Asynchronous Programming with Seastar

Nadav Har’El -

Avi Kivity -

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21 Command line options

21.1 Standard Seastar command-line options

All Seastar applications accept a standard set of command-line arguments, such as those we’ve already seen above: The -c option for controlling the number of threads used, or -m for determining the amount of memory given to the application.

TODO: list and explain more of these options.

Every Seastar application also accepts the -h (or --help) option, which lists and explains all the available options — the standard Seastar ones, and the user-defined ones as explained below.

21.2 User-defined command-line options

Seastar parses the command line options (argv[]) when it is passed to app_template::run(), looking for its own standard options. Therefore, it is not recommended that the application tries to parse argv[] on its own because the application might not understand some of the standard Seastar options and not be able to correctly skip them.

Rather, applications which want to have command-line options of their own should tell Seastar’s command line parser of these additional application-specific options, and ask Seastar’s command line parser to recognize them too. Seastar’s command line parser is actually the Boost library’s boost::program_options. An application adds its own option by using the add_options() and add_positional_options() methods on the app_template to define options, and later calling configuration() to retrieve the setting of these options. For example,

#include <iostream>
#include <seastar/core/app-template.hh>
#include <seastar/core/reactor.hh>
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    seastar::app_template app;
    namespace bpo = boost::program_options;
        ("flag", "some optional flag")
        ("size,s", bpo::value<int>()->default_value(100), "size")
       { "filename", bpo::value<std::vector<seastar::sstring>>()->default_value({}),
         "sstable files to verify", -1}
    });, argv, [&app] {
        auto& args = app.configuration();
        if (args.count("flag")) {
            std::cout << "Flag is on\n";
        std::cout << "Size is " << args["size"].as<int>() << "\n";
        auto& filenames = args["filename"].as<std::vector<seastar::sstring>>();
        for (auto&& fn : filenames) {
            std::cout << fn << "\n";
        return seastar::make_ready_future<>();
    return 0;

In this example, we add via add_options() two application-specific options: --flag is an optional parameter which doesn’t take any additional arguments, and --size (or -s) takes an integer value, which defaults (if this option is missing) to 100. Additionally, we ask via add_positional_options() that an unlimited number of arguments that do not begin with a “-” — the so-called positional arguments — be collected to a vector of strings under the “filename” option. Some example outputs from this program:

$ ./a.out
Size is 100
$ ./a.out --flag
Flag is on
Size is 100
$ ./a.out --flag -s 3
Flag is on
Size is 3
$ ./a.out --size 3 hello hi
Size is 3
$ ./a.out --filename hello --size 3 hi
Size is 3

boost::program_options has more powerful features, such as required options, option checking and combining, various option types, and more. Please refer to Boost’s documentation for more information.

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