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Re: [Condor-users] arguments string with single quotes

Hi Sara,

I hope someone else on the list can show me that I'm wrong, but if you're using bat files as your driver for a job, command line parsing kind of falls apart. It isn't Condor's fault though -- it's all down to bat file command line argument parsing behaviour.

The argument parsing discussed in the Condor docs at http://research.cs.wisc.edu/condor/manual/v7.6/condor_submit.html promises us this:

   And yet another example:

   arguments = "one ""two"" 'spacey ''quoted'' argument'"

   argument 1: one
   argument 2: "two"
   argument 3: spacey 'quoted' argument

Let's test this. I have the following in in a file called args.bat:

   @echo off
   SET count=1
   IF NOT "%1"=="" (
   echo ARG %count%: %1
   SET /A count+=1
   GOTO :loop

All we want is consistent behaviour between the command line call and the call done via Condor. So let's check the command line first:

   C:\temp\args>.\args.bat one ""two"" 'spacey ''quoted'' argument'
   ARG 1: one
   ARG 2: ""two""
   ARG 3: 'spacey
   ARG 4: ''quoted''
   ARG 5: argument'

That isn't what the documentation promised us, but it's a base line for the run and it shows how odd parsing is with bat files. I'll submit it with:

   universe   = vanilla
   executable = c:/temp/args/args.bat
   arguments  = "one ""two"" 'spacey ''quoted'' argument'"
   requirements = OpSys != "Linux" && Arch =!= Undefined && Disk > 0 && Memory > 0
   run_as_owner = false
   output = $(cluster).$(process).out
   error  = $(cluster).$(process).err
   log    = $(cluster).log
   should_transfer_files   = if_needed
   when_to_transfer_output = on_exit
   queue 1

We'd expect the same output, but no: the job fails. The error message is:

   C:\temp\args>type 17.0.err
   The system cannot find the path specified.

   C:\temp\args>type 17.0.out

Let's try again, this time with:

   arguments  = "one ''two'' three"


   C:\temp\args>type 18.0.out
   ARG 1: one
   ARG 2: two
   ARG 3: three

How about:

   arguments = "one 'two three' four"

Errors out with:

   C:\temp\args>type 19.0.err
   'c:/temp/args/args.bat" one "two' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
   operable program or batch file.


If we switch to an args.py file that looks like this:

   import sys
   count = 1
   while count < len(sys.argv):
   print "ARG %d: %s" % (count, sys.argv[count])
   count = count + 1

things are MUCH better.

For the case:

   executable = c:/temp/args/args.py
   arguments  = "one 'two three' four"

I get:

   C:\temp\args>type 20.0.out
   ARG 1: one
   ARG 2: two three
   ARG 3: four

Which grouped the "two three" argument together as it should.

For the case:

   executable = c:/temp/args/args.py
   arguments  = "one ""two"" 'spacey ''quoted'' argument'"

I get:

   C:\temp\args>type 21.0.out
   ARG 1: one
   ARG 2: "two"
   ARG 3: spacey 'quoted' argument

Which matches what we were promised we'd get in the Condor documentation.

If it's possible, I'd avoid using bat files if you need to handle complicated, quoted command line arguments to your jobs.

- Ian

Ian Chesal

Cycle Computing, LLC
Leader in Open Compute Solutions for Clouds, Servers, and Desktops
Enterprise Condor Support and Management Tools


On Thursday, 21 June, 2012 at 2:59 PM, Triplett, Sara wrote:

I’m having trouble with the proper syntax for including single quotes in an arguments string in a submit file.  I’m trying to pass an arguments string that looks like this:


subarg1='val1' subarg2='val2' subarg3='val3'


Here’s what I’ve tried so far and what the result was:


arguments = “'subarg1=''val1''' 'subarg2=''val2''' 'subarg3=''val3'''” (this seems consistent with the Condor Manual)

result: subarg1=''''val1'''' subarg2=''''val2'''' subarg3=''''val3'''' (each pair of single quotes turns into 4 single quotes)


arguments = “subarg1=''val1'' subarg2=''val2'' subarg3=''val3''”

result: subarg1= val1 subarg2= val2 subarg3= val3 (each pair of single quotes becomes a space)


arguments = “subarg1='val1' subarg2='val2' subarg3='val3'”

result: subarg1=val1 subarg2=val2 subarg3=val3 (all single quotes are removed)


Does anyone know what syntax I should use to produce my desired string?  I am running Condor 7.6.3.




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