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The GNU C Library

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25.2.2 Example of Parsing Arguments with getopt

Here is an example showing how getopt is typically used. The key points to notice are:

 
#include <unistd.h>
#include <stdio.h>

int 
main (int argc, char **argv)
{
  int aflag = 0;
  int bflag = 0;
  char *cvalue = NULL;
  int index;
  int c;

  opterr = 0;

  while ((c = getopt (argc, argv, "abc:")) != -1)
    switch (c)
      {
      case 'a':
        aflag = 1;
        break;
      case 'b':
        bflag = 1;
        break;
      case 'c':
        cvalue = optarg;
        break;
      case '?':
        if (isprint (optopt))
          fprintf (stderr, "Unknown option `-%c'.\n", optopt);
        else
          fprintf (stderr,
                   "Unknown option character `\\x%x'.\n",
                   optopt);
        return 1;
      default:
        abort ();
      }

  printf ("aflag = %d, bflag = %d, cvalue = %s\n",
          aflag, bflag, cvalue);

  for (index = optind; index < argc; index++)
    printf ("Non-option argument %s\n", argv[index]);
  return 0;
}

Here are some examples showing what this program prints with different combinations of arguments:

 
% testopt
aflag = 0, bflag = 0, cvalue = (null)

% testopt -a -b
aflag = 1, bflag = 1, cvalue = (null)

% testopt -ab
aflag = 1, bflag = 1, cvalue = (null)

% testopt -c foo
aflag = 0, bflag = 0, cvalue = foo

% testopt -cfoo
aflag = 0, bflag = 0, cvalue = foo

% testopt arg1
aflag = 0, bflag = 0, cvalue = (null)
Non-option argument arg1

% testopt -a arg1
aflag = 1, bflag = 0, cvalue = (null)
Non-option argument arg1

% testopt -c foo arg1
aflag = 0, bflag = 0, cvalue = foo
Non-option argument arg1

% testopt -a -- -b
aflag = 1, bflag = 0, cvalue = (null)
Non-option argument -b

% testopt -a -
aflag = 1, bflag = 0, cvalue = (null)
Non-option argument -


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