command line interface

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command line interface

(operating system)
A means of communication between a program and its user, based solely on textual input and output. Commands are input with the help of a keyboard or similar device and are interpreted and executed by the program. Results are output as text or graphics to the terminal.

Command line interfaces usually provide greater flexibility than graphical user interfaces, at the cost of being harder for the novice to use. Consequently, some hackers look down on GUIs as designed For The Rest Of Them.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (

command line

A text-based user interface to the computer. The command line is a blank line and cursor on the screen, allowing the user to type in instructions for immediate execution. All major operating systems (Windows, Mac, Unix, Linux, etc.) support command lines that programmers and power users can employ to perform file management operations directly and often more efficiently than by using a graphical user interface (GUI). After typing a command, it is executed by pressing the Enter key.

Windows Examples
There are numerous Windows commands in this encyclopedia, and two examples follow. To do these operations in Windows Explorer or a Windows-based Pkzip utility would take numerous mouse clicks. See Windows commands.

Command             Operation Performedcopy *.html d:\abc  Copy HTML files to
                     ABC folder in D drive

 pkzip xyz *.jpg     Compress all JPEG
                     files into the Zip
                     archive XYZ.ZIP.

Interactive or Sequential
Commands can be executed one at a time by typing the command and pressing Enter. They can also be executed as a group, in which case the commands are typed into a "batch" or "script" file. The file name is typed on the command line, and pressing Enter causes each command to be executed in order. See batch file abc's, cmd abc's, command processor and PowerShell.

Windows Command Line
After the command prompt was launched, the command cd /stage switches focus to the STAGE folder. The dir *.cmd lists all the Windows batch files, and prepnew executes the commands in the prepNEW.cmd file.

Mac/Unix/Linux Command Line
This example from macOS, which is a Unix-based operating system, shows two commands issued after the command line ("terminal window") was launched. The cd desktop switches focus to the desktop, and ls X* lists all files that begin with upper case "X."
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References in periodicals archive ?
The program can be run using either a command-line interface or a menu-driven interface (Hyperface), which provides windowed text menus and mouse support.
As companies move to cloud and other computing environments, manual configuration of networks through command-line interface (CLI) coding has proven to be error prone, as well as time and resource intensive.
Unlike earlier versions where a problem with one process could crash the whole system, this modular design should help contain faults.<p>On the downside, the IOS XE command-line interface doesn't leverage powerful Unix/Linux shell features.
The scheduling tool used in the past by the company required skilled engineers to maintain, while its command-line interface made it difficult for the operations staff to initiate and monitor jobs.
The issue lies in the power of these packages; as the software becomes more flexible and capable, the list of commands becomes longer and the command-line interface becomes more complex and difficult to learn.
"The speed is good, the command-line interface is great, and I can now run tests using scripts, which allows me to finish a whole test suite in less than half an hour.
FAXHAVEN provides a command-line interface for all of its components so that they may be driven from within any of your applications that has an exit to DOS.
A lot of the hacks depend on the command-line interface available via the Terminal program.
It also has the enhanced RegExp generator, command-line interface, matching for more intelligent table mapping and support for composite foreign keys.
In addition a pair of appendixes discuss building regular Linux expressions found in applications and commands available for use with the command-line interface.

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