Receiving Information For A Check Plugin

Plugins to Flake8 have a great deal of information that they can request from a FileProcessor instance. Historically, Flake8 has supported two types of plugins:

  1. classes that accept parsed abstract syntax trees (ASTs)
  2. functions that accept a range of arguments

Flake8 now does not distinguish between the two types of plugins. Any plugin can accept either an AST or a range of arguments. Further, any plugin that has certain callable attributes can also register options and receive parsed options.

Indicating Desired Data

Flake8 inspects the plugin’s signature to determine what parameters it expects using flake8.utils.parameters_for(). flake8.plugins.manager.Plugin.parameters caches the values so that each plugin makes that fairly expensive call once per plugin. When processing a file, a plugin can ask for any of the following:

Some properties are set once per file for plugins which iterate itself over the data instead of being called on each physical or logical line.

These parameters can also be supplied to plugins working on each line separately.

Plugins that depend on physical_line or logical_line are run on each physical or logical line once. These parameters should be the first in the list of arguments (with the exception of self). Plugins that need an AST (e.g., PyFlakes and McCabe) should depend on tree. These plugins will run once per file. The parameters listed above can be combined with physical_line, logical_line, and tree.

Registering Options

Any plugin that has callable attributes provide_options and register_options can parse option information and register new options.

Your register_options function should expect to receive an instance of OptionManager. An OptionManager instance behaves very similarly to optparse.OptionParser. It, however, uses the layer that Flake8 has developed on top of optparse to also handle configuration file parsing. add_option() creates an Option which accepts the same parameters as optparse as well as three extra boolean parameters:

  • parse_from_config

    The command-line option should also be parsed from config files discovered by Flake8.


    This takes the place of appending strings to a list on the optparse.OptionParser.

  • comma_separated_list

    The value provided to this option is a comma-separated list. After parsing the value, it should be further broken up into a list. This also allows us to handle values like:

  • normalize_paths

    The value provided to this option is a path. It should be normalized to be an absolute path. This can be combined with comma_separated_list to allow a comma-separated list of paths.

Each of these options works individually or can be combined. Let’s look at a couple examples from Flake8. In each example, we will have option_manager which is an instance of OptionManager.

    '--max-line-length', type='int', metavar='n',
    default=defaults.MAX_LINE_LENGTH, parse_from_config=True,
    help='Maximum allowed line length for the entirety of this run. '
         '(Default: %default)',

Here we are adding the --max-line-length command-line option which is always an integer and will be parsed from the configuration file. Since we provide a default, we take advantage of optparse‘s willingness to display that in the help text with %default.

    '--select', metavar='errors', default='',
    parse_from_config=True, comma_separated_list=True,
    help='Comma-separated list of errors and warnings to enable.'
         ' For example, ``--select=E4,E51,W234``. (Default: %default)',

In adding the --select command-line option, we’re also indicating to the OptionManager that we want the value parsed from the config files and parsed as a comma-separated list.

    '--exclude', metavar='patterns', default=defaults.EXCLUDE,
    comma_separated_list=True, parse_from_config=True,
    help='Comma-separated list of files or directories to exclude.'
         '(Default: %default)',

Finally, we show an option that uses all three extra flags. Values from --exclude will be parsed from the config, converted from a comma-separated list, and then each item will be normalized.

For information about other parameters to add_option() refer to the documentation of optparse.

Accessing Parsed Options

When a plugin has a callable provide_options attribute, Flake8 will call it and attempt to provide the OptionManager instance, the parsed options which will be an instance of optparse.Values, and the extra arguments that were not parsed by the OptionManager. If that fails, we will just pass the optparse.Values. In other words, your provide_options callable will have one of the following signatures:

def provide_options(option_manager, options, args):
# or
def provide_options(options):