It was awesome diving into the command line again for this week’s assignment. It kinda puts the entirety of the computer’s capabilities into perspective, making it less ominous and strips away the “magic” aspect when it comes to performing actions like inquiries.
I think I’ll be a bit restrained when it comes to anything apart from creating directories through the command line, though. Considering the command line isn’t exactly idiot proof and I can accidentally delete my operating system, I’m trying to just stay with command practice on the tutorial rather than going to YouTube to see other possibilities.
I also liked reading other peoples’ profiles. From IBM developers to Facebook, it’s neat that the role is universal and the experts will always bring some value to literally any high-profile company. That can’t be said for most vocations, which are generally pigeonholed into one field.
For my developer profile, my staffer has written code for Facebook’s webpages. And while that may seem relatively mundane, it’s a lot more than for user accessibility and aesthetically pleasing purposes. With the social media behemoth’s overarching role in literally everything, from politics to sales to nonprofits, web development and design are more and more about ethics today than ever before. Cambridge Analytica, disinformation campaigns, etc. have put Facebook in the tough position of assigning its developers responsibilities that reach new limits. I love the relatively new function of “Related posts” automatically showing up under some posts from widely followed accounts, which are meant to serve as easily visible footnotes pointing to a credible source potentially countering the contents of the post without directly censuring it. That added tool is just one of the ways developers are sometimes a step ahead of news organizations when it comes to informing and educating the public. Very neat.
We discussed in class why some of us had problems opening the file we created for homework last week. We needed to make sure that the PHP is opened in the server not in the browser. We also discussed the agile development process and the concept of waterfall. The concept lies in the idea that different teams work together at different stages and the work flows between the channels. However, there were many issues with that methodology. The agile manifesto came about to solve the problem occurring in the waterfall methodology. They created a way of how software should be developed. The most efficient and effective method of sharing information and development of a team is face-to-face conversation. This goes against the new trend of tele-work and how agile does not work within that trend.
The double diamond concept of design was also discussed in class. Usually we look at the first problem then get solutions, but we should look at both diamonds and look at every angle before coming up with solutions. When we work on one thing, we delve deep into it and forget to look at the overall macro level of the project.
I finalized my developer profile. I enjoyed working on mine and getting to know a person in the web development field. I also learned that you can start and get yourself into this field whenever and it is never too late. It is also important to try something out before assuming you will not enjoy it or be good at it. In the case of my developer, he had no idea he would be interested in software development and after taking a random course, he realized that it is where his passion lies and what he wants to do in his life. I also got the chance to read other profiles and learn more about other developers.
The tutorial about command line was descriptive. Programs are made up of layers which result in the final nice looking version. It is a very cool way of handling things and documents on your computer. You give your computer demands, which are passed on to the computer system to run. We can navigate through our computer the way we use Finder on Mac. We should always be careful of any commands we can give because we could mess up our computer system or wipe it out with one simple command.
Using the command line is a very pure way to just…talk to your computer. It feels very much like a conversation. You type in “man” and the computer asks what you want to learn about. You make a mistake and the computer says the command wasn’t found. It’s an immediate feedback loop that’s very distinct from what we’re doing in Sublime Text. It’s a bit scary how direct and raw the possibilities are. After a brief bit of googling I found that if you type in sudo and just five extra characters, you can wipe your entire drive.
A point made in the “Your new friend: Command Line” struck me — original computers looked a lot like the command line window. I remember seeing the MS-DOS operating system on some of my parent’s old computers. That was definitely the last time I saw or used a computer that didn’t utilize a window and pointer-based UI.
I could see how, if you were so inclined to learn all the commands, using the command line would end up being a quicker and more efficient way to use a computer in some respects.
I have seen the black screen umpteen times in movies and several advertisements online. The dark-backgrounded text interface often depicts some computer geek doing something that seems serious. I had no idea of the existence of the command line on my computer, let alone know about what it does and the power it has in controlling my computer.
The video from Coding is for girls at the top of the reading is beyond impressive. Her onion layers illustration (hardware, operating system, applications and the user) was spot on. I tried following the prompts and instructions on creating directories and deleting them from the cmd and that frankly made me feel a little powerful. I guess I have always thought hackers are powerful, or maybe not. The whole experience was new to me, but equally exciting. The part I didn’t quite get was why do I still see the practice and test folders on my desktop after giving a command to remove them.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in the past week—from remembering (maybe) PHP, to diving into WordPress child themes, to being introduced to Command Line operations. I’m excited to put all the pieces together in our final projects, and have found myself thinking more like a developer in my daily work life. For example, yesterday I wondered if I could code something that would update a broad communications calendar based on the date of the annual event. I’ve also become more conscious of using copy+paste to reduce errors and documenting granular changes that have been made to projects with multiple stakeholders.
Learning the command line
I was first introduced to command line functions in SCS’s Data Journalism class, which introduced basic commands to illustrate points about how the language is constructed and what functions that are possible within that scary-looking terminal you’ve never tried to use before. Some of the language functions also reappeared in other databases like MySQL. This week’s reading was a good reminder of what can be done (essentially, everything that you can do using Finder), but also about how foreign it feels to use.
One new piece of information I found interesting was the man command, which gives you additional context about the command you’re referencing. I predict this will become a super useful tool while learning about and using the terminal in the future.
Another helpful tool referenced in the reading, https://ss64.com, contains a complete reference of commands for all operating systems.
To be honest, though…
While I can see the utility in understanding how to use the terminal, and the command language it accepts, I don’t see myself changing my behavior to use it over the finder window. For some reason, I especially find the idea of deleting something from the terminal distressing—it just feels less tangible than clicking on the file/folder and deleting it.
I can’t wait to be proven wrong.