Command Options

OpenStackClient commands all have a set of zero or more options unique to the command, however there are of course ways in which these options are common and consistent across all of the commands that include them.

These are the set of guidelines for OSC developers that help keep the interface and commands consistent.

In some cases (like the boolean variables below) we use the same pattern for defining and using options in all situations. The alternative of only using it when necessary leads to errors when copy-n-paste is used for a new command without understanding why or why not that instance is correct.

General Command Options

Boolean Options

Boolean options for any command that sets a resource state, such as ‘enabled’ or ‘public’, shall always have both positive and negative options defined. The names of those options shall either be a naturally occurring pair of words (in English) or a positive option and a negative option with no- prepended (such as in the traditional GNU option usage) like –share and –no-share.

In order to handle those APIs that behave differently when a field is set to None and when the field is not present in a passed argument list or dict, each of the boolean options shall set its own variable to True as part of a mutiually exclusive group, rather than the more common configuration of setting a single destination variable True or False directly. This allows us to detect the situation when neither option is present (both variables will be False) and act accordingly for those APIs where this matters.

This also requires that each of the boolean values be tested in the take_action() method to correctly set (or not) the underlying API field values.


Enable <resource> (default)


Disable <resource>


The parser declaration should look like this:

enable_group = parser.add_mutually_exclusive_group()
    help=_('Enable <resource> (default)'),
    help=_('Disable <resource>'),

An example handler in take_action():

# This leaves 'enabled' undefined if neither option is present
if parsed_args.enable:
    kwargs['enabled'] = True
if parsed_args.disable:
    kwargs['enabled'] = False

Options with Choices

Some options have a specific set of values (or choices) that are valid. These choices may be validated by the CLI. If the underlying API is stable and the list of choices are unlikely to change then the CLI may validate the choices. Otherwise, the CLI must defer validation of the choices to the API. If the option has a default choice then it must be documented.

Having the CLI validate choices will be faster and may provide a better error message for the user if an invalid choice is specified (for example: argument --test: invalid choice: 'choice4' (choose from 'choice1', 'choice2', 'choice3')). The trade-off is that CLI changes are required in order to take advantage of new choices.


An example parser declaration:

    choices=['choice1', 'choice2', 'choice3'],
    help=_('Test type (choice1, choice2 or choice3)'),

List Command Options

Additional Fields

Most list commands only return a subset of the available fields by default. Additional fields are available with the –long option. All list commands should allow –long even if they return all fields by default.


List additional fields in output


The parser declaration should look like this:

    help='List additional fields in output',