A few random usability suggestions...

Ryan Schmidt ryandesign at macports.org
Fri Nov 18 22:32:18 PST 2011

On Nov 19, 2011, at 00:23, Roger Pack wrote:

> I used macports today, and had a few usability "suggestions/feature requests":
> for what they're worth :)
> Here goes...
> If I do this:
> $ sudo port install vlc -f
> I'd expect it to be a "force install" the equivalent of
> $ sudo port -f install vlc
> instead, it surprised me by not doing a force install.  FWIW.

Single-dash options like "-f" must appear immediately after the word "port", e.g. "sudo port -f install foo" (not that one should be using "-f" except in unusual circumstances).

Double-dash options like "--enforce-variants" are specific to the subcommand and must appear immediately after the subcommand, i.e. "sudo port upgrade --enforce-variants foo"

> The "help" syntax might be expandable a bit..
> $ port help install
> Usage: install
> Installs the given ports
> (doesn't list any options available to the install command?)

"man port" and the guide have better help.

> Also it seems to be missing a "reinstall" command...perhaps one could
> be added, perhaps like the equivalent of
> sudo port uninstall suchAndSuch
> sudo port clean –all suchAndSuch
> sudo port install suchAndSuch
> or the like [?]

Reinstall is:

sudo port -n upgrade --force foo

> Also I would have expected this to work:
> $ sudo port install twolame # it installs binary twolame
> $ sudo port install -s twolame # it "reinstalls, but from source"
> (currently it "does nothing")

sudo port -ns upgrade --force foo

> At least output something like "twolame is already installed" but,
> better yet, I had hoped that it would basically reinstall it, from
> source, realizing that its initial installation had been from a binary
> package.

I think we try to follow the philosophy of other UNIX command line tools here: "no response" means there's nothing to be done. In fact we seem to not quite print nothing: we still print a "--->  Cleaning" line. Oh well.

> Well sorry for the flood.

Thanks for the input; there's room for improvement, certainly at least in the documentation. But I admit I do like commands like "svn" which accept arguments in nearly any order.

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