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 device or computer program with commands from a user or client, and responses from the device or program, in the form of lines of text. Such access was first provided by computer terminals starting in the mid-1960s. This provided an interactive environment not available with punched cards or other input methods.

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

Operating system command-line interfaces are often implemented with command-line interpreters or command-line processors. Programs with command-line interfaces are generally easier to automate via scripting. Many software systems implement command-line interfaces for control and operation. This includes programming environments and utility programs.

Today, many users rely upon graphical user interfaces and menu-driven interactions. However, some programming and maintenance tasks may not have a graphical user interface and use a command line. Alternatives to the command-line interface include text-based user interface menus (for example, IBM AIX SMIT), keyboard shortcuts, and various desktop metaphors centered on the pointer (usually controlled with a mouse). Examples of this include the Microsoft Windows, DOS Shell, and Mouse Systems PowerPanel. Command-line interfaces are often implemented in terminal devices that are also capable of screen-oriented text-based user interfaces that use cursor addressing to place symbols on a display screen.