Lightweight utility and helper classes for CLI applications

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Language: PHP

0.1.8 2014-06-22 14:49 UTC


Clio is a lightweight utility and helper classes for CLI applications. It provides colored output, prompts, confirmation inputs, selections, background processes, as well as a way to start and stop daemons.


The prefered way to install Clio is through composer; the minimum composer.json configuration is:

    "require": {
        "clio/clio": "0.1.8"

PHP 5.4 is required. This library is developed on and is meant to be used on POSIX systems with the posix, pcntl, and sockets extensions loaded.


The Console class provides helpers for interactive command line input/output.

Console::stdin($raw = false)

Waits for user input. If $raw is set to true, returns the input without right trimming for PHP_EOL.

Console::input($prompt = null, $raw = false)

Asks the user for input which ends when the user types a PHP_EOL character. You can optionally provide a prompt string. If $raw is set to true, returns the input without right trimming for PHP_EOL.

Console::stdout($text, $raw = false)

Prints $text to STDOUT. The text can contain text color and style specifiers. This method detects whether the text is to be sent out to TTY or to a file through the use of shell redirection and acts accordingly, in the case of the latter, by stripping the text of all color and style specifiers.

If the second parameter is set to true, then it will print $text as is with all text color and style specifiers intact regardless of whether it's printing to TTY or to a file.

use Clio\Console;
Console::stdout('Hello, World!');

Console::output($text, $raw = false)

The same as Console::stdout except it automatically appends a PHP_EOL.

Console::stderr($text, $raw = false)

Behaves like Console::stdout except it's for STDERR.

Console::error($text, $raw = false)

The same as Console::stderr except it automatically appends a PHP_EOL.

Console::prompt($text, $options)

This function prompts the user for input. Several options are available:

  • required: True if input is necessary, false otherwise.
  • default: If the user does not provide an input, this is the default value.
  • pattern: Regular expression pattern to match.
  • validator: Callable to validate input. Must return true or false.
  • error: Default error message.

If an input error occurs, the prompt will repeat and will keep asking the user for input until it satisfies all the requirements in the $options array. Note that if you supply a default option, required is not enforced.

$db_host = Console::prompt('database host', ['default' => 'localhost']);

If you provide your own validator callable, you can pass a custom error message to the second parameter:

$file = Console::prompt('File', [
    'required' => true,
    'validator' => function($input, &$error = null) {
        if (is_readable($input)) {
            return true;
        } else {
            $error = 'Path given is not a readable file';
            return false;

Note that for this to work, the second parameter must be declared a reference.


Asks the user for a simple y/n answer. The answer can be 'y', 'n', 'Y', or 'N'. Returns either true or false.

$sure = Console::confirm('are you sure?');

Console::select($text, $options)

Asks the user to choose from a selection of options. The $options array is a key-value pairs of input and explanation. The '?' input option is appended automatically and it serves as the help option showing all other options along with their respective explanations.

$opt = Console::select('apply this patch?',
    ['y' => 'yes', 'n' => 'no', 'a' => 'all']

Console::work(callable $callable)

Forks another process to run $callable in the background while showing status updates to the standard output. By default the status update is a simple spinner which will stop once the $callable returns. By providing $callable with a $socket parameter, the status update is whatever is sent from the background process to the foreground process using the socket_write() function:

Console::stdout('Working ... ');
Console::work(function($socket) { // $socket is optional, defaults to a spinner
    $n = 100;
    for ($i = 1; $i <= $n; $i++) {
        // do whatever it is you need to do
        socket_write($socket, "[$i/$n]\n");
        sleep(1); // sleep is good for you

Messages sent to the foreground process needs to end with a "\n" character.

Text color and style specifiers

You can use text color and style specifiers in the format of %x where x is the specifier:

Console::output('this is %rcolored%n and %Bstyled%n');

The %n specifier normalizes the color and style of the text to that of the shell's defaults. This specifier is taken from PEAR's Console_Color package. To print a percentage symbol, simply put two % characters. The following is the full set of specifiers:

            text      text            background
%k %K %0    black     dark grey       black
%r %R %1    red       bold red        red
%g %G %2    green     bold green      green
%y %Y %3    yellow    bold yellow     yellow
%b %B %4    blue      bold blue       blue
%m %M %5    magenta   bold magenta    magenta
%p %P       magenta (think: purple)
%c %C %6    cyan      bold cyan       cyan
%w %W %7    white     bold white      white

%F     Blinking, Flashing
%U     Underline
%8     Reverse
%_,%9  Bold

%n     Resets the color
%%     A single %

You can use these specifiers with methods that takes a string and outputs it.


The Daemon class provides helpers for starting and killing daemonized processes.


Tests if a daemon is currently running or not. Returns true or false:

use Clio\Daemon;
if (Daemon::isRunning('/path/to/')) {
    echo "daemon is running.\n";
} else {
    echo "daemon is not running.\n";

Daemon::work(array $options, callable $callable)

Daemonize a $callable callable object. The $options key-value array must contain pid as the path to the PID file:

use Clio\Daemon;
if (Daemon::isRunning('/path/to/')) {
    echo "daemon is already running.\n";
} else {
            'pid'    => '/path/to/', // required
            'stdin'  => '/dev/null',            // defaults to /dev/null
            'stdout' => '/path/to/stdout.txt',  // defaults to /dev/null
            'stderr' => '/path/to/stderr.txt',  // defaults to php://stdout
        function($stdin, $stdout, $stderr) { // these parameters are optional
            while (true) {
                // do whatever it is daemons do
                sleep(1); // sleep is good for you
    echo "daemon is now running.\n";

The PID file is an ordinary text file with the process ID as its only content. It will be created by the library automatically if it doesn't exist. It is highly recommended to put a call to sleep to ease the system load.

Daemon::kill($pid, $delete = false)

Kill a daemonized process:

use Clio\Daemon;

if (Daemon::isRunning('/path/to/')) {
    echo "killing running daemon ...\n";
    if (Daemon::kill('/path/to/')) {
        echo "daemon killed.\n";
    } else {
        echo "failed killing daemon.\n";
} else {
    echo "nothing to kill.\n";

If the second parameter is set to true, this function will try to delete the PID file after successfully sending the process a kill signal.


The text color and style specifiers are taken entirely from PEAR's Console_Color class by Stefan Walk. The Daemon class is heavily inspired from Andy Thompson's blog post on daemonizing a PHP CLI script on a POSIX system.


Clio is released under the MIT License.