CLI is simple command line arguments parser. It is designed to be super-lightweight; there are no fancy definitions, configuration or annotations, just pure Java code.

Using CLI is super simple:

    Cli cli = new Cli();

This parser does nothing, as it has yet be configured.

Command line argument can be either option or parameter. Options are prefixed with - and/or --, parameters are not prefixed. They are configured in similar, but slightly different way. Here is how.


A single option can be defined with short and/or a long name. Short name is prefixed with - and one character long. Long name is prefixed with -- and usually contains human-readable words. An option can have either or both names defined. All options are optional.

    cmd -a --helloWorld

This command is defined in CLI like this:

    Cli cli = new Cli();




Now arguments are parsed.


When an option is detected while parsing, it's handler is called. Handler is a simple Consumer of the input argument (more about that later). In above example, each option has been assigned to a different handler. Option handlers consume String values. The content depends on the option. In this example, there is no content as the options are simple flags - they do not carry any value.

Options with arguments

Option may have an argument. For example:

    cmd --downloadFile myfile.txt --encoding=UTF8

In Java:

    Cli cli = new Cli();


        .hasArg("Encoding value")


Handler will receive the argument; in the first case that is myfile.txt and in second is UTF8.


Parameters are defined similarly:

    Cli cli = new Cli();



The major difference between parameter and option is the cardinality: parameter can take 1 or more passed arguments. Any number of them may be required, the rest is optional. In above example we specified parameter with just one argument, that is also required. Because of cardinality, parameters handler accepts array of strings.


The number of required and optional parameters are controlled with optional() and required() methods.

    Cli cli = new Cli();



This parameter takes 2 required arguments and one optional. For example:

    cmd one two        # array with 2 elements
    cmd one two three  # array with 3 elements
    cmd one            # exception

Double dash

Everything after the double dash (--) is consider as a parameter and not an option.

    cmd -a -- -b

This command has one option (a) and one parameter (-b).