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3. Why is the Command Line Useful?

Initially, for some of us, the command line can feel a bit unfamiliar. Why step away from a point-and-click workflow? By using the command line, we move into an environment where we have more minute control over each task we’d like the computer to perform. Instead of ordering your food in a restaurant, you’re stepping into the kitchen. It’s more work, but there are also more possibilities. The command line allows you to…

  • Easily automate tasks such as creating, copying, and converting files.
  • Set up your programming environment.
  • Run programs you create.
  • Access the (many) programs and utilities that do not have graphical equivalents.
  • Control other computers remotely. In addition to being a useful tool in itself, the command line gives you access to a second set of programs and utilities and is a complement to learning programming. What if all these cool possibilities seem a bit abstract to you right now? That’s alright! On a very basic level, most uses of the command line are about showing information that the computer has, or modifying or making things (files, programs, etc.) on the computer. In the next section, we’ll make this a little more clear by getting started with the command line.

Workshop overall progress