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Ask Slashdot: Command Line Interfaces -- What Is Out There? 383

Posted by Soulskill
from the anything-but-the-truth dept.
Mars729 writes "GUIs are walled gardens in that features available in one piece of software is not available to other pieces of software. However, there is software out there with command-line options that can make software features accessible to power users and programmers. Some important ones I have uncovered are:
  • Exiftool: A command-line application that can read/write almost any kind of metadata contained in almost any filetype
  • Imagemagick: This and similar software like GraphicsMagick is a full-feature toolkit for displaying, converting and editing image files.
  • Irfanview: Like Imagemagick but faster, although it has much fewer features.
    FFMpeg: For video files
  • VLC: For audio and video files
  • Aspell: A command line spell checker
  • Google Static Maps API: A URL with coordinates, markers, zoom levels and other options to show a custom map from Google Maps. (I just uncovered this: no need to learn KML!)

Less useful but still useful are command shells. These provide file management mostly. I believe some of them may allow for sending and retrieving email messages. Also useful but less accessible and with a steeper learning curve are software with APIs and scripting. Examples would be Visual Basic for Applications in office software and groovy scripting for Freeplane. What else is out there?"

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Ask Slashdot: Command Line Interfaces -- What Is Out There?

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  • by will_die (586523) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @06:35AM (#45835771) Homepage
    If you are doing windows and still doing Visual Basic for Applications for general scripts you are part of the problem and really behind in your skill level.
    Powershell has easily replaced most VBA script usage, there are still a few special cases where it has to be used.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:19AM (#45836105)

    There is lots of information out there and, very much unlike 20 years ago, the tools to find this information are numerous, easy to use and freely available. It's nice that someone stumbled upon the power of the command line, but it doesn't need to make front page news. No, we're not going to deliver the information on a silver plate any more than it already is delivered on a silver plate if you bother to look. Granted, some will write about their favorite programs, but the scorn to offset these nuggets of misplaced helpfulness is well deserved. It isn't so much directed at the newbie who doesn't know better but at the editor who allowed it through to the front page. Can you imagine someone getting onto the cover of a fashion magazine with a story about how they discovered that you can actually sew your own clothes and does anyone have any tips about that?

  • Re:What is this? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geoskd (321194) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:46AM (#45836415)

    You haven't worked with corporate VB programmers too much, have you?

    As someone who has done an unfortunate amount of "corporate VB programming", I can say several things with certainty.

    1) Anyone who must admit that they have more experience with VBA than anything else should not claim to be a programmer. At best, the title script kiddie should apply.

    2) I am actually functionally dumber for having learned VBA.

    3) The world will be a better place when Microsoft is dead and buried. VBA was a bad idea that looked really good on paper. It gave a large number of people the ability to write quick and dirty tools for doing things in spite of the fact that these people had no business writing software in the first place. In the short term, these "programmers" filled a direct need, but in the long run, they have created a nightmare of sustainability that costs more to maintain / recreate than it ever saved in the first place. I have spent entirely too much time debugging and rewriting VBA tools because some unqualified hack made a tool to save themselves time on processing reports, and now I have to waste huge amounts of time fixing it to be robust, when they should have just hired a programmer to do it right in the first place. I find that most of the time its best to just scrap what was written and start over rather than try to follow the existing schizophrenic and undocumented code.

  • Re:What is this? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by i.r.id10t (595143) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @10:00AM (#45836467)

    And based on the students I teach in my "intro to linux" class, a good 30% are dependent on GUIs and aren't capable of becoming half way competent in using a command line only system over a 14 week term.

    Typically, these are the same students that are in a networking track because "i'm good at helping grandma with facebook and I like to play world of warcraft" - not because they are curious about computers and networking

  • by Half-pint HAL (718102) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @12:42PM (#45837399)

    We live in the 21th century. By now no one should use things like grep, sed or awk anymore.

    Yes. It would be wrong to use tried, tested and computationally efficient tools. If it doesn't have a GUI that slows me down and reduces my operational efficiency, and a crapload of bugs that won't be fixed before being obsoleted, I don't want to know about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:53PM (#45837889)

    Please don't use cp or dd to copy from a disk as they don't do any error checking while copying. Readom does though. For details, see this blog post [] (not mine btw, I just happen to read it).

"It's curtains for you, Mighty Mouse! This gun is so futuristic that even *I* don't know how it works!" -- from Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse