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A command-line interface (CLI) is a means of interacting with a computer program by inputting lines of text called command-lines. Command-line interfaces emerged in the mid-1960s, on computer terminals, as a user-friendly alternative to punched cards.
Knowledge of CLIs is also useful for writing scripts. Programs that have CLIs are generally easy to automate via scripting, since command-lines, being mere lines of text, are easy to specify in code.
CLIs are made possible by command-line interpreters or command-line processors, which are programs that read command-lines and carry out the commands.