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'\"
'\" Generated from file 'cmdr_flow\&.man' by tcllib/doctools with format 'nroff'
'\" Copyright (c) 2013-2016 Andreas Kupries
'\" Copyright (c) 2013-2016 Documentation, Andreas Kupries
'\"
.TH "cmdr-spec-flow" n 1\&.2 doc "Cmdr, a framework for command line parsing and dispatch"
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.BS
.SH NAME
cmdr-spec-flow \- Cmdr - Runtime Processing Flow
.SH DESCRIPTION
.PP
Welcome to the Cmdr project, written by Andreas Kupries\&.
.PP
For availability please read \fICmdr - How To Get The Sources\fR\&.
.PP
This document is for users of the cmdr framework\&.
If you have not read \fICmdr - Introduction to the Specification Language\fR and the related documents
yet, please do so\&.
The explanations how the framework processes a command line at runtime
guided by a specified command hierarchy presuppose knowledge of
command-hierarchy specifications\&.
.PP
A command line is processed in four distinct phases, namely
\fBDispatch\fR, \fBParsing\fR, \fBCompletion\fR, and
\fBExecution\fR\&. Each is explained in more detail in the
referenced sections\&.
.SH "RELATED SPECIFICATION DOCUMENTS"
.IP [1]
\fICmdr - Introduction to the Specification Language\fR
.IP [2]
\fICmdr - Officer Specification Language\fR
.IP [3]
\fICmdr - Private Specification Language\fR
.IP [4]
\fICmdr - Parameter Specification Language\fR
.IP [5]
\fICmdr - Runtime Processing Flow\fR
.PP
.SH DISPATCH
.PP
The first phase determines the \fBcmdr::private\fR instance
to use\&.  To this end it processes words from the command line and uses
them to navigate the tree of \fBcmdr::officer\fR instances until a
\fIprivate\fR is reached\&.
.PP
Each word of the command line is treated as the name of the
\fBcmdr::officer\fR instance to descend into\&.
An error will be thrown when encountering a name for which there is no
known actor (officer or private), and the current \fIofficer\fR has
no \fIdefault\fR declared for it\&.
.PP
On the converse, when reaching the end of the command line but
not reaching a \fIprivate\fR the framework will not throw an
error\&. It will start an interactive command line shell instead\&. This
\fImain shell\fR provides access to exactly the commands of the
\fBcmdr::officer\fR instance which was reached, plus two
pseudo-commands to either exit this shell or gain help\&.
.PP
Execution of the command tree specification, i\&.e\&. the
generation of the in-memory command tree and the actor instances bound
in it, is intertwined with this descent through the command tree\&.
I\&.e\&. instead of processing the entire specification immediately in
full it is lazily unfolded on demand, ignoring all parts which are not
needed\&.
Note that the generated data structures are not destroyed after
\fBExecution\fR, but kept, avoiding the need to re-parse the parts
of the specification already used at least once when an interactive
command line shell is active\&.
.SH PARSING
.PP
This is the most complex phase internally, as it has to assign
the left-over words to the parameters of the chosen
\fBcmdr::private\fR instance, taking into account the kind of
parameters, their requiredness, listness, and other attributes\&.
.PP
Generally processing the words from left to right
\fIoptions\fR are detected in all positions, through their flags
(primary, aliases, and all unique prefixes), followed by their
(string) value to assign\&.
.PP
When a word cannot be the flag for an option the positional
\fIinputs\fR are considered, in order of their declarations\&.
For a mandatory \fIinput\fR the word is simply assigned as its string
value and processing continues with the next word, and the next
\fIinput\fR, if any\&.
Operation becomes more complex when the \fIinput\fR under
consideration is \fIoptional\fR\&.
Now it is necessary to truly decide if the word should be assigned to
this \fIinput\fR or the following\&.
.PP
The standard method for this decision is to count words and
compare to the count of mandatory \fIinputs\fR left\&.
If there are more words available than required to satisfy all
mandatory \fIinputs\fR, then we can and do assign the current word to
the optional input\&.
Otherwise the current \fIinput\fR is skipped and we consider the
next\&.
A set of condensed examples can be found in section
\fBExample for Handling optional Inputs by Threshold\fR\&.
They demonstrate how a various numbers of argument words are assigned
to a specific set of \fIinputs\fR, \fIoptional\fR and non\&.
This is called the \fIthreshold\fR algorithm\&.
.PP
The non-triviality in the above description is in the phrase to
\fIcount words\fR\&.
We cannot simply count all words left on the command line\&.
To get a proper count we have discard/ignore all words belonging to
options\&.
At this point the processor essentially works ahead, processing and
removing all flags/options and their arguments from the command line
before performing the comparison and making its decision\&.
.PP
The whole behaviour however can be changed via \fBtest\fR
(See section \fIGeneral control\fR of \fICmdr - Parameter Specification Language\fR)\&.
Instead of counting words the current word is run through the
validation type of the current \fIinput\fR\&.
On acceptance the value is assigned to it, otherwise that \fIinput\fR
is skipped and the next one put under consideration\&.
.PP
After all of the above the system will process any options
found after the last word assigned to the last \fIinput\fR to
consider\&.
.PP
Errors are thrown if we either find more words than
\fIinputs\fR to assign to, or encounter an unknown option flag\&.
Note that not having enough words for all required \fIinputs\fR is
not an error unless the framework is not allowed to start an
interactive shell\&.
In this \fImini shell\fR all parameters are mapped to shell
commands taking a single argument, the string value of parameter to
assign\&.
Additional five pseudo commands are available to either abort, or
commit to the action, or gain help (\fB\&.ok\fR, \fB\&.run\fR, \fB\&.exit\fR, \fB\&.cancel\fR, and \fB\&.help\fR)\&.
.PP
Parameters marked as \fIlist\fR-valued also trigger special
behaviours\&.
For \fIoptions\fR the assigned values get accumulated instead of each
new value overwriting the last\&.
For \fIinputs\fR only one such parameter can exist, and will be the
last of the \fIprivate\fR\&.
The processor now takes all remaining words and assign them to this
parameter\&.
If the list is also optional then options may be processed ahead or
not, depending on the chosen decision mode, as described for regular
inputs above\&.
.PP
Then are the \fIboolean\fR and \fIpresence\fR \fIoptions\fR
modifying the handling of flags and flag arguments\&.
The details of this were already explained in section
\fIValidation\fR of \fICmdr - Parameter Specification Language\fR\&.
.SS "EXAMPLE FOR HANDLING OPTIONAL INPUTS BY THRESHOLD"
The examples in this section demonstrate how the \fIthreshold\fR
algorithm assigns a various number of argument words to a specific set
of \fIinputs\fR, \fIoptional\fR and non\&.
.PP
.CS


 Parameter    | A? | B | C? | D? | E
 #Required    |   2|   |   1|   1|
--------------+----+---+----+----+----
 2 arguments: |    | a |    |    | b
 3 arguments: | a  | b |    |    | c
 4 arguments: | a  | b | c  |    | d
 5 arguments: | a  | b | c  | d  | e

.CE
.SH COMPLETION
.PP
This phase is reached when all words of the command line have
been processed and no error was thrown by the preceding phases\&.
At this point we know the \fBcmdr::private\fR instance to use, and
its parameters may have a string representation\&.
.PP
All \fIimmediate\fR-mode parameters are now given their
internal representation\&.
The parameters marked as \fIdefered\fR are ignored here and will get
theirs on first access by the backend\&.
.PP
This completion of parameters is done in their order of
declaration within the enclosing \fIprivate\fR command\&.
Note that when parameters have dependencies between them, i\&.e\&. the
calculation of their internal representation requires the internal
representation of another parameter, then this order may be violated
as the requesting parameter triggers completion in the requested one
on access\&.
If this is behaviour not wanted then it is the responsibility of the
user specifying the \fIprivate\fR to place the parameters into an
order where all parameters access only previously completed parameters
during their own completion\&.
.SH EXECUTION
.PP
The last phase is also the most simple\&.
.PP
It only invokes the Tcl command prefix associated with the
chosen \fBcmdr::private\fR instance, providing it with the
\fBcmdr::config\fR instance holding the parameter information
extracted from the command line as its single argument\&.
.PP
For an example of very simple action implementations see
section \fISimple backend\fR of \fICmdr - Introduction to the Specification Language\fR\&.
.PP
All parameters declared for a \fIprivate\fR are made
accessible through individual methods associated with each\&.
As example, a parameter with system name \fBP\fR is mapped to the
method \[email protected]\fR, with all instance methods provided by the
\fBcmdr::parameter\fR class accessible as sub-methods\&.
This general access to all methods may be removed in the future,
restricting actions and callbacks to a safe subset\&.
.PP
Another place providing information to actions is the root and
other actors of the command hierarchy itself, via \fBcommon\fR blocks
whose value is managed by the system\&. Currently we have
.TP
\fB*in-shell*\fR
This block is read-only, and only found in the root actor\&.
Its value is managed by the framework\&.
It is a boolean flag indicating if an interactive shell is currently
active (\fBtrue\fR) or not (\fBfalse\fR)\&.
This can be used to modulate command messages and other
context-dependent things\&.
.sp
\fINote\fR that the block will not exist until after the first
shell was active\&. This means that a missing \fB*in-shell*\fR block
should be treated like \fBfalse\fR\&.
.TP
\fB*config*\fR
This block is read-only, and only found in the root actor\&.
Its value is managed by the framework, specifically by privates\&.
.sp
It is a command name, i\&.e\&. object handle, to the active
instance of \fBcmdr::config\fR\&. For regular parameters that is the
same handle given to them in their various callbacks\&. For a global
parameter however the active config object is what the parameter is
currently used by, whereas the callback argument is where it was
defined in and inherited from\&.
.sp
This distinction is important when the global parameter has to
look at and work with non-global parameters of the active
private\&. These can only be found in the active context\&.
.TP
\fB*prefix*\fR
This block is read-only and found in the private actor for the
currently executing action command prefix, accessible through the
\fBcmdr::config\fR instance method \fBcontext\fR\&.
Its value is managed by the framework\&.
It is a list of the command names used to reach the \fIprivate\fR
instance\&.
This is not the logical path in the command hierarchy, but the actual
path taken, which may be through aliases\&.
.PP
.PP
Calling \[email protected]\fR without arguments is a shorthand for
calling ``@P value'', i\&.e\&. the retrieval of the parameter's internal
representation\&. Which may calculate the value if the call is the first
access and the parameter specified as \fIdefered\fR\&.
.SH "RELATED DOCUMENTS"
.IP [1]
\fICmdr - Introduction to the project\fR
.IP [2]
\fICmdr - License\fR
.IP [3]
\fICmdr - Log of Changes\fR
.IP [4]
\fICmdr - How To Get The Sources\fR
.IP [5]
\fICmdr - The Installer's Guide\fR
.IP [6]
\fICmdr - The Developer's Guide\fR
.PP
.SH "BUGS, IDEAS, FEEDBACK"
Both the package(s) and this documentation will undoubtedly contain
bugs and other problems\&.
Please report such at
\fICmdr Tickets\fR [https:/core\&.tcl\&.tk/akupries/cmdr]\&.
.PP
Please also report any ideas you may have for enhancements of
either package(s) and/or documentation\&.
.SH KEYWORDS
arguments, command hierarchy, command line completion, command line handling, command tree, editing command line, help for command line, hierarchy of commands, interactive command shell, optional arguments, options, parameters, processing command line, tree of commands
.SH COPYRIGHT
.nf
Copyright (c) 2013-2016 Andreas Kupries
Copyright (c) 2013-2016 Documentation, Andreas Kupries

.fi