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Simple command line processing

, 14 Jan 2002
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A simple method of parsing command line arguments; similar to getopt
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I wanted a simple method to parse command line parameters that would compile on both Windows and Unix. I was familiar with getopt but I couldn't find a compilable version of it in a standalone version, so I decided to make a simple version of it myself.

The result is something that is something that uses the getopt format specification but isn't getopt. It is basic but that is what I wanted - something quick to learn, use and debug. This is the result.


  • Accepts getopt command line specification
  • Simple
  • Platform independent
  • Case dependent or independent matching


  • It isn't getopt
  • All options on the command line must use flags. i.e. "program [-o] input_file" won't work, use "program [-o] -i input_file" instead


  • Uses exceptions
  • If using case-insensitive option matching, ensure that the string passed through as a_pszOptions is all lowercase

Example Usage

    CSimpleOptions cl( argc, argv, "Oa:" );
    while ( )
        switch ( cl.option() )
        case 'O':
            bOption = true;
        case 'a':
            strArgument = cl.arg();
catch ( const SIMPLE_OPTIONS_EXCEPTION & e )
    fprintf( stderr, "Invalid argument: %s\n", e.what() );
    return 1;


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

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About the Author

Brodie Thiesfield
Web Developer
Japan Japan
Must eat, like to travel, thus programming, since 1995.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralNice but does not work with plain char instead of wchar_t PinmemberDEGT25-Nov-07 23:20 
GeneralCross-platform command-line parsing and file globbing PinmemberBrodie Thiesfield23-Apr-06 1:49 
GeneralMore powerful, more simple (new version) PinmemberBrodie Thiesfiel13-May-04 21:09 

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