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.
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.