Skip to content



pydantic-argparse provides functionality for commands. A command is a positional command-line argument that can be followed by its own specific subset of command-line arguments. For example: command --arg abc.

This section covers the following standard argparse argument functionality:

# Subparser Commands
subparsers = parser.add_subparsers()
command = subparsers.add_parser("command")


The intended usage of commands is to provide the user with different application behaviours, each with their own subset of arguments. For example:

$ python3 serve --address --port 8080
if args.serve:
    # The serve command was chosen
    # We have typed access to any of the command model arguments we defined
    # For example: `args.serve.address`, `args.serve.port`, etc.

Pydantic Models

Commands can be created by first defining a pydantic model for the command (e.g., Command), containing its own subset of arguments. The command can then be added to the command-line interface by adding a pydantic field with the type of Optional[Command]. Despite each command itself being optional, overall a command is always required, as outlined below.


Required commands are defined as follows:

class Command1(BaseModel):
    arg1: str = Field(description="this is sub-argument 1")

class Command2(BaseModel):
    arg2: str = Field(description="this is sub-argument 2")

class Arguments(BaseModel):
    # Commands
    command1: Optional[Command1] = Field(description="this is command 1")
    command2: Optional[Command2] = Field(description="this is command 2")

This Arguments model generates the following command-line interface:

$ python3 --help
usage: [-h] {command1,command2} ...

    command1           this is command 1
    command2           this is command 2

  -h, --help           show this help message and exit

This Arguments model also generates command-line interfaces for each of its commands:

$ python3 command1 --help
usage: command1 [-h] --arg1 ARG1

required arguments:
  --arg1 ARG1  this is sub-argument 1

  -h, --help   show this help message and exit
$ python3 command2 --help
usage: command2 [-h] --arg2 ARG2

required arguments:
  --arg2 ARG2  this is sub-argument 2

  -h, --help   show this help message and exit


  • Providing arguments of command1 --arg1 abc will set args.command1 to to Command1(arg1="abc"), and args.command2 to None.
  • Providing arguments of command2 --arg2 xyz will set args.command2 to to Command2(arg2="xyz"), and args.command1 to None.
  • Commands cannot be omitted.