annotations @Command and @Option (both of which are nested within class com.github.ryenus.rop.OptionParser). This is shown in the next code listing.

"Definition" Stage with Rop

 * Demonstrates use of Rop for processing command line
 * parameters in Java.
@Command(name="RopDemo", descriptions="Demonstrates ROP for command line processing.")
public class Main
   @Option(opt={"-f", "--file"}, description="Path and name of file.")
   private String file;

   @Option(opt={"-v", "--verbose"}, description="Indicates whether verbosity is enabled or not.")
   private boolean verbose;

The "parsing" stage is accomplished in Rop by instantiating an instance of OptionParser and pass to it the definition of the class whose fields were annotated in the "definition" stage. This is shown in the next code listing.

"Parsing" Stage with Rop

final OptionParser parser = new OptionParser(Main.class);

The OptionParser.parse(Class) method implicitly invokes (via reflection) a method with name "run" on the instance provided to the parser when it was constructed. I have implemented this "run" method as shown in the next code listing.

"Interrogation" Stage with Rop (including "run" method)

 * Method called implicitly by Rop parser.
 * @param parser Instance of {@code OptionParser} whose
 *    "parse" method led to my implicit invocation.
private void run(final OptionParser parser)
   out.println("File path/name is " + file + " and verbosity is " + verbose);

The above code listing's "run" method demonstrates "interrogation" that is accomplished by accessing the @Option-annotated fields that were populated by the OptionParser.parse(String[]) call.

The three screen snapshots that follow demonstrate these "definition", "parsing", and "interrogation" stages accomplished with Rop. The first image indicates the error message that is shown when the required "file" option is not specified. The second image depicts normal behavior of the example that processes combinations of the "file" and "verbose" options' short and long names. The third image depicts Rop's built-in "help" support that is shown when the --help option is specified.

There are characteristics of Rop to consider when selecting a framework or library to help with command-line parsing in Java.

  • Rop is open source with an MIT License.
  • Rop, as advertised, is lightweight; the rop-1.1.1.jar is approximately 18 KB in size and requires no third-party dependencies.
  • The classes in the rop-1.1.1.jar have "major version: 51", meaning that Java SE 7 is required if using these compiled classes.

Rop is a lightweight Java-based library for processing command line options that is easy to learn and use.

Additional References

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