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Michael Tsang - The command line guy

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When we were over visiting the Tablet PC team, we noticed that Michael Tsang used the command line to do nearly everything. Seemed like a throwback to the DOS days, and thought it'd make an interesting thread here on Channel9.

Who else here lives predominantly in a command-line interface?

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  • If the command is typed, it's a throwback to the old days. If I speak the command into a microphone, it's a futuristic new interface.

    I'm a command-line guy at heart for most tasks. For some reason, using drag-and drop and the like seems very crude to me, like trying to get my young children ready for bed. I can't just say "Time for bed!", instead I have to say "get undressed", "put your clothes in the hamper", "go to the bathroom", draw the water, "get in the tub", "wash your face", "wash your body", and on and on for a couple dozen small steps. That's what I feel like with most GUI interfaces -- I have to take the computer by the hand and show it yet again how to do a series of sub-tasks to accomplish a larger goal.

    With a command-line interface, I can marshal whatever collection of tools I need for the task, and issue a few high-level instructions and the computer will get back to me when it's done. If I have to do this more than a few times, I write a new command to do it (it's not easy at all to script across a collection of GUI-based tools).

    Now granted, there are some opeations that I wish I could use a more hands-on approach, but the current mouse-based approach is still far too crude. I use a tablet exclusively both at home and at work (that is, a standard PC with a tablet/stylus pointing device), and that helps quite a bit. But I still can't do natural things like selection via circling, or things like that. Dragging is about as advanced as it gets, and that's pretty durned crude, particularly with a corded brick.

  • Drag/Drop is greate for moving whole folders.  For many other jobs the command-line is faster.  The wildcard capability of the command-line makes it as fast or faster than navigating with the GUI.  cd \pro* to get to the Programs folder for example.
  • vinilvinil vinil
    DOS days?? What do you mean by DOS Days?? Haven't the MS O/Ss been always a shell on top of DOS 6.2 ???!!! (just kidding <g>)
    Well, I guess for most of us who have been tapping away at these keys for well over a decade, the command line interface is still the fastest and sometimes even more powerful way of getting things done, not to mention getting admiring looks from the female of the species Wink
    As a matter of fact, I miss the Recorder from Win3.X which could record my strokes and play them back. Instead now I use a combination of the fairly powerful BAT/CMD and VBS combo to accomplish tasks. Its fast and easy to use the WMI, ADSI and other like interfaces to manage one's administration tasks. Till Win2K3 pstools from www.sysinternals.com used to occupy a place of pride, but with the availability of shutdown command in the command shell, some of the glory has waned. But, the pstools set still rocks! Or for that matter sdelete and contig from the same site are life savers!
    I recollect some (faux?) news article about a plan to bring out a commmand line only version of Win2K3. Well, I definitely would want to give it a try Wink

    Finally my favorite features in CMD

    Why I like CMD:
    1. The F7 and F9 keys
    2. Ctrl+D and Ctrl+F shortcuts for file and directory completion
    3. COPY CON and FINDSTR
    4. NET * commands (way too cool!) (I didn't know the send option, once a friend showed me that, then on it was no stopping me, till the n/w admin sent a mail admonishing sending net sends to the entire domain Wink (couldn't comprehend what that option did)
    5. FOR %J in (*.DLL) DO REGSVR32 /s %J (Superfast way to register a set of DLLs in a folder! Beats Installshield hands down)
    6. ipconfig /release (/renew etc.) (faster than clicking the icon on the Systray)
    7. fsutil, WMIC, ftp and telnet (ooooooh!! POWERFUL!)
    8. ping and tracert (How would one accomplish this via the GUI ?)
    9. PUSHD & POPD (AWESOME!!)
    10. shutdown, and the set of cmd line tools from www.sysinternals.com

    Regards,
    Vinil

  • The Channel 9 Team wrote:

     the DOS days, and thought it'd make an interesting thread here on Channel9.
    Who else here lives predominantly in a command-line interface?



    I think Windows' command-line interface is so _crap_ (if you have ever used UNIX systems) that it's much easier use GUI.
    DOS makes me cry Crying
  • ericch1ericch1 NX-01, powered by .NET?
    I am definitely one of those who love the command line. Yes the GUI is nice, but sometimes the command prompt is just easier and faster. There definitely is no "DOS days" in my opinion. The command prompt has always been there and should always be there in the future too.
  • ZippyVZippyV Fired Up
    Don't forget the tab-key for command completion
  • amgamg
    Ah, I must be getting old. I was raised in DOS...if it werent' for DOS, I wouldn't be able to type so fast (Sorry MS, I started with IBM PC-DOS 2.0). Wink
    But, I can totally relate to Michael on this.  There are many times I find myself dropping to a command-line so I can run xcopy" to move a bunch of folders from one place to another.  Some more modern tasks I still do solely from the command-line...e.g. ipconfig, netstat, just to name a couple...

    I gave up on the command-line as a primary interface sometime around 1997...but I was a hard one to convert to Windows 95.  Wink
  • Bogusrabin wrote:

    I think Windows' command-line interface is so _crap_ (if you have ever used UNIX systems) that it's much easier use GUI.


    Dude, just wait for MONAD to hit your desktop. The new shell is going to be sweet.

    Or sign up for beta testing if you can't wait. Check this thread: http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=5648#5648

    /Lars.
  • lars wrote:


    Dude, just wait for MONAD to hit your desktop. The new shell is going to be sweet.



    Yes, I have heard of it.
    It will not hit MY desktop because I don't use Windows, but MSH is very nice and expected addition to Windows I think.

    But guys who cries after DOS ... *uhh*
  • a-nickha-nickh about to zap myself (again). when it ran inside

    the best thing about the command line is that most new functionality is accessable reliably from the command line before a UI gets written for it. also, you don't have to wait for the display to refresh to start the next thing you want to do. just type the command, hit enter, type the next one, hit enter, etc. all while the first one is still running. if you want to keep any errors in a error log, just add 2>>errors.log to the end of the command line.

    and my personal favorite... environment variable substring replacement. definitely enables some seriously cool capabilities. gui's can only emulate the command line, but never fully duplicate.


    and as far as dos goes, i never wrote batch files until cmd.exe. none of my batch files even work on os'es older than 2k. (and even 2k doesnt run most of them without some changes.) cmd.exe is definitely a lot more powerful than dos ever even dreamed of being.

    favorite command? latest directory enumeration:
    for /F "delims=\ tokens=*" %%I in ('Dir /tc /ad /od /B %_GET_LATEST%') do if %%I GTR !_CUR_TOP! set _CUR_TOP=%%I
    followed closely by my show all menu commands subroutine:

    for %%I in (%AROOTOPTS::=%) Do echo. &set CMDITERCOUNT=%%I&call :NewGetOptions %%I numopts
    echo.


    it lists the 60 or so commands i handle in my utility cli menu script, by menu. why you ask? the ability to configure the debugger, install windows, log in, install private drivers, set up gflags, etc. and start stress on 20 or so machines, with a single mouse click, from home. yea it took a while to write the script, but i have saved more hours of manual configuration in the last couple years as a result, than there are hours since I was born 24 years ago. so it was worth it, IMHO.

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