Command-line interface

Computer interface that uses text / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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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.

Screenshot of a sample Bash session in GNOME Terminal 3, Fedora 15
Screenshot of Windows PowerShell 1.0, running on Windows Vista

Today, most users rely on graphical user interfaces ("GUIs") instead of CLIs. However, many programs and operating system utilities lack GUIs, and are intended to be used through CLIs.

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.