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Creating a new Minicli application

Minicli is a minimalist framework for building CLI-centric PHP applications. Minicli has no external package dependencies, and a single system requirement:

  • PHP 7.3+ (cli)

Note: If you want to obtain user input, then the readline PHP extension is required as well.

Apart from that, you'll need Composer to install and use Minicli.

Creating a Simple App

If all you need is to set up a few simple commands to run through Minicli, you can use a singe file for your application.

  1. Create a directory for your new project
  2. Run composer require minicli/minicli - this will create a composer.json file and download Minicli.
  3. Create an executable PHP script with the following content:

if (php_sapi_name() !== 'cli') {

require __DIR__ . '/vendor/autoload.php';

use Minicli\App;
use Minicli\Command\CommandCall;
use Minicli\Exception\CommandNotFoundException;

$app = new App();
$app->setSignature('./minicli mycommand');

$app->registerCommand('mycommand', function(CommandCall $input) {
    echo "My Command!";


try {
} catch (CommandNotFoundException $e) {
    echo 'An error occurred running the command: ',  $e->getMessage(), "\n";

This script will set up a command called mycommand. To execute it, first make the file executable with:

chmod +x script-name

Then, run your command with:

./script-name mycommand

Creating a Structured App Using the Application Template

If you'd like to create an application with many commands, or you would prefer to have more structure to your commands, with support to subcommands, than you should use Command Namespaces. To facilitate setting up such an application, we have the minicli/application repository, which serves as an application template you can use with composer create-project.

Create a new project with:

composer create-project --prefer-dist minicli/application myapp

This will generate a directory structure like the following:

└── Command
    └── Help
        ├── DefaultController.php
        ├── TableController.php
        └── TestController.php
├── composer.json
├── docs
├── minicli
├── mkdocs.yml

Each directory inside app/Command represents a Command Namespace. The classes inside app/Command/Help represent subcommands that you can access through the main help command.

You can now run the boostrapped application with:

cd myapp

This will show you the default app signature.

The help command that comes with the application template, defined in app/Command/Help/DefaultController.php, auto-generates a tree of available commands:

./minicli help
Available Commands


The help test command, defined in app/Command/Help/TestController.php, shows an echo test of parameters:

./minicli help test user=erika name=value
Hello, erika!

    [user] => erika
    [name] => value