[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2013-07-08 Thread paul j3

paul j3 added the comment:

In the patch I just posted to http://bugs.python.org/issue16468 I address this 
long list issue in several ways:

In the Usage line, the metavar gives the user an alternative

In the expanded help line the user can just omit the '%(choices)s' 

In _check_value(), I implemented a numpy like summarize format for choice lists 
longer than 15   '{1,2,3,...,18,19}'.

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2013-06-29 Thread paul j3

Changes by paul j3 ajipa...@gmail.com:


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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-14 Thread Chris Jerdonek

Chris Jerdonek added the comment:

To simplify the discussion and for issue resolution purposes, I propose that 
the discussion about large choices containers be divided into separate 
discussions for (1) changes that should be applied to all maintenance releases 
(i.e. bug fix changes), and (2) changes that should be applied only to the 
in-development branch (i.e. enhancements).

I propose that the current issue be used for the former.  3.4-only enhancements 
can be dealt with as part of a separate issue.

I also created issue 16468 for the bug that Terry observed above that 
ArgumentParser does not in general support choices values that support the 
in operator.  That issue exists and can be resolved independent of whether 
the choices collection is large.

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-14 Thread Chris Jerdonek

Chris Jerdonek added the comment:

 (1) changes that should be applied to all maintenance releases (i.e. bug fix 
 changes)

This should instead read, (1) changes that should be applied to all 
maintenance releases (e.g. bug fix and/or documentation changes).

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-14 Thread Chris Jerdonek

Chris Jerdonek added the comment:

 The code could simply use the str or repr of the choice object

It seems to me that this would result in less user-friendly behavior in many 
cases.  It would also require the end-user to understand Python (e.g. xrange 
and dictionaries), which I don't think should be necessary for the user of a 
command-line script.

For example, in Python 2.7 the containers xrange(5, 10), xrange(2, 10, 2), and 
{1: foo, 2: bar} currently yield the following user-friendly messages for 
choice 0:

invalid choice: 0 (choose from 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
invalid choice: 0 (choose from 2, 4, 6, 8)
invalid choice: 0 (choose from 1, 2)

With the proposed change, these messages would be as follows, which seem 
unnecessarily obfuscated:

invalid choice: 0 (choose from xrange(5, 10))
invalid choice: 0 (choose from xrange(2, 10, 2))
invalid choice: 0 (choose from {1: 'foo', 2: 'bar'})

Thus, I think the proposal above would be a regression if applied.  I think any 
changes to maintenance releases should preserve the current user-friendly 
messages (when those messages are user-friendly, e.g. when the containers are 
small).

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-14 Thread R. David Murray

R. David Murray added the comment:

I agree with Chris that using the repr in the general case would be a 
regression in usability for the end user (and certainly not suitable for a 
maintenance release).

Here is some brainstorming:

We could special case this via duck typing.  If the object that represents 
the choices has 'start' and 'stop' attributes, use those to generate a message. 
 (from {start} up to but not including {stop}). [*] If it doesn't, or it also 
has a 'step' that is not 1, check the len, generate the list if it is less 
than, say, 50, and if it is more give up and use the repr.

If there is no len, do the expansion (which is what happens now) and throw it 
away in favor of the repr if there are more than 50 elements.

If there is no iter, use the repr.

Then as an enhancement we can also look for a special attribute 
(values_description?) that gives the entire text to use in the parenthesis in 
the help phrase to provide a way to customize the help text in 3.4+.

[*] Or, at the risk of being too clever, if there is a 'step' use the message 
above and if there isn't a step attribute at all use between {start} and 
{stop}.

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-14 Thread Chris Jerdonek

Chris Jerdonek added the comment:

For maintenance releases, I think I would favor abbreviating the list only if 
it is lossless (e.g. for xrange objects).  I think I would also be okay with 
abbreviating for arbitrary xranges -- in particular for arbitrary steps.  For 
example, for xrange(0, 50, 3), I think something like the following might be 
better: 0, 3, 6, 9, ... 45, 48 (we could also include a difference hint).

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-14 Thread Terry J. Reedy

Terry J. Reedy added the comment:

I agree that my extreme, strawman-ish, proposal, was, well, too extreme. Here 
is a more realistic proposal similar to David's.

if isinstance(choices, range) and len(choices)  50:
  choice_txt = range_rep(choices)  # details to be determined
try:
  choice_txt = iterated version of choices as now
except TypeError:  # because choices not iterable
  choice_txt = repr(choices)  # can be anything for custom class

Then display help or error message.

If someone passes a non-(x)range iterable with 1000s of choices, I am willing 
to say they deserve what they asked for, once that the docs make clearer that 
such collections will be displayed in full. Any iterable container too large to 
display in full can be wrapped as a non-iterable container. ('Container' means 
that 'in' works.)

class NonIterableContainer:
  def __init__(self, container, description):
self.container = container
self.description = description
  def __repr__(self):
return self.description
  def __contains__(self, item):
return item in self.container

The description could point one to a file or doc that has an explicit list.

If such a listing enumerates the items, the program arg could instead be an int 
in the appropriate range. Then the program would look up the actual arg. Ranges 
*are* special because items from any finite enumerated collection can be 
replaced, for input, by the corresponding int in the enumerated range. They are 
therefore worth special attention in help and error displays.

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-14 Thread Terry J. Reedy

Terry J. Reedy added the comment:

I see that in #16468, Chris proposes that existing versions should let the 
TypeError propagate, possibly with an improved error message, and call the use 
of repr for non-iterables a new feature (partly on the basis that more fixes 
than this are needed to use them).

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-13 Thread Chris Jerdonek

Chris Jerdonek added the comment:

 Does argparse actually convert (x)range objects to a list or set (the help 
 indicates the latter) for internal use?

No, it leaves the provided choices argument as is.

Here is what the documentation says argparse accepts: Any object that supports 
the *in* operator can be passed as the choices value, so dict objects, set 
objects, custom containers, etc. are all supported.  And here is the code for 
testing containment:

http://hg.python.org/cpython/file/ee7b713fec71/Lib/argparse.py#l2284

Terry, are you okay with the proposed documentation patch?

Special-casing the display of range values seems like an enhancement request to 
me rather than a bug.  I would suggest that be handled as an enhancement 
request targeted initially for Python 3.4.  I would be happy to create a new 
issue for that.  Alternatively, it could be considered as a second patch on 
this issue.

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-13 Thread Terry J. Reedy

Terry J. Reedy added the comment:

I do not agree with the patch. A summary of my view: Range objects support the 
'in' operator and they are an intended option for choices, and, as I said 
before, are exactly the right option for arithmetic sequences with more than a 
few items. The problem is that they are now, in effect, special-cased relative 
to other builtins by having their compact representation replaced by an 
expanded tuple display. Moreover, the iteration required to do this introduces 
a discrepancy relative to the doc. This bug might be better fixed by a code 
change.

(The OP did not pass a (x)range object but a list. That was unnecessary and 
easily fixed in itself. But such a fix leaves the issue above. Condensing long 
sequences is a somewhat separate issue.)

As to intent:

The choices keyword argument may be more convenient for type checkers that 
simply check against a range of values:


 parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(prog='PROG')
 parser.add_argument('foo', type=int, choices=range(5, 10))
 parser.parse_args('7'.split())
Namespace(foo=7)
 parser.parse_args('11'.split())
usage: PROG [-h] {5,6,7,8,9}
PROG: error: argument foo: invalid choice: 11 (choose from 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

Note the expansion instead of the normal representation. It is not a big deal 
here, but obviously can be.

 parser.add_argument(
... 'integers', metavar='int', type=int, choices=range(10),
...  nargs='+', help='an integer in the range 0..9')

As to tuple display expansion: the link points to

2284 def _check_value(self, action, value):
2285   # converted value must be one of the choices (if specified)
2286   if action.choices is not None and value not in action.choices:
2287 args = {'value': value,
2288 'choices': ', '.join(map(repr, action.choices))}
2289 msg = _('invalid choice: %(value)r (choose from %(choices)s)')
2290 raise ArgumentError(action, msg % args)

In 2288 ', '.join(map(repr, action.choices)) produces a tuple display without 
parentheses. It essentially reproduced str/repr for tuples, lists, frozensets, 
sets, dicts, dict views, etc., leaving off the irrelevant fence characters. In 
doing so, by iteration, it introduces a bug --see below.

For range objects, the tuple representation is a drastic change from the normal 
representation. In that sense, it special cases range among built-ins, and in a 
bad way when the range represents many values. (Help messages apparently do the 
same.) I consider this to be something of a bug. So the code as it is would 
have to special case range objects to avoid special-casing them in the sense 
above.

The same would apply to any custom objects that have a succinct description for 
a large, possible infinite set. Here are two examples: a word containing no 
'e's and a 'word' containing only the letters a, b, c, d, e. Objects 
representing such infinite sets of strings could easily have a __contains__ 
method but not an __iter__ method.

The code above requires the choices object to be iterable as well as supporting 
'in'. This contradicts the doc statement Any object that supports the in 
operator can be passed as the choices value,. That discrepancy is a bug. It 
should be fixed by either adding the restriction to the doc or removing it from 
the code. I recommend the latter.

The code could simply use the str or repr of the choice object without trying 
to be fancy with a custom, fence-stripped, representation that does not work 
correctly or at all for all possible choice objects. In other words

if action.choices is not None and value not in action.choices:
  msg = invalid choice: %r (choose from %r) % (value, action.choices)
  raise ArgumentError(action, msg)

If the custom representation for non-range builtins is desired, then they are 
the ones that should be special-cased to not use their default representation.

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keywords:  -easy

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-11 Thread Terry J. Reedy

Terry J. Reedy added the comment:

Juraj: Is the example behavior from Py2 or Py3? The meaning of 'range' changed. 
In Py2, xrange would be the correct choice for 'choice'.

Does argparse actually convert (x)range objects to a list or set (the help 
indicates the latter) for internal use? That would be foolish as 'n in range' 
is an O(1) operation. (I don't remember is that works for xrange.) For 
instance, range(0, 1000, 2) is a nice way to say 'even count less than 1000'.

If it is not so converted, converting for display is also foolish.
'range(0, 1000, 2)' is clearer than an explicit sequence.

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-11 Thread Juraj Variny

Juraj Variny added the comment:

It was Python 2.7 . But if range shouldn't be used for large number of options, 
arguing whether it's O(1) is splitting hairs, no?

I'll remove the choices from my code. Adding new type for port is overkill, 
users should know what legal TCP port numbers are.

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-11 Thread Terry J. Reedy

Terry J. Reedy added the comment:

I am arguing that (x)range *should* be usable for large numbers of options 
*because* the containment test is O(1). What happens is you *do* use xrange 
instead of range in 2.7 or 3.x instead of 2.7?

In 2.x, range(n) *is* a list so that is a bad choice for large n, regardless of 
the display issue, which could be fixed separately as is being done on other 
issues.

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-10 Thread Chris Jerdonek

Chris Jerdonek added the comment:

Proposed documentation patch attached.

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assignee:  - docs@python
components: +Documentation
keywords: +easy, patch
nosy: +docs@python, ezio.melotti
stage:  - patch review
type: behavior - enhancement
versions: +Python 3.2, Python 3.3, Python 3.4
Added file: http://bugs.python.org/file27946/issue-16418-1-default.patch

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-05 Thread Juraj Variny

New submission from Juraj Variny:

Example:

parser.add_argument(-p,--port, help=Listening port, type=int, 
choices=range(1, 65535),default=8007,required = False)

generates this usage text:

usage: agent.py [-h]
[-p 
{1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,
 ...snip... 
,65522,65523,65524,65525,65526,65527,65528,65529,65530,65531,65532,65533,65534}]

optional arguments:
  -h, --helpshow this help message and exit
  -p {1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14, ...snip... 
,65525,65526,65527,65528,65529,65530,65531,65532,65533,65534}
Listening port

--
components: Library (Lib)
messages: 174947
nosy: Juraj.Variny
priority: normal
severity: normal
status: open
title: argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message
type: behavior
versions: Python 2.7

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-05 Thread R. David Murray

R. David Murray added the comment:

I don't think choices is a good choice there (pardon the pun).  You really want 
a custom type.  I'm inclined to think that that applies to any 'choices' value 
that is 'too large' for the help display.  Part of the point of choices is that 
you *want* the help display to list all the choices.

I'm inclined to close this as invalid.

--
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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-05 Thread Chris Jerdonek

Chris Jerdonek added the comment:

I agree with David.  Another sign that using choices isn't the right approach 
is that it requires constructing a list of 66,000 elements.  There are better 
ways of checking if a provided argument is an integer between 1 and 65,535.

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[issue16418] argparse with many choices can generate absurdly long usage message

2012-11-05 Thread Chris Jerdonek

Chris Jerdonek added the comment:

The argparse documentation says in one part, The choices keyword argument may 
be more convenient for type checkers that simply check against a range of 
values.

Thus, I wouldn't object to language clarifying that choices is meant for lists 
of choices that should be displayed in the command-line help (e.g. smaller 
lists and human-readable).

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