Specifying Settings

Settings for Spectre.Console.Cli commands are defined via classes that inherit from CommandSettings. Attributes are used to indicate how the parser interprets the command line arguments and create a runtime instance of the settings to be used.

Example:

public sealed class MyCommandSettings : CommandSettings
{
    [CommandArgument(0, "[name]")]
    public string Name { get; set; }

    [CommandOption("-c|--count")]
    public int Count { get; set; }
}

This setting file tells Spectre.Console.Cli that our command has two parameters. One is marked as a CommandArgument, the other is a CommandOption.

CommandArgument

Arguments have a position and a name. The name is not only used for generating help, but it's formatting is used to determine whether or not the argument is optional. The name must either be surrounded by square brackets (e.g. [name]) or angle brackets (e.g. <name>). Angle brackets denote required whereas square brackets denote optional. If neither are specified an exception will be thrown.

The position is used for scenarios where there could be more than one argument.

For example, we could split the above name argument into two values with an optional last name.

[CommandArgument(0, "<firstName>")]
public string FirstName { get; set; }

[CommandArgument(1, "[lastName]")]
public string LastName { get; set; }

CommandOption

CommandOption is used when you have options that are passed in command line switches. The attribute has one parameter - a pipe delimited string with the list of argument names. The following rules apply:

  • As many names can be specified as you wish, they just can't conflict with other arguments.
  • Options with a single character must be preceded by a single dash (e.g. -c).
  • Multi-character options must be preceded by two dashes (e.g. --count).

Flags

There is a special mode for CommandOptions on boolean types. Typically all CommandOptions require a value to be included after the switch. For these only the switch needs to be specified to mark the value as true. This example would allow the user to run either app.exe --debug, or app.exe --debug true.

[CommandOption("--debug")]
public bool Debug { get; set; }

Description

When rendering help the System.ComponentModel.Description attribute is supported for specifying the text displayed to the user for both CommandOption and CommandArgument.

DefaultValue

The System.ComponentModel.DefaultValue attribute supported to specify a default value for a command. For example, in the hello example displaying hello for a default count of zero wouldn't make sense. We can change this to a single hello:

[CommandOption("-c|--count")]
[DefaultValue(1)]
public int Count { get; set; }

TypeConverter

System.ComponentModel.TypeConverter is supported for more complex arguments, such as mapping log levels to an enum via a TypeConverter.

Arrays

CommandArgument can be defined as arrays and any additional parameters will be included in the value. For example

[CommandArgument(0, "[name]")]
public string[] Name { get; set; }

Would allow the user to run app.exe Dwayne Elizondo "Mountain Dew" Herbert Camacho. The settings passed to the command would have a 5 element array consisting of Dwayne, Elizondo, Mountain Dew, Herbert and Camacho.

Constructors

Spectre.Console.Cli supports constructor initialization and init only initialization. For constructor initialization, the parameter name of the constructor must match the name of the property name of the settings class. Order does not matter.

public class Settings
{
    public Settings(string[] name)
    {
        Name = name;
    }

    [Description("The name to display")]
    [CommandArgument(0, "[Name]")]
    public string Name { get; }
}

Also supported are init only properties.

public class Settings
{
    [Description("The name to display")]
    [CommandArgument(0, "[Name]")]
    public string Name { get; init; }
}

Validation

Simple type validation is performed automatically, but for scenarios where more complex validation is required, overriding the Validate method is supported. This method must return either ValidationResult.Error or ValidationResult.Success.

public class Settings
{
    [Description("The name to display")]
    [CommandArgument(0, "[Name]")]
    public string Name { get; init; }

    public override ValidationResult Validate()
    {
        return Name.Length < 2
            ? ValidationResult.Error("Names must be at least two characters long")
            : ValidationResult.Success();
    }
}