What is a CLI app?

Created Jan 15, 2024Last modified Jan 15, 2024

A CLI app, or Command Line Interface app, is a type of software application that interacts with users through a text-based interface in a command-line environment.

Instead of using a graphical user interface (GUI) with buttons and menus, users interact with a CLI app by typing commands into a terminal or command prompt.

Key characteristics:

  1. Text-Based Interface: CLI apps present information and receive commands in plain text form. Users interact by typing commands and receiving text-based responses.

  2. Efficiency: CLI apps are often preferred for their efficiency, especially for tasks that involve automation, scripting, or repetitive operations.

  3. Scripting and Automation: CLI apps are well-suited for scripting and automation because they can be easily integrated into scripts and workflows, allowing users to automate complex tasks.

  4. Resource Efficiency: CLI apps typically use fewer system resources compared to GUI apps since they don't need to render graphical elements.

Examples of CLI apps include text editors like Vim or Nano, system administration tools, version control systems like Git, package managers like apt or yum, and various programming language interpreters.

While CLI apps might have a steeper learning curve for users unfamiliar with command-line interfaces, they offer powerful capabilities, scripting possibilities, and are widely used in server environments, development workflows, and system administration tasks.