19. Readline: interactive command line

gnatcoll provides an interface to the readline library.

When this library is available on the system, it provides various features to enhance command line support in tools. You also need to pass –enable-gpl to configure to indicate you understand the license of readline.

In particular, it provides various keybindings to make editing more comfortable than Ada.Text_IO.Get_Line. For instance, it is possible to use backspace to edit what you have just typed. It is also possible to move forward or backward by word, go to the start or end of line,…

readline also provides support for completion: by using the tab key, users can get all possible completions for the current word. This behavior is controllable from Ada, where your application can provide the list of completions.

Finally, readline comes with support for history. By using the up and down keys, the user can navigate the commands that were previously typed. It is also possible to preserve the history across sessions.

See the package GNATCOLL.Readline for more documentation on the API.

This package is always usable, whether or not the system supports readline. When readline is not available, the package falls back to a Text_IO based implementation (still providing input, although none of the advanced features described above will work).