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1 Introduction

The Genparse package allows the automated creation of command line parsing routines, based on a command line option description file. Given a target language, Genparse outputs a suitable parser. For example, in C, a function is created that reads the command line parameters and stores their values in a data structure. In C++ and Java, a command line parsing class is created, with member functions that return parameter values.

The goal of Genparse is to eliminate the effort required to write a command line parser for every newly-developed program. Typically, these parsers all follow a very similar format, with a series of calls to the getopt () or getopt_long () library functions. Genparse allows users to specify their program’s command line options in a concise text file (hereafter, a "Genparse File"). Genparse reads this file, and produces the appropriate parsing routines in the user’s language of choice. Users may call the parser’s functions from their main code in order to obtain the values of the parameters.

In addition to providing a simple interface to the parameters, Genparse also has the following features:

Currently, we do not believe that Genparse has any significant limitations. It cannot handle dependencies between different options, but the user can write callback function to accomplish this task. A virtually unlimited number of long command line options are available, but only 52 single-character options can be used by a given program.

Mail suggestions and bug reports for Genparse to The latest version of Genparse can always be found at

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