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auto_cli is a tool for calling Python functions directly from the command-line, without the need for writing argument parsers. Instead, the argument parser is automatically generated from the annotation of the function, including default arguments and types. When you use auto_cli, you can still use your Python functions from code without any changes. In fact, you can use auto_cli to generate a CLI for functions in a stand-alone script, or for an external library, as long as the functions have type annotations.


auto_cli requires Python 3.6+ and can be installed as follows

$ git clone
$ pip install ./auto_cli

Getting Started

Add a file called to any directory. This file registers all the functions that are available from the command-line. Imagine you wrote a package called weather, containing just a single function with the signature

def get_weather(location: str = "London") -> WeatherReport:

You can add a command-line interface for this function by making your look like

import auto_cli


Register your command-line app with auto_cli, by running the following command from the directory with

$ ac cli register_app --name weather

All auto_cli commands start with ac. When you install auto_cli, the cli app will automatically be registered. The cli app is used for interacting with auto_cli itself. After running the command above, the commands that are registered in are available via ac weather <command>.

Now, you can call your function from the command-line:

$ ac weather get_weather --location Amsterdam
21 degrees celsius. Sunny all day in Amsterdam!

$ ac weather get_weather  # It will use the default value for location
16 degrees celsius. Rainy all day in London!

Instead of giving a string to register_command (which is convenient when the package is installed), you can also give it the function object directly. That will allow you to create a CLI for functions in arbitrary Python scripts. Then your would look like this:

import auto_cli
from weather import get_weather


Alternatively, you could manipulate the PYTHONPATH environment variable to make sure Python can find your function.

ac cli

The following commands are available with ac cli:

apps            Get all registered apps
register_app    Register an app with auto_cli
delete_app      Delete the app

In general, you can figure out which commands are available for an app by running

$ ac <app>

If you want to know how to use a command, you can run it with --help:

$ ac cli register_app --help

Benefits over other CLI packages

  • Write your function once, call it from Python code and the command-line

  • Automatically generate argument parsers, no need to duplicate argument names, default values, documentation and types.

  • Automatically print the result of the function to the console, no need to clutter your code with print or log.

  • Keep your production code free of decorators to describe command-line interfaces.

  • Easily view all the available commands for your app.

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