To parse the command line arguments with which inweb was called, and to handle any errors it needs to issue.

§1. Model. Our scheme is that the command line syntax will contain an optional series of dashed switches. Some switches appear alone, others must be followed by an argument. Anything not part of the switches is termed a "bareword". For example, in

    -log no-memory-usage -fixtime jam marmalade

there are two switches, -log taking an argument (it has valency 2 in the terminology below), -fixtime not (valency 1). There are then two barewords, jam and marmalade.

For an example of all this in action, see Inweb, or see the basic command-line switches created by Foundation itself in "Foundation".

§2. Switches. Each different switch available is stored in one of these structures. Switches come in five sorts:

enum ACTION_CLSF from 1  does something
enum BOOLEAN_ON_CLSF  sets a flag true
enum BOOLEAN_OFF_CLSF  sets a flag false
enum NUMERICAL_CLSF  sets an integer to the given value
enum TEXTUAL_CLSF  sets text to the given value

§3. Switches are also grouped, though this affects only the printout of them in -help. Groups are enumerated thus:

enum NO_CLSG from 0
typedef struct command_line_switch {
    int switch_id;
    struct text_stream *switch_name;  e.g., no-verbose
    struct text_stream *switch_sort_name;  e.g., verbose
    struct text_stream *help_text;
    int valency;  1 for bare, 2 for one argument follows
    int form;  one of the *_CLSF values above
    int switch_group;  one of the *_CLSG valyes above
    int active_by_default;  relevant only for booleans
    struct command_line_switch *negates;  relevant only for booleans
} command_line_switch;

§4. In case of a prodigious number of switches (ever tried typing clang -help?), we'll hash the switch names into the following:

dictionary *cls_dictionary = NULL;

§5. The client must declare all the switches her program will make use of, not counting the standard set already declared by Foundation (such as -help). A new *_CLSW value should be enumerated to be the ID referring to this swtich, and then the client should call:

int current_switch_group = -1;
text_stream *switch_group_names[NO_DEFINED_CLSG_VALUES+1];
void CommandLine::begin_group(int id, text_stream *name) {
    if (current_switch_group == -1)
        for (int i=0; i<=NO_DEFINED_CLSG_VALUES; i++) switch_group_names[i] = NULL;
    current_switch_group = id;
    switch_group_names[id] = name;
void CommandLine::end_group(void) {
    current_switch_group = NO_CLSG;
command_line_switch *CommandLine::declare_switch(int id,
    inchar32_t *name_literal, int val, inchar32_t *help_literal) {
    return CommandLine::declare_switch_p(id,
        Str::new_from_wide_string(name_literal), val,
command_line_switch *CommandLine::declare_switch_p(int id,
    text_stream *name, int val, text_stream *help_literal) {
    if (current_switch_group == -1) {
        current_switch_group = NO_CLSG;
        for (int i=0; i<=NO_DEFINED_CLSG_VALUES; i++) switch_group_names[i] = NULL;
    if (cls_dictionary == NULL) cls_dictionary = Dictionaries::new(16, FALSE);
    command_line_switch *cls = CREATE(command_line_switch);
    cls->switch_name = name;
    Make the sorting name5.1;
    cls->switch_id = id;
    cls->valency = val;
    cls->help_text = help_literal;
    cls->form = ACTION_CLSF;
    cls->active_by_default = FALSE;
    cls->negates = NULL;
    cls->switch_group = current_switch_group;
    Dictionaries::create(cls_dictionary, cls->switch_name);
    Dictionaries::write_value(cls_dictionary, cls->switch_name, cls);
    return cls;

§5.1. When we alphabetically sort switches for the -help output, we want to file, say, -no-verbose immediately after -verbose, not back in the N section. So the sorting version of no-verbose is verbose_.

Make the sorting name5.1 =

    cls->switch_sort_name = Str::duplicate(name);
    if (Str::begins_with_wide_string(name, U"no-")) {
        Str::delete_n_characters(cls->switch_sort_name, 3);
        WRITE_TO(cls->switch_sort_name, "_");

§6. Booleans are automatically created in pairs, e.g., -destroy-world and -no-destroy-world:

command_line_switch *CommandLine::declare_boolean_switch(int id,
    inchar32_t *name_literal, int val, inchar32_t *help_literal, int active) {
    command_line_switch *cls =
        CommandLine::declare_switch(id, name_literal, val, help_literal);
    text_stream *neg = Str::new();
    WRITE_TO(neg, "no-%w", name_literal);
    text_stream *neg_help = Str::new();
    WRITE_TO(neg_help, "don't %w", help_literal);
    command_line_switch *negated =
        CommandLine::declare_switch_p(id, neg, val, neg_help);

    cls->form = BOOLEAN_ON_CLSF;
    negated->form = BOOLEAN_OFF_CLSF;
    negated->negates = cls;

    if (active) cls->active_by_default = TRUE; else negated->active_by_default = TRUE;
    return cls;

void CommandLine::declare_numerical_switch(int id,
    inchar32_t *name_literal, int val, inchar32_t *help_literal) {
    command_line_switch *cls =
        CommandLine::declare_switch(id, name_literal, val, help_literal);
    cls->form = NUMERICAL_CLSF;

void CommandLine::declare_textual_switch(int id,
    inchar32_t *name_literal, int val, inchar32_t *help_literal) {
    command_line_switch *cls =
        CommandLine::declare_switch(id, name_literal, val, help_literal);
    cls->form = TEXTUAL_CLSF;

§7. Reading the command line. Once all the switches are declared, the client calls the following routine in order to parse the usual C argc and argv pair, and take action as appropriate. The client passes a pointer to some structure in state: probably a structure holding its settings variables. When we parse a switch, we call f to say so; when we parse a bareword, we call g. In each case we pass back state so that these functions can record whatever they would like to in the state structure.

The return value is TRUE if the command line appeared to contain at least one non-trivial request, but FALSE if it only asked for e.g. -help. In general, the client should then exit with exit code 0 if this happens.

This is all easier to demonstrate than explain. See Inweb for an example.

§8. Here goes the reader. It works through the command line arguments, then through the file if one has by that point been provided.

define BOGUS_CLSN -12345678  bogus because guaranteed not to be a genuine switch ID
typedef struct clf_reader_state {
    void *state;
    void (*f)(int, int, text_stream *, void *);
    void (*g)(int, text_stream *, void *);
    int subs;
    int nrt;
} clf_reader_state;

int CommandLine::read(int argc, char **argv, void *state,
    void (*f)(int, int, text_stream *, void *), void (*g)(int, text_stream *, void *)) {
    clf_reader_state crs;
    crs.state = state; crs.f = f; crs.g = g;
    crs.subs = FALSE; crs.nrt = 0;
    CommandLine::read_array(&crs, argc, argv);
    return crs.subs;

void CommandLine::set_locale(int argc, char **argv) {
    for (int i=1; i<argc; i++) {
        char *p = argv[i];
        if ((strcmp(p, "-locale") == 0) && (i<argc-1))
            if (Locales::set_locales(argv[i+1]) == FALSE)
                Errors::fatal("unrecognised locale");

void CommandLine::read_array(clf_reader_state *crs, int argc, char **argv) {
    for (int i=1; i<argc; i++) {
        int switched = FALSE;
        char *p = argv[i];
        while (p[0] == '-') { p++; switched = TRUE; }  allow a doubled-dash as a single
        Streams::write_locale_string(opt, p);
        if (i+1 < argc) Streams::write_locale_string(arg, argv[i+1]);
        if (switched) {
            int N = CommandLine::read_pair(crs, opt, arg);
            if (N == 0)
                Errors::fatal_with_text("unknown command line switch: -%S", opt);
            i += N - 1;
        } else {
            CommandLine::read_one(crs, opt);

§9. We can also read the "command line" from a file. The following variable holds the filename to read from.

filename *command_line_file = NULL;
void CommandLine::also_read_file(filename *F) {
    command_line_file = F;

§10. It's useful to log some of what we're reading here, so that people can tell from the debugging log what switches were actually used. But since the log might not exist as early as now, we have to record any log entries, and play them back later (i.e., when the debugging log does exist).

linked_list *command_line_logs = NULL;
void CommandLine::record_log(text_stream *line) {
    if (command_line_logs == NULL)
        command_line_logs = NEW_LINKED_LIST(text_stream);
    ADD_TO_LINKED_LIST(line, text_stream, command_line_logs);

void CommandLine::play_back_log(void) {
    if (command_line_logs) {
        text_stream *line;
        LOOP_OVER_LINKED_LIST(line, text_stream, command_line_logs)
            LOG("%S\n", line);

§11. White space at start and end of lines is ignored; blank lines and those beginning with a # are ignored (but a # following other content does not mean a comment, so don't use trailing comments on lines); each line must either be a single switch like -no-service or a pair like -connect tower11. Shell conventions on quoting are not used, but the line -greet Fred Smith is equivalent to -greet 'Fred Smith' on the command line, so there's no problem with internal space characters in arguments.

void CommandLine::read_file(clf_reader_state *crs) {
    text_stream *logline = Str::new();
    WRITE_TO(logline, "Reading further switches from file: %f", command_line_file);
    if (command_line_file)
        TextFiles::read(command_line_file, FALSE,
            NULL, FALSE, CommandLine::read_file_helper, NULL, (void *) crs);
    command_line_file = NULL;
    text_stream *lastline = Str::new();
    WRITE_TO(lastline, "Completed expert settings file");
void CommandLine::read_file_helper(text_stream *text, text_file_position *tfp, void *state) {
    clf_reader_state *crs = (clf_reader_state *) state;
    match_results mr = Regexp::create_mr();
    if ((Str::is_whitespace(text)) || (Regexp::match(&mr, text, U" *#%c*"))) {
    } else {
        text_stream *logline = Str::new();
        WRITE_TO(logline, "line %d: %S", tfp->line_count, text);
        if (Regexp::match(&mr, text, U" *-*(%C+) (%c+?) *")) {
            int N = CommandLine::read_pair(crs, mr.exp[0], mr.exp[1]);
            if (N == 0)
                Errors::fatal_with_text("unknown command line switch: -%S", mr.exp[0]);
            if (N == 1)
                Errors::fatal_with_text("command line switch does not take value: -%S", mr.exp[0]);
        } else if (Regexp::match(&mr, text, U" *-*(%C+) *")) {
            int N = CommandLine::read_pair(crs, mr.exp[0], NULL);
            if (N == 0)
                Errors::fatal_with_text("unknown command line switch: -%S", mr.exp[0]);
            if (N == 2)
                Errors::fatal_with_text("command line switch requires value: -%S", mr.exp[0]);
        } else {
            Errors::in_text_file("illegible line in expert settings file", tfp);
            WRITE_TO(STDERR, "'%S'\n", text);

void CommandLine::read_one(clf_reader_state *crs, text_stream *opt) {
    (*(crs->g))(crs->nrt++, opt, crs->state);
    crs->subs = TRUE;

§12. We also allow -setting=X as equivalent to -setting X.

int CommandLine::read_pair(clf_reader_state *crs, text_stream *opt, text_stream *arg) {
    Str::copy(opt_p, opt);
    int N = BOGUS_CLSN;
    match_results mr = Regexp::create_mr();
    if ((Regexp::match(&mr, opt, U"(%c+)=(%d+)")) ||
        (Regexp::match(&mr, opt, U"(%c+)=(-%d+)"))) {
        N = Str::atoi(mr.exp[1], 0);
        Str::copy(opt_p, mr.exp[0]);
        Str::copy(opt_val, mr.exp[1]);
    } else if (Regexp::match(&mr, opt, U"(%c+)=(%c*)")) {
        Str::copy(opt_p, mr.exp[0]);
        Str::copy(opt_val, mr.exp[1]);
    int rv = CommandLine::read_pair_p(opt_p, opt_val, N, arg, crs->state, crs->f, &(crs->subs));
    return rv;

§13. So at this point we have definitely found what looks like a switch:

int CommandLine::read_pair_p(text_stream *opt, text_stream *opt_val, int N,
    text_stream *arg, void *state,
    void (*f)(int, int, text_stream *, void *), int *substantive) {
    if (Dictionaries::find(cls_dictionary, opt) == NULL) return 0;
    command_line_switch *cls = Dictionaries::read_value(cls_dictionary, opt);
    if (cls == NULL) return 0;
    if ((N == BOGUS_CLSN) && (cls->form == NUMERICAL_CLSF)) {
        Errors::fatal_with_text("no value N given for -%S=N", opt);
        return cls->valency;
    if ((N != BOGUS_CLSN) && (cls->form != NUMERICAL_CLSF)) {
        Errors::fatal_with_text("this is not a numerical setting: -%S", opt);
        return cls->valency;
    if (cls->valency > 1) {
        if (Str::len(arg) == 0) {
            Errors::fatal_with_text("no argument X for -%S X", opt);
            return cls->valency;
    int innocuous = FALSE;
    Take action on what is now definitely a switch13.1;
    if ((innocuous == FALSE) && (substantive)) *substantive = TRUE;
    return cls->valency;

§13.1. The common set of switches declared by Foundation are all handled here; all other switches are delegated to the client's callback function f.

Take action on what is now definitely a switch13.1 =

    switch (cls->switch_id) {
        case CRASH_CLSW:
            if (cls->form == BOOLEAN_ON_CLSF) {
                Errors::enter_debugger_mode(); innocuous = TRUE;
        case LOG_CLSW: Parse debugging log inclusion13.1.1; innocuous = TRUE; break;
        case VERSION_CLSW: {
            char *svn = "[[Semantic Version Number]]";
            if (svn[0]) PRINT(" version %s", svn);
            char *vname = "[[Version Name]]";
            if (vname[0]) PRINT(" '%s'", vname);
            char *d = "[[Build Date]]";
            if (d[0]) PRINT(" (%s)", d);
            innocuous = TRUE; break;
        case HELP_CLSW: CommandLine::write_help(STDOUT); innocuous = TRUE; break;
        case FIXTIME_CLSW:
            if (cls->form == BOOLEAN_ON_CLSF) Time::fix();
        case AT_CLSW: Pathnames::set_installation_path(Pathnames::from_text(arg)); break;
        case LOCALE_CLSW: break;  because it was done earlier
            if (f) {
                int par = -1;
                switch (cls->form) {
                    case BOOLEAN_ON_CLSF: par = TRUE; break;
                    case BOOLEAN_OFF_CLSF: par = FALSE; break;
                    case NUMERICAL_CLSF: par = N; break;
                    case TEXTUAL_CLSF: arg = opt_val; break;
                if (cls->valency == 1) (*f)(cls->switch_id, par, arg, state);
                else (*f)(cls->switch_id, par, arg, state);

§13.1.1. Parse debugging log inclusion13.1.1 =

    if (Log::get_debug_log_filename() == NULL) {
        WRITE_TO(itn, "%s", PROGRAM_NAME);
        filename *F = Filenames::in(Pathnames::from_text(itn), I"debug-log.txt");
    Log::set_aspect_from_command_line(arg, TRUE);

§14. Help text. That just leaves the following, which implements the -help switch. It alphabetically sorts the switches, and prints out a list of them as grouped, with ungrouped switches as the top paragraph and Foundation switches as the bottom one. (Those are the dull ones.)

If a header text has been declared, that appears above the list. It's usually a brief description of the tool's name and purpose.

text_stream *cls_heading = NULL;

void CommandLine::declare_heading(inchar32_t *heading_text_literal) {
    cls_heading = Str::new_from_wide_string(heading_text_literal);

void CommandLine::write_help(OUTPUT_STREAM) {
    command_line_switch *cls;
    int max = 0, N = 0;
    LOOP_OVER(cls, command_line_switch) {
        int L = Str::len(cls->switch_name);
        if (L > max) max = L;
    command_line_switch **sorted_table =
        Memory::calloc(N, (int) sizeof(command_line_switch *), ARRAY_SORTING_MREASON);
    int i=0; LOOP_OVER(cls, command_line_switch) sorted_table[i++] = cls;
    qsort(sorted_table, (size_t) N, sizeof(command_line_switch *), CommandLine::compare_names);

    if (Str::len(cls_heading) > 0) WRITE("%S\n", cls_heading);
    int filter = NO_CLSG, new_para_needed = FALSE;
    Show options in alphabetical order14.1;
    for (filter = NO_CLSG; filter<NO_DEFINED_CLSG_VALUES; filter++)
        if ((filter != NO_CLSG) && (filter != FOUNDATION_CLSG))
            Show options in alphabetical order14.1;
    filter = FOUNDATION_CLSG;
    Show options in alphabetical order14.1;

    Memory::I7_free(sorted_table, ARRAY_SORTING_MREASON, N*((int) sizeof(command_line_switch *)));

§14.1. Show options in alphabetical order14.1 =

    if (new_para_needed) {
        new_para_needed = FALSE;
    for (int i=0; i<N; i++) {
        command_line_switch *cls = sorted_table[i];
        if (cls->switch_group != filter) continue;
        if ((cls->form == BOOLEAN_OFF_CLSF) || (cls->form == BOOLEAN_ON_CLSF)) {
            if (cls->active_by_default) continue;
        text_stream *label = switch_group_names[filter];
        if (new_para_needed == FALSE) {
            if (Str::len(label) > 0) WRITE("%S:\n", label);
            new_para_needed = TRUE;
        if (Str::len(label) > 0) WRITE_TO(line, "  ");
        WRITE_TO(line, "-%S", cls->switch_name);
        if (cls->form == NUMERICAL_CLSF) WRITE_TO(line, "=N");
        if (cls->form == TEXTUAL_CLSF) WRITE_TO(line, "=X");
        if (cls->valency > 1) WRITE_TO(line, " X");
        while (Str::len(line) < max+7) WRITE_TO(line, " ");
        WRITE_TO(line, "%S", cls->help_text);
        if (cls->form == BOOLEAN_ON_CLSF)
            WRITE_TO(line, " (default is -no-%S)", cls->switch_name);
        if (cls->form == BOOLEAN_OFF_CLSF)
            WRITE_TO(line, " (default is -%S)", cls->negates->switch_name);
        WRITE("%S\n", line);


int CommandLine::compare_names(const void *ent1, const void *ent2) {
    text_stream *tx1 = (*((const command_line_switch **) ent1))->switch_sort_name;
    text_stream *tx2 = (*((const command_line_switch **) ent2))->switch_sort_name;
    return Str::cmp_insensitive(tx1, tx2);