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use Getopt::GUI::Long;
# pass useful config options to Configure
Getopt::GUI::Long::Configure(qw(display_help no_ignore_case capture_output));
["GUI:separator", "Important Flags:"],
["f|some-flag=s", "A flag based on a string"],
["o|other-flag", "A boloean"],
# or use references instead of a hash (less tested, however):
GetOptions(["some-flag=s", "perform some flag based on a value"] => \$flag,
["other-flag=s", "perform some flag based on a value"] => \$other);
# displays auto-help given the input above:
% opttest -h
Usage: opttest [OPTIONS] Other Arguments
Important Flags:
-f STRING A flag based on a string
-o A boloean
Help Options:
-h Display help options -- short flags preferred
--help Display help options -- long flags preferred
--help-full Display all help options -- short and long
# or long help:
% opttest --help
Usage: opttest [OPTIONS] Other Arguments
Important Flags:
--some-flag=STRING A flag based on a string
--other-flag A boloean
Help Options:
-h Display help options -- short flags preferred
--help Display help options -- long flags preferred
--help-full Display all help options -- short and long
# or a GUI screen:
(see )


This module is a wrapper around Getopt::Long that extends the value of
the original Getopt::Long module to:
1) add a simple graphical user interface option screen if no
arguments are passed to the program. Thus, the arguments to
actually use are built based on the results of the user
interface. If arguments were passed to the program, the user
interface is not shown and the program executes as it normally
would and acts just as if Getopt::Long::GetOptions had been
called instead.
2) provide an auto-help mechanism such that -h and --help are
handled automatically. In fact, calling your program with -h
will default to showing the user a list of short-style arguments
when one exists for the option. Similarly --help will show the
user a list of long-style when possible. --help-full will list
all potential arguments for an option (short and long both).
It's designed to make the creation of graphical shells trivial
without the programmer having to think about it much as well as
providing automatic good-looking usage output without the
programmer needing to write usage() functions.
This also can turn normal command line programs into web CGI scripts
as well (automatically). If the Getopt::GUI::Long program is
installed as a CGI script then it will automatically prompt the user
for the same variables.


The Getopt::GUI::Long module can work identically to the Getopt::Long module but really benefits from some slightly different usage conventions described below.

Option format:
Option strings passed should be formatted in one of the following ways:
Empty String

Empty strings are ignored by the non-GUI version of the command, but are treated as vertical separators between questions when displaying the GUI screen.

Standard flag specification string

EG: "some-flag|optional-flag=s"

This is the standard method by which Getopt::Long does things and is merely treated the same way here. In this case, the text presented to the user screen will be the first name in the list ("some-flag") in the above option. The type of wdget displayed with the text will depend on the optional =s/i/whatever flag and will be either a checkbox, entry box, ...

Array Reference

EG: ["some-flag|optional-flag=s", 'Prompt text', OTHER],

The values passed in this array are as follows:
0: Standard flag specification string

Same as always, and as above.

1: Prompt text about flag

The help text that should be shown to the user in the graphical interface. In the example above rather than "some-flag" being shown, "Prompt text" will be shown next to the widget instead.

If the prompt text is equal to "!GUI" then this option will not be displayed (automatically at least) within the GUI.

2...: OTHER options

Beyond the name and description, key value pairs can indicate more about how the option should be handled.
required => 1

Forces a screen option to be filled out by the user.

question => { QUESTION FORM }
question => [{ QUESTION1 }, { QUESTION2 }, ...]

These allows you to build custom QWizard widgets to meet a particular question need. It’s highly useful for doing menus and single choice fields that normally command line options don’t handle well. For example consider a numeric priority level between 0 and 10. The following question definition will give them a menu rather than a fill in the blank field:

['priority=i','Priority Level',
question => { type => 'menu', values => [1..10] }]

Note you can specify multiple question widgets if needed as well, though this will probably be rare in usage.

QWizard question tokens

Any of the following items can be passed as well, which will be added to the QWizard question structure. See the QWizard documantion on " QUESTION DEFINITIONS" for details on the usage of these.

(Warning: Replaces the text already extracted from the prompt text described above).


(Warning: Replaces the option name extracted from the position 0 standard flag specification string above. Do not use this unless you really know what you’re doing.)

[others TBD ]

Special Flag Names

Flags that start with GUI: are not passed to the normal Getopt::Long routines and are instead for internal GUI digestion only. If the GUI screen is going to be displayed (remember: only if the user didn’t specify any options), these extra options control how the GUI behaves.

Some of these options requires some knowledge of the QWizard programming system. Knowledge of QWizard should only be required if you want to make use of those particular extra features.

EG: ['GUI:guionly', { type => 'checkbox', name => 'myguiflag'}]

Specifies a valid QWizard question(s) to only be shown when the gui is displayed, and the specification is ignored during normal command line usage.


EG: ['GUI:separator', 'Task specific options:']

Inserts a label above a set of options to identify them as a group.


EG: ['GUI:screen', 'Next Screen Title', ...]

Specifies that a break in the option requests should occur and the remaining options should appear on another screen(s). This allows applications with a lot of options to reduce the complexity it offers users and offers a more "wizard" like approach to helping them decide what they’re trying to do.

You can also make this next screen definition conditional by defining an earlier option that may be, say, a boolean flag called "feature_flag". Using this you can then only go into the next screen if the "feature_flag" was set by doing the following:

'turn on a special feature needing more options'],
['GUI:screen', 'Next Screen Title', doif => 'feature-flag']
['feature-arg1', 'extra argument #1 for special feature'],

Also, if you need to do more complex calculations use the qwparam() function of the passed in QWizard object in a subroutine reference instead:

['feature1','Turn on feature #1"],
['feature2','Turn on feature #2"],
['GUI:screen', 'Next Screen Title',
doif => sub {
return ($_[1]->qwparam('feature1') && $_[1]->qwparam('feature2'));


EG: ['GUI:otherargs', 'Files to process:']

Normally the GUI screen shows a "Other Arguments:" option at the bottom of the main GUI screen to allow users to entry additional flags (needed for file names, etc, and other non-option arguments to be passed). However, since it doesn’t know what these arguments should be it can only provide a generic "Other Arguments:" description. This setting lets you change that text to something specific to what your application experts, such as "Files:" or " HTML Files:" or something that helps the user understand what is expected of them.

If you want to self-handle the argument prompting using other QWizard constructs, then use the nootherargs token described below instead.


EG: ['GUI:nootherargs', 1]

Normally the GUI screen shows a "Other Arguments:", or programmer described text as described above, option at the bottom of the main GUI screen. If you’re going to handle the additional arguments yourself in some way (using either some GUI:guionly or (GUI:otherprimaries and GUI:submodules) flags), then you should specify this so the other arguments field is not shown. You’re expected, in your self-handling code, to set the __otherargs QWizard parameter to the final arguments that should be passed on.


EG: ['GUI:nosavebutton', 1]

Normally the GUI screen offers a "save" menu that lets users save their current screen settings for future calls. Using this setting turns off this behavior so the button isn’t shown.


EG: ['GUI:otherprimaries', primaryname =>
{ title => '...', questions => [...] }]

Defines other primaries to be added to the QWizard primary set.


EG: ['GUI:submodules', 'primaryname']

Defines a list of other primaries that should be called after the initial one.


EG: ['GUI:post_answers', sub { do_something(); }]

Defines an option for QWizard post_answers subroutines to run.


EG: ['GUI:actions', sub { do_something(); }]

Defines an option for QWizard actions subroutines to run.


EG: ['GUI:hook_finished', sub { do_something(); }]

Defines subroutine(s) to be called after the GUI has completely finished.


EG: ['GUI:run_button', 'My Run Button']

Defines the text to use for the final "Run" button (which normally just says "Run").


If display_help is defined, and the above token is specified Getopt::GUI::Long takes over the output for --version output as well.

EG: ['GUI:VERSION','0.9']

Produces the --version help option:

Help Options:
-h Display help options -- short flags preferred
--help Display help options -- long flags preferred
--help-full Display all help options -- short and long
--version Display the version number

And also auto-handles the --version switch:

% PROGRAM --version
Version: 0.9


If you call Getopt::GUI::Long’s Configure routine, it will accept a number of configure tokens and will pass the remaining ones to the Getopt::Long Configure routine. The tokens that it recognizes itself are described below:

The Getopt::GUI::Long package will auto-display help messages based on the text included in the GetOptions call. No more writing those silly usage() functions!

Note that this differs from the Getopt::Long’s implementation of the auto_help token in that the information is pulled from the extended GetOptions called instead of the pod documentation.

The display_help token will automatically add the following options to the options the application will accept, and will catch and process them as well.


Command line help preferring short options if present in the help specification.


Command line help preferring long options if present in the help specification.


Shows all available option names for a given option


If the default GUI is not showing up because no_gui has been specified, a sure can still call the application with only the --gui flag to make it appear.


If the no_gui option hasn’t been set and the user doesn’t want to see the GUI then they can use the --no-gui flag as the only argument to ensure it doesn’t appear.


This tells the Getopt::GUI::Long module that it should caputure the resulting STDOUT and STDERR results from the script and display the results in a window once the script has finished.


This option defaults to not presenting a GUI form for the user to fill out unless they specify --gui as the first and only argument on the command line.


By default the GUI will always pop up if zero-arguments have been specified (or the help info will be displayed if no_gui is set). This options specifies that zero arguments is a normal usage case. Thus the only way to force the GUI or help to appear will be the command line --gui flag.

Using the QWizard object for other purposes

The Getopt::GUI::Long qwizard object is stored at $Getopt::GUI::Long::GUI_qw, which is usable for other GUI screens you may need to create after the options screens have been processed. You can also use it during the script to optionally display a progress meter by making use of the QWizard::set_progress function. However, you should test to see if the GUI screen mode was actually used before operating with the object though. As an example:

if ($Getopt::GUI::Long::GUI_qw);


If programs desire to not require this module, the following code snippit can be used instead which will not fail even if this module is not available. To be used this way, the LocalGetOptions and LocalOptionsMap functions should be copied to your perl script.

["h|help", "Show help for command line options"],
["some-flag=s", "perform some flag based on a value"]);
sub LocalGetOptions {
if (eval {require Getopt::GUI::Long;}) {
import Getopt::GUI::Long;
# optional configure call
Getopt::GUI::Long::Configure(qw(display_help no_ignore_case capture_output));
return GetOptions(@_);
require Getopt::Long;
import Getopt::Long;
# optional configure call
Getopt::Long::Configure(qw(auto_help no_ignore_case));
sub LocalOptionsMap {
my ($st, $cb, @opts) = ((ref($_[0]) eq 'HASH')
? (1, 1, $_[0]) : (0, 2));
for (my $i = $st; $i <= $#_; $i += $cb) {
if ($_[$i]) {
next if (ref($_[$i]) eq 'ARRAY' && $_[$i][0] =~ /^GUI:/);
push @opts, ((ref($_[$i]) eq 'ARRAY') ? $_[$i][0] : $_[$i]);
push @opts, $_[$i+1] if ($cb == 2);
return @opts;

Forcing a Particular Generator
There a times where you may want to force a particular generator to be used. This can be accomplished by setting the QWIZARD_GENERATOR environmental variable. this can actually be done in code within something like LocalGetOptions function as well:

sub LocalGetOptions {
# force the library by using $ENV{'QWIZARD_GENERATOR'}
# if Gtk2, Tk, HTML or Readline generators are required, set the
# QWIZARD_GENERATOR ENV variable either externally or in this
# script Example: Force QWizard to use Tk instead of the
# preferred default of Gtk2 like this:
# ... conitune with the rest of the LocalGetOptions shown above

Usage as a CGI Script

If a Getopt::GUI::Long script is installed as a CGI script, then the Getopt::GUI::Long system will automatically create a web front end for the perl script. It will present the user with all the normal arguments that it would normally to a Gtk2 or other windowing system.

It will not present the box for generic additional arguments since this is not safe to do. If you trust your users (ie, you have an authentication system in place) then you can set the allowcgiargs GUI variable to make this box appear. Example invocation (not generally recommended):


It also allows you to not present certain options to web users that you will to command line users (some options may not be safe for CGI use). You can do this by setting the nocgi variable in option definitions you wish to disallow via CGI. E.G., if you had an option to specify a location where to load configuration a file from, this would likely be unsafe to publish in a CGI script. So remove it:

["c|config-file","Load a specific configuration file", nocgi => 1]


See the getopttest program in the examples directory for an exmaple script that uses a lot of these features.


Wes Hardaker, hardaker AT users DOT sourceforge DOT net


Copyright (c) 2006-2009, SPARTA, Inc. All rights reserved

Copyright (c) 2006-2007, Wes Hardaker. All rights reserved

Getopt::GUI::Long is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.



modules: QWizard


This module was originally named Getopt::Long::GUI but the Getopt::Long author wanted to reserve the Getopt::Long namespace entirely for himself and thus it’s been recently renamed to Getopt::GUI::Long instead. The class tree isn’t as clean this way, as this module still inherits from Getopt::Long but it everything still works of course.