The hflags package

[Tags:apache, library]

The HFlags library supports easy definition of command line flags, reimplementing the ideas from Google's gflags (

Command line flags can be declared in any file at the toplevel, using defineFlag. At runtime, the actual values are assigned to the toplevel flags_name constants. Those can be used purely throughout the program.

At the beginning of the main function, $initHFlags program description has to be called to initialize the flags. All flags will be initialized that are transitively reachable via imports from main. This means, that any Haskell package can easily define command line flags with HFlags. This feature is demonstrated by and

A simple example (more in the directory):

#!/usr/bin/env runhaskell

{-# LANGUAGE TemplateHaskell #-}

import HFlags

defineFlag "name" "Indiana Jones" "Who to greet."
defineFlag "r:repeat" (3 + 4 :: Int) "Number of times to repeat the message."

main = do s <- $initHFlags "Simple program v0.1"
          sequence_ $ replicate flags_repeat greet
          putStrLn $ "Your additional arguments were: " ++ show s
          putStrLn $ "Which is the same as: " ++ show HFlags.arguments
    greet = putStrLn $ "Hello " ++ flags_name ++ ", very nice to meet you!"

At initHFlags time, the library also tries to gather flags out of environment variables. HFLAGS_verbose=True is equivalent to specify --verbose=True. This environment feature only works with long options and the user has to specify a value even for Bools.

Since version 0.2, you mustn't put the initHFlags in a parentheses with the program description. Just $initHFlags, it's cleaner.

Changes in version 0.2

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Versions 0.1, 0.1.1, 0.1.2, 0.1.3, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.4.1, 0.4.2
Dependencies base (>=4.6 && <5), containers (>=0.4), template-haskell (>=2.8 && <2.11), text (>=0.11) [details]
License OtherLicense
Author Mihaly Barasz <>, Gergely Risko <>
Maintainer Gergely Risko <>
Stability provisional
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Source repository head: git clone
Uploaded Mon Jul 1 09:37:23 UTC 2013 by GergelyRisko
Updated Sun Jul 17 21:07:22 UTC 2016 by phadej to revision 1
Distributions LTSHaskell:0.4.2, NixOS:0.4.2, Stackage:0.4.2, Tumbleweed:0.4.2
Downloads 2695 total (34 in the last 30 days)
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Status Docs uploaded by user
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Maintainer's Corner

For package maintainers and hackage trustees

Readme for hflags

Readme for hflags-0.2


Command line flag parser for Haskell, conceptually very similar to Google's gflags