The Zend\Console\Getopt class helps command-line applications to parse their options and arguments.

Users may specify command-line arguments when they execute your application. These arguments have meaning to the application, to change the behavior in some way, or choose resources, or specify parameters. Many options have developed customary meaning, for example --verbose enables extra output from many applications. Other options may have a meaning that is different for each application. For example, -c enables different features in grep, ls, and tar.

Below are a few definitions of terms. Common usage of the terms varies, but this documentation will use the definitions below.

  • “argument”: a string that occurs on the command-line following the name of the command. Arguments may be options or else may appear without an option, to name resources on which the command operates.

  • “option”: an argument that signifies that the command should change its default behavior in some way.

  • “flag”: the first part of an option, identifies the purpose of the option. A flag is preceded conventionally by one or two dashes (- or --). A single dash precedes a single-character flag or a cluster of single-character flags. A double-dash precedes a multi-character flag. Long flags cannot be clustered.

  • “parameter”: the secondary part of an option; a data value that may accompany a flag, if it is applicable to the given option. For example, many commands accept a --verbose option, but typically this option has no parameter. However, an option like --user almost always requires a following parameter.

    A parameter may be given as a separate argument following a flag argument, or as part of the same argument string, separated from the flag by an equals symbol (=). The latter form is supported only by long flags. For example, -u username, --user username, and --user=username are forms supported by Zend\Console\Getopt.

  • “cluster”: multiple single-character flags combined in a single string argument and preceded by a single dash. For example, “ls -1str” uses a cluster of four short flags. This command is equivalent to “ls -1 -s -t -r”. Only single-character flags can be clustered. You cannot make a cluster of long flags.

For example, in mysql --user=root mydatabase, mysql is a command, --user=root is an option, --user is a flag, root is a parameter to the option, and mydatabase is an argument but not an option by our definition.

Zend\Console\Getopt provides an interface to declare which flags are valid for your application, output an error and usage message if they use an invalid flag, and report to your application code which flags the user specified.


Getopt is not an Application Framework

Zend\Console\Getopt does not interpret the meaning of flags and parameters, nor does this class implement application workflow or invoke application code. You must implement those actions in your own application code. You can use the Zend\Console\Getopt class to parse the command-line and provide object-oriented methods for querying which options were given by a user, but code to use this information to invoke parts of your application should be in another PHP class.

The following sections describe usage of Zend\Console\Getopt.