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Using Python and Argparse to Build Quick Scripts

 ·   ·  ☕ 2 min read

Python is a really handy language for scripting, particularly when compared to a compiled language like C# or Java. Lets take a look at how we can use python and a python module called argparse to build simple python scripts that are extremely easy to use.

Argparse is a module for python that makes adding command line arguments to your programs extremely easy. It also helps with input validation and documentation by automatically generating error messages, parsing your input and automatically creating --help and -h commands to display help for your program.

This makes writing tools super easy and helps make sharing your tools with other people a lot easier. They don’t need to dig into the docs anymore and can just run python mycoolscript.py --help to learn how to use it.

You can install the argparse module using pip:

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pip install argparse

Want to explore Argparse in more depth? It’s documentation includes a number of great examples and more: https://docs.python.org/3/library/argparse.html

A simple example of using argparse may look like this:

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import argparse

parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description='print a list of integers')
parser.add_argument('integers', metavar='N', type=int, nargs='+',
                    help='one or more integers to print')

args = parser.parse_args()
print(args.integers)

This will automatically validate that at least 1 integer is passed to the function and generate a help command that can be run using either --help or -h.

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Sam Wronski
WRITTEN BY
Sam Wronski
Maker of things, currently helping build cloud things @ Google. World of Zero is a personal project disconnected from my professional work. Lets make something awesome together!