I like Symfony’s console component, and use it for much of my command line scripting these days. One thing I dislike is that it takes use of some short option characters for itself. The built in handling of verbosity with -v is nice and is fairly common in the CLI world, but some, like -h and -n, are more varied in use and would be desirable to have for various purposes in my own commands. I decided to remove these defaults in my own console app recently, and will describe how to do so.
This passed weekend, I released a github project called sy-console. It is a starting point for building command line applications that takes the symfony console component and adds symfony’s dependency injection, configuration handling, plus some other niceties like automatically adding commands from configured directories. If you don’t want those features, you can use the console component directly, but if you do, this takes some of the pain out of setting those up.
I spend a fair amount of time doing things on the command line. I’ve made plenty of command line scripts, mostly in bash. Bash is kind of a pain to work with for anything beyond simple command running scripts. The control structures are a bit limited and have a hard to remember syntax. Data structures are very limited. There’s no such thing as object orientation. Working with Symfony, I really liked the console component, how easy it was to add commands to app/console, how easy it was to work with arguments, how configuration and services were shared between commands, how it was PHP. I’ve been wanting to use the component for standalone CLI apps for a while now, but was struggling to find how to make it work independently from a full blown Symfony Standard Edition install. I finally found enough resources to get me started and had the requisite free time.