Command line parsing is needed on every program that receives parameters from the user. The clap crate helps us to have a really nice command line parser with a lot of features enabled.

As an example this is a really simple application that takes two numbers from the command line and return the sum of them.

The Cargo.toml content

[package]
name = "cmd_parser"
version = "0.1.0"
authors = ["Erich Cordoba <erich.cm@yandex.com>"]

[dependencies]
clap = "2.19.2"


The code

#[macro_use] extern crate clap;

use clap::{Arg, App};

fn main() {
let matches = App::new("myapp")
.version("0.1.0")
.author("Erich Cordoba")
.arg(Arg::with_name("num1")
.short("n")
.long("num1")
.value_name("n")
.help("The first number")
.takes_value(true)
.required(true))
.arg(Arg::with_name("num2")
.short("m")
.long("num2")
.value_name("m")
.help("The second number")
.takes_value(true)
.required(true))
.get_matches();

let n = value_t!(matches.value_of("num1"), i32).unwrap();
let m = value_t!(matches.value_of("num2"), i32).unwrap();

println!("{} + {} = {}", n, m, n + m);
}



The first section enabled the use of clap crate in our program. We tell the compiler that we will use macros from clap and also the Arg and App components will be used.

#[macro_use] extern crate clap;

use clap::{Arg, App};


This section defines the options an arguments.

let matches = App::new("myapp")
.version("0.1.0")
.author("Erich Cordoba")
.arg(Arg::with_name("num1")
.short("n")
.long("num1")
.value_name("n")
.help("The first number")
.takes_value(true)
.required(true))
.arg(Arg::with_name("num2")
.short("m")
.long("num2")
.value_name("m")
.help("The second number")
.takes_value(true)
.required(true))
.get_matches();


This will be used to get help message when run with --help.

At the end the macro value_t! is used to parse the argument as the defined type, in this case i32. value_t! returns a Result type so we’ll need to unwrap it.

And finally we print the result.

let n = value_t!(matches.value_of("num1"), i32).unwrap();
let m = value_t!(matches.value_of("num2"), i32).unwrap();

println!("{} + {} = {}", n, m, n + m);


With this simple example we can get an output like this when the --help is supplied.

myapp 0.1.0
Erich Cordoba
Arithmetic operations between two numbers

USAGE:
cmd_parser --num1 <n> --num2 <m>

FLAGS:
-h, --help       Prints help information
-V, --version    Prints version information

OPTIONS:
-n, --num1 <n>    The first number
-m, --num2 <m>    The second number


And also, if an argument is not supplied the following error will appear.

error: The following required arguments were not provided:
--num1 <n>
--num2 <m>

USAGE:
cmd_parser --num1 <n> --num2 <m>