Essential Command Line Commands for Developers

The command line interface (CLI) is a powerful tool that developers can leverage to streamline their workflow and boost productivity. While graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are user-friendly, the command line offers a more efficient and flexible way to interact with your computer.

Here are some useful commands to keep in your developer toolbox:

  1. Navigating the File System:
    • cd <directory>: Change directory. Use this command to navigate between folders (add the directory path in the place of <directory>).
    • ls: List the contents of a directory. Add options like -l for a detailed list or -a to show hidden files.
    • pwd: Print working directory. Prints the file path of the directory you’re currently in.
  2. File Operations:
    • cp: Copy files or directories. Helpful for duplicating files (use cp <file> <directory> to copy a file to a directory – which can possibly overwrite files).
    • mv: Move or rename files and directories (to move files, use mv <file> <directory>, to rename a file, use mv <file-old> <file-new>).
    • rm: Remove files or directories (rm <file> for files or rm -r <directory> for directories). Exercise caution, as this command is irreversible.
    • mkdir <directory>: Create a directory (add the name of the directory in place of <directory>).
    • touch <file>: Create a file (add the file name in place of <file>).
  3. Text Manipulation:
    • cat <file>: Concatenate and display the content of files.
    • grep: Search for specific patterns in files.
    • sed: Stream editor for filtering and transforming text.
  4. File Inspection:
    • file: Determine the file type.
    • wc: Count words, lines, and characters in a file.
    • head and tail: Display the beginning or end of a file.
  5. System Information:
    • df: Display disk space usage.
    • free: Display amount of free and used memory.
    • top and htop: Show real-time system statistics.
  6. Version Control:
    • git: Essential for version control. Commands like git clone, git pull, git push, and more are crucial for collaborative development.
  7. Package Management:
    • npm or yarn (for Node.js): Manage packages and dependencies for JavaScript projects.
    • pip (for Python): Install Python packages effortlessly.
  8. Network-related Commands:
    • ping: Test the reachability of a host.
    • curl and wget: Download files from the web directly in the terminal.
  9. Process Management:
    • ps: Display information about active processes.
    • kill: Terminate a process. Use with caution.
  10. User and Permissions:
    • sudo: Execute a command with superuser privileges.
    • chown and chmod: Change ownership and permissions of files.

Mastering the command line is a key skill for developers. These essential commands empower developers to perform a wide range of tasks efficiently and are particularly valuable in server environments and automation scripts. As you become more comfortable with the command line, you’ll discover its potential for enhancing your development workflow and troubleshooting capabilities.

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