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Create simple interactive CLIs for Clojure applications.

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The aim of cli4clj is to allow the quick and effortless creation of interactive command line interfaces (CLIs). It is build on top of jline2. Features of cli4clj are:

  • Simple configuration via maps
  • Command line history
    • Default configuration for persistent history (since 1.4.0)
  • Command line editing
  • Tab-completion
    • For command names
    • Hints for selected commands: based on function arguments and custom hints
  • Aliases can be used to define alternative command names, e.g., for shortcuts.
  • Clojure data types, e.g., vector, list, map, etc., can be used as command arguments.
  • Build-in help
  • Customizable, similar to the Clojure REPL
  • Functionality for testing CLIs via unit tests [1], [2]
  • "Embedded CLIs"

On my website I wrote some posts about cli4clj in which you can find more verbose information.


See for a usage example.

The given examples can be run via "lein run", respectively "lein run -- alt" to show the "alternate" scrolling mode.

First, animated gifs show basic interaction and the alternate scrolling mode. Afterwards, a static textual example provides some more details.

Basic Interaction:

Alternate Scrolling Mode Introduction:

Below is an example output that shows running the usage example:

~/r/p/c/cli4clj (master=) lein run
cli# help
add [a]
    Add two values.	 Arguments: [[summand1 summand2]]

divide [d]
    Divide two values.	 Arguments: [[numer denom]]
    The first argument will be divided by the second argument.

help [?]
    Show help.
    Display a help text that lists all available commands including further detailed information about these commands.

quit [q]
    Quit the CLI.
    Terminate and close the command line interface.

test-cmd [h t]
    Test Command
    Prints a test message to stdout.

    Seq to CSV	 Arguments: [[data]]
    E.g.: "to-csv [1 2 3]"

cli# test-cmd
This is a test.
cli# t
This is a test.
cli# add 1 2
cli# ; Example for an error due to wrong number of arguments.
cli# add 1 2 3
Wrong number of args (3) passed to: example/-main/fn--168
cli# ; Example for an error due to exception in function.
cli# divide 1 0
Divide by zero
cli# d 4 2
cli# d 4 3
cli# ; Example to show the use of complexer data types, here, a vector and a list.
cli# to-csv [1 7 0 1]
cli# ; Note that the list is not quoted.
cli# to-csv (1 8 6 4)
cli# ; Examples of tab-completion.
cli# TAB
?        a        add      d        divide   e        exit     h        help     q        quit     t        test     to-csv   
cli# add TAB
Arguments: [[summand1 summand2]]                                      
cli# add 1 2
cli# diTAB
cli# divide TAB
Arguments: [[numer denom]]   Divide two values.                                        
cli# divide 1 3
cli# to-csv TAB
Arguments: [[data]]                                                                                                     
The data argument can be of any Clojure sequence type, e.g., [1 2 3] or (:a :b :c). Note that the list is not quoted.   
cli# to-csv [1 2 3]
cli# q
~/r/p/c/cli4clj (master=) lein run

For examples how the testing functionality can be used please see the test cases in:

API docs can be found at:

Detailed Test Results

Detailed unit test results are avilable at:


Copyright © 2015-2021 cli4clj Contributors

Distributed under the Eclipse Public License either version 1.0 or (at your option) any later version.

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