I Hate the Command Line


Back when I was a Windows developer, I learned all sorts of arcane things about the platform. I felt I had to in order to be a good developer, and much of it was necessary to support customers running into problems.

Four years ago I bought a Mac, and three years ago I ditched Windows entirely and started learning Android development on my Mac.

I decided I really didn’t want to learn all the innards of the Mac. I never liked dealing with all that on Windows, and since I wasn’t a Mac developer I figured I could skip it.

Which means, of course, that I’m totally useless with the command line. Terminal? No thanks. Bash? Forget it. Git? I’ll use SourceTree instead. If it doesn’t have a GUI, I don’t want to touch it.

Sure, there are probably a ton of cool things I could do from the command line. But I’m happier not feeling I need to know all that stuff.

12 thoughts on “I Hate the Command Line

  1. Some people may have said the same thing about HTML and using WYSIWYG editors, but thankfully they decided to learn some cool code and use HomeSite and TopStyle :)

  2. I’m with you on using GUI tools, but whenever I do something cool in the terminal I feel like the ultimate hacker!

  3. Is it really the command line that’s bothering you, or learning the technical innards. As a developer are you using a GUI like programming tool like Scratch or are you typing “command lines” like most programmers do? I guess the latter. You are a very interesting person, Nick. By the way I still like all your Windows programs. I’m sorry to hear you left the platform.

  4. I spent a lot of time feeling superior because I used a Mac and didn’t have to deal with the DOS command line. But then OS X came out and I began to delve into it. I’m proficient these days with both interfaces into OS X, and I’ve come to realize each has its strengths. I’m glad I learned both and have both in my toolset so I can use whichever one will get the job done fastest.

  5. GUI applications are great when their developers have thought of all the things you want to do and provided those features. For example, using Sourcetree or the eGit plugin in Eclipse saves me having to manually “git add” all my files to a staging area before entering a comment to commit. I can simply enter my comment and tick my files to add and the tool does the rest.

    But the command line is where the best ideas are realised. The ones the GUI application developers haven’t yet thought to implement in their software. It’s where you can use multiple tools to produce an outcome that’s exactly what you want and no more.

    I realised the other day I wanted to be able to get the current Git branch I was working on into the clipboard. Knowing how the ‘git status’ command output looks like, it was a 2-minute task to knock up a mini script-command that piped the output of git status through a bit of command-line perl magic and then into the windows clip command and job done.

    I love both kinds of working with computers but if you took away the command line the world would be a far more restrictive and less interesting place to work.

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