I am writing a simple Telegram bot in Python 3 using the python-telegram-bot library. A command is a Telegram message that looks like this: /command_name arg1 arg2 arg3.... The bot should handle the users' messages by changing its internal state and making responses to the users.

I was not very happy with the 'command handling' provided by the library because this code is not beautiful at all and is very noisy:

def caps(update, context):
    text_caps = ' '.join(context.args).upper()
    context.bot.send_message(chat_id=update.message.chat_id, text=text_caps)

caps_handler = CommandHandler('caps', caps)

So I wanted to create a more convenient way, and now a command looks like this:

def cmd_hello(msg, a:int, b:[float], c:str):
    s = ''
    s += 'Number: '+str(a)+'\n'
    s += 'Floats: '+str(b)+'\n'
    s += 'String: '+c
    return s

If i send this command: /hello 1 3.14 5 3.7 world to the bot, the response will be:

Number: 1
Floats: [3.14, 5.0, 3.7]
String: world

I am using the inspect module to read the argument annotations of a function and store them in a dict:

Cmd = namedtuple('Cmd',['func','patterns'])
commands = dict()

def cmd(name):
    def deco(func):
        args = []
        sig = signature(func)

        for arg_name, param in sig.parameters.items():
            ann = param.annotation
            if ann:

        commands[name] = Cmd(func, tuple(args))
        return func
    return deco

The process_args function takes: 1) a list of raw (str) arguments that a bot receives in a message, 2) a list of patterns to match the arguments; and returns a list of processed (converted) arguments or raises CmdError if the arguments are incorrect.

def process_args(args, patterns):
    patterns = list(patterns)

    processed = []
    while patterns:
        if not args:
            raise CmdError("Not enough arguments")

        pattern = patterns.pop(0)

        if pattern in (int, float, str):
            arg = args[0]
                converted = pattern(arg)
            except Exception:
                raise CmdError(f"Cannot parse argument {arg} as {pattern.__name__}")

        elif isinstance(pattern, list):
            pat_single = pattern[0]
            collected = []

            match = True
            while match:
                    x = process_args([args[0]], [pat_single])[0]
                except CmdError: # If the pattern isn't matched anymore
                    match = False

    return processed

This function looks really bad. Is there a better way of implementing a pattern matching like this?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, I don't have much time to skim through the code right now, but I think you may find this SO question of some interest. There is also this answer that have some pre-thoughts to the one I posted on SO. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 28, 2019 at 12:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MathiasEttinger Hi. I'm not trying to validate the type of the function arguments. I am parsing a user input according to a list of patterns. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 28, 2019 at 12:34


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