Command-Line Tools

This section contains information about the command-line tools. Of these commands, lsrun, which runs a script, is probably the one you’ll use most often. The lsc command generates a Python program around a script, which you can run directly. To get the status of the lights on your network, run lscap.


During initialization, the process of discovering lights can take a while. Basically, a “report” message gets broadcast over the WiFi network, and each light announces its presence. If the number of lights is unknown, the discover process has no choice but to wait a specific amount of time for them to stop answering. To minimize that delay, use the optional -n or –num-lights flag to specify the actual number of lights. For example:

# I have 5 bulbs in my apartment.
lscap -n 5
lsrun --num-lights 5 scripts/

With this option, discovery stops as soon as the expected number has been found, which is usually much faster. However, if you specify a count that is lower than the number of lights you really do have, one or more of them may not get discovered.

lsrun - Run a Lightbulb Script

To run a script from the command line:


In this context, “name” contains the name of a script. This is essentially equivalent to:

python -m

You can queue up multiple scripts. If you specify more than one on the command line, it will queue them in that order and execute them sequentially:


This would run, and upon completion, execute

Command Line Options

Command-line flags modify how a script is run. Each option has a long and a short syntax. For example:

lsrun --verbose
lsrun -v

Available options:

  • -s or –script: Run text from the command line as a script.

  • -v or –verbose: Generate full debugging output while running.

  • -f or –fake: Don’t operate on real lights. Instead, use “fake” lights that just send output to stdout. This can be helpful for debugging and testing.

  • -n or –num-lights: Specify the number of lights that are on the network.

With the -f option, there will be 5 fake lights, and their name are fixed as “Table”, “Top”, “Middle”, “Bottom”, and “Chair”. Two fake groups are available: “Pole” and “Table”. One location named “Home” contains all of the fake lights, as well. If you want to use a different set of fake lights, you will need to edit some Python code. Specificlly, you’ll need to modify in tests/

Use of the -s option requires the use of ticks or quotation marks to contain the script, which will always contain more than one word. For example to turn on all the lights, wait 60 seconds, and turn them off again, you can do the following from the command line:

lsrun -s 'on all time 60 off all'

lsc - Lightbulb Script Compiler

The lightbulb script compiler generates a parsed and encoded version of the script as Python source code.

The syntax is:


This is equivalent to:

python -m bardolph.controller.lsc

You can set the name of the output file with the -o parameter. Note that the file name needs to be the first parameter.

# ok
lsc -o

# error
lsc -o

Only one file name may be provided. The generated file can be run from the command line like any other Python module:

lsc -o

The generated Python code relies on Bardolph’s Python modules, which should be available after installation.

If you want to use this in your own Python code, you can import the generated file as a module and call the function run_script().

Command Line Options

The generated program has two options:

  • -f or –fakes: Instead of accessing the lights, use “fake” lights that just send output to the log.

  • -v or –verbose: Use debug-level logging.

For example, after you’ve generated the Python program:

python -fv

This would not affect any physical lights, but would send text to the screen indicating what the program would do.

lscap - Capture Light State

This program captures the current state of the lights and generates the requested type of output. This command does not do anything with scripts; it’s really just a utility.

The default output is a human-readable listing of the lights, along with their current settings, and what groups and locations they belong to. This can be handy when you want to check on your lights from the command line. With the -s option, it can generate a convenient starting point for creating a new script.

The lscap command is equivalent to python -m bardoolph.controller.snapshot.

Command Line Options

Command-line options control the operation of the command and the type of output it produces. If no option is provided, it defaults to -t.

  • -s or –script: outputs a lightbulb script to stdout. If you redirect that output to a file and run it as a script, it will restore the lights to the same state, including color and power.

  • -t or –text: outputs text to stdout, in a human-friendly listing of all the known bulbs, groups, and locations.

  • -p or –py: generates Python code based on the current state of all discovered bulbs. If you save that output in a Python file, you can run it later to restore those setttings.

  • -n or –num-lights: Specify the number of lights that are on the network. If you know how many lights are connected, using this option can make a noticable reduction in initialization time.

Modifying the Configuration

Under most conditions, there should be no need to modify the configuration. However, if you need to do so, you have a couple of choices. If you build and install the source code, you can edit bardolph/controller/ That file contains all of the default settings.

Alternatively, you can specify a configuration file when starting one of the command-line tools. The lsrun, lsc, and lscapture commands all accept the -c or –config-file option. For example:

lsrun -c config.ini scripts/

In this case, lsrun will first initialize all of its internal settings. It will then read the file config.ini and replace whatever settings are overridden by that file. For example, by default, all logging output is sent to the screen. To override that setting and send output to a file, you could put the following content into config.ini:

log_file: /var/log/lights.log
log_to_console: False

An example file with some candidates for customization are in the source distribution, in the file docs/bardolph.ini. Note that this file is for documentation purposes only; no configuration file outside of the default Python code should be necessary.


During development, you may want to have a specific configuration as your default. In particular, it’s helpful to make use of fake lights, so as to avoid giving yourself a headache from a bunch of blinking lights while you debug your scripts. For this purpose, you can set the BARDOLPH_INI environment variable to the name of a configuration file.

For example, on my development machine, I have a file called dev.ini, which contains:

log_level: DEBUG

use_fakes: True

And from the command line,

export BARDOLPH_INI=dev.ini