package cmdliner

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Class type

Man page specification.

Man page generation is automatically handled by Cmdliner, consult the details.

The block type is used to define a man page's content. It's a good idea to follow the standard manual page structure.


Man pages

type block = [
  1. | `S of string
  2. | `P of string
  3. | `Pre of string
  4. | `I of string * string
  5. | `Noblank
  6. | `Blocks of block list

The type for a block of man page text.

  • `S s introduces a new section s, see the standard section names.
  • `P t is a new paragraph with text t.
  • `Pre t is a new preformatted paragraph with text t.
  • `I (l,t) is an indented paragraph with label l and text t.
  • `Noblank suppresses the blank line introduced between two blocks.
  • `Blocks bs splices the blocks bs.

Except in `Pre, whitespace and newlines are not significant and are all collapsed to a single space. All block strings support the documentation markup language.

val escape : string -> string

escape s escapes s so that it doesn't get interpreted by the documentation markup language.

type title = string * int * string * string * string

The type for man page titles. Describes the man page title, section, center_footer, left_footer, center_header.

type t = title * block list

The type for a man page. A title and the page text as a list of blocks.

type xref = [
  1. | `Main
  2. | `Cmd of string
  3. | `Tool of string
  4. | `Page of string * int

The type for man page cross-references.

  • `Main refers to the man page of the program itself.
  • `Cmd cmd refers to the man page of the program's cmd command (which must exist).
  • `Tool bin refers to the command line tool named bin.
  • `Page (name, sec) refers to the man page name(sec).

Standard section names and content

The following are standard man page section names, roughly ordered in the order they conventionally appear. See also man man-pages for more elaborations about what sections should contain.

val s_name : string

The NAME section. This section is automatically created by Cmdliner for your.

val s_synopsis : string

The SYNOPSIS section. By default this section is automatically created by Cmdliner for you, unless it is the first section of your term's man page, in which case it will replace it with yours.

val s_description : string

The DESCRIPTION section. This should be a description of what the tool does and provide a little bit of usage and documentation guidance.

val s_commands : string

The COMMANDS section. By default subcommands get listed here.

val s_arguments : string

The ARGUMENTS section. By default positional arguments get listed here.

val s_options : string

The OPTIONS section. By default options and flag arguments get listed here.

val s_common_options : string

The COMMON OPTIONS section. For programs with multiple commands a section that can be used to gather options common to all commands.

val s_exit_status : string

The EXIT STATUS section. By default term status exit codes get listed here.

val s_environment : string

The ENVIRONMENT section. By default environment variables get listed here.

val s_environment_intro : block

s_environment_intro is the introduction content used by cmdliner when it creates the s_environment section.

val s_files : string

The FILES section.

val s_bugs : string

The BUGS section.

val s_examples : string

The EXAMPLES section.

val s_authors : string

The AUTHORS section.

val s_see_also : string

The SEE ALSO section.


The print function can be useful if the client wants to define other man pages (e.g. to implement a help command).

type format = [
  1. | `Auto
  2. | `Pager
  3. | `Plain
  4. | `Groff

The type for man page output specification.

  • `Auto, formats like `Pager or `Plain whenever the TERM environment variable is dumb or unset.
  • `Pager, tries to write to a discovered pager, if that fails uses the `Plain format.
  • `Plain, formats to plain text.
  • `Groff, formats to groff commands.
val print : ?errs:Stdlib.Format.formatter -> ?subst:(string -> string option) -> format -> Stdlib.Format.formatter -> t -> unit

print ~errs ~subst fmt ppf page prints page on ppf in the format fmt. subst can be used to perform variable substitution,(defaults to the identity). errs is used to print formatting errors, it defaults to Format.err_formatter.


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