Sunday, July 20, 2008

Command line interface

The cmd.exe command line interface in Windows Vista
Command Line Interface (CLI) is a mechanism for interacting with a computer operating system or software by typing commands to perform specific tasks. This contrasts with the use of a mouse pointer with a graphical user interface (GUI) to click on options, or menus on a Text user interface (TUI) to select options.

This method of instructing a computer to perform a given task is referred to as "entering" a command: the system waits for the user to conclude the submitting of the text command by pressing the "Enter" key (a descendant of the "carriage return" key of a typewriter keyboard). A command line interpreter then receives, analyses, and launches the requested command. The command line interpreter may be a text terminal or a remote shell client such as PuTTY. Upon completion, the command usually returns output to the user in the form of text lines on the CLI. This output may be an answer if the command was a question, or otherwise a summary of the operation.

The concept of the CLI originated when teletype machines (TTY) were connected to computers in the 1950s, and offered results on demand, compared to 'batch' oriented mechanical punch card input technology. Dedicated text-based CRT terminals followed, with faster interaction and more information visible at one time, then graphical terminals enriched the visual display of information. Currently personal computers encapsulate both functions in software.
The CLI continues to coevolve with GUIs like those provided by Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and the X Window System. In some applications, such as MATLAB, a CLI is integrated with the GUI, with the benefits of both.

1 Usage
2 Anatomy of a Shell CLI
3 Programming languages in Interactive mode
3.1 CLI and Resource Protection
3.2 Command prompt
4 References
5 See also
6 External links


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