Writing Command-Line Scripts

Command-line scripts in Astropy should follow a consistent scheme to promote readability and compatibility.

Setuptools’ “entry points” are used to automatically generate wrappers with the correct extension. The scripts can live in their own module, or be part of a larger module that implements a class or function for astropy library use. They should have a main function to parse the arguments and pass those arguments on to some library function so that the library function can be used programmatically when needed. The main function should accept an optional single argument that holds the sys.argv list, except for the script name (e.g., argv[1:]). It must then be added to the list of entry points in the setup.py file (see the example below).

Command-line options can be parsed however desired, but the argparse module is recommended when possible, due to its simpler and more flexible interface relative to the older optparse. argparse is only available in python >=2.7 and >=3.2, however, so it should be imported as from astropy.utils.compat import argparse .

Example

Contents of /astropy/somepackage/somemod.py

def do_something(args, option=False):
    for a in args:
        if option:
            ...do something...
        else:
            ...do something else...

def main(args=None):
    from astropy.utils.compat import argparse

    parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description='Process some integers.')
    parser.add_argument('-o', '--option', dest='op',action='store_true',
                        help='Some option that turns something on.')
    parser.add_argument('stuff', metavar='S', nargs='+',
                        help='Some input I should be able to get lots of.')

    res = parser.parse_args(args)

    do_something(res.stuff,res.op)

Then add the script to the setup.py

entry_points['console_scripts'] = [
    'somescript = astropy.somepackage.somemod:main',
    ...
]