CLI Library

CodeIgniter’s CLI library makes creating interactive command-line scripts simple, including:

  • Prompting the user for more information
  • Writing multi-colored text the terminal
  • Beeping (be nice!)
  • Showing progress bars during long tasks
  • Wrapping long text lines to fit the window.

Initializing the Class

You do not need to create an instance of the CLI library, since all of it’s methods are static. Instead, you simply need to ensure your controller can locate it via a use statement above your class:

<?php
use \CodeIgniter\CLI\CLI;

class MyController extends \CodeIgniter\Controller
{
        . . .
}

The class is automatically initialized when the file is loaded the first time.

Getting Input from the User

Sometimes you need to ask the user for more information. They might not have provided optional command-line arguments, or the script may have encountered an existing file and needs confirmation before overwriting. This is handled with the prompt() method.

The most basic use case is to simply wait for the user to press a key:

// Wait for the user to press any key...
CLI::prompt();

You can get a little more specific and provide a question for them to answer by passing the question in as the first parameter:

$color = CLI::prompt('What is your favorite color?');

You can provide a default answer that will be used if the user just hits enter by passing the default in the second parameter:

$color = CLI::prompt('What is your favorite color?', 'blue');

Finally, you can restrict the acceptable answers by passing in an array of allowed answers as the second parameter:

$overwrite = CLI::prompt('File exists. Overwrite?', ['y','n']);

Providing Feedback

write()

Several methods are provided for you to provide feedback to your users. This can be as simple as a single status update or a complex table of information that wraps to the user’s terminal window. At the core of this is the write() method which takes the string to output as the first parameter:

CLI::write('The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plains.');

You can change the color of the text by passing in a color name as the first parameter:

CLI::write('File created.', 'green');

This could be used to differentiate messages by status, or create ‘headers’ by using a different color. You can even set background colors by passing the color name in as the third parameter:

CLI::write('File overwritten.', 'light_red', 'dark_gray');

The following colors are available:

  • black
  • dark_gray
  • blue
  • dark_blue
  • light_blue
  • green
  • light_green
  • cyan
  • light_cyan
  • red
  • light_red
  • purple
  • light_purple
  • light_yellow
  • yellow
  • light_gray
  • white

color()

While the write() command will write a single line to the terminal, ending it with a EOL character, you can use the color() method to make a string fragment that can be used in the same way, except that it will not force an EOL after printing. This allows you to create multiple outputs on the same row. Or, more commonly, you can use it inside of a write() method to create a string of a different color inside:

CLI::write("fileA \t". CLI::color('/path/to/file', 'white'), 'yellow');

This example would write a single line to the window, with fileA in yellow, followed by a tab, and then /path/to/file in white text.

error()

If you need to output errors, you should use the appropriately named error() method. This writes light-red text to STDERR, instead of STDOUT, like write() and color() do. This can be useful if you have scripts watching for errors so they don’t have to sift through all of the information, only the actual error messages. You use it exactly as you would the write() method:

CLI::error('Cannot write to file: '. $file);

wrap()

This command will take a string, start printing it on the current line, and wrap it to a set length on new lines. This might be useful when displaying a list of options with descriptions that you want to wrap in the current window and not go off screen:

CLI::color("task1\t", 'yellow');
CLI::wrap("Some long description goes here that might be longer than the current window.");

By default the string will wrap at the terminal width. Windows currently doesn’t provide a way to determine the window size, so we default to 80 characters. If you want to restrict the width to something shorter that you can be pretty sure fits within the window, pass the maximum line-length as the second parameter. This will break the string at the nearest word barrier so that words are not broken.

// Wrap the text at max 20 characters wide
CLI::wrap($description, 20);

You may find that you want a column on the left of titles, files, or tasks, while you want a column of text on the right with their descriptions. By default, this will wrap back to the left edge of the window, which doesn’t allow things to line up in columns. In cases like this, you can pass in a number of spaces to pad every line after the first line, so that you will have a crisp column edge on the left.

// Determine the maximum length of all titles
// to determine the width of the left column
$maxlen = max(array_map('strlen', $titles));

for ($i=0; $i <= count($titles); $i++)
{
        CLI::write(
                // Display the title on the left of the row
                $title[$i].'   '.
                // Wrap the descriptions in a right-hand column
                // with its left side 3 characters wider than
                // the longest item on the left.
                CLI::wrap($descriptions[$i], 40, $maxlen+3)
        );
}

// Would create something like this:
task1a     Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy
           text of the printing and typesetting
           industry.
task1abc   Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's
           standard dummy text ever since the

newLine()

The newLine() method displays a blank line to the user. It does not take any parameters:

CLI::newLine();

clearScreen()

You can clear the current terminal window with the clearScreen() method. In most versions of Windows, this will simply insert 40 blank lines since Windows doesn’t support this feature. Windows 10 bash integration should change this:

CLI::clearScreen();

showProgress()

If you have a long-running task that you would like to keep the user updated with the progress, you can use the showProgress() method which displays something like the following:

[####......] 40% Complete

This block is animated in place for a very nice effect.

To use it, pass in the current step as the first parameter, and the total number of steps as the second parameter. The percent complete and the length of the display will be determined based on that number. When you are done, pass false as the first parameter and the progress bar will be removed.

$totalSteps = count($tasks);
$currStep = 1;

foreach ($tasks as $task)
{
        CLI::showProgress($currStep++, $totalSteps);
        $task->run();
}

// Done, so erase it...
CLI::showProgress(false);