Command Line Interface

Updated Sept 29, 2020 · 3 min read

What is a command-line interface?

A command-line interface (CLI) is a text-based interface for interacting with applications or operating systems (OS) through commands. While each command-line interface differs in syntax, CLIs generally include a command prompt, an area next to the command prompt for entering commands, and a way to execute commands.

In the 1960s, command-line interfaces provided the only way for users to interact with their computers. Today, software developers and system administrators typically use command-line interfaces over graphical user interfaces (GUI) when they want to interact with their system directly, install software, and access features that users can’t access through graphical user interfaces.


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