With the recent years’ explosion of open source frameworks and wealth of new and brilliant platforms and tools, CLI (command line interface) has gained significant traction on Windows operating system, which was traditionally primarily associated with GUI tools, as opposed to Unix/Linux platforms for example where command line was the king.
Hand in hand with this trend many developers find themselves spending more time running commands from the command line writing applications on Ruby on Rails, Laravel, Django, automating tasks with Grunt, Gulp, scaffolding and generating skeletons with Yeoman and so on, and many developers using Windows still do it using the good (?) old (!) Windows Command Prompt (a.k.a cmd.exe).
Now don’t get me wrong, cmd.exe works just fine and if you insist it would even allow you to change the font size and color, however for anything more “complex” such as copy & paste (and yes, I’m being cynical here) – be prepared for serious frustration.
So what’s the alternative?
ConEmu is a console emulator which is sheer pleasure to work with. Not only does it provide basic functionality out of the box which puts cmd.exe to shame, it provides tab support, search, copy & paste just to name a few basic features you’d expect plus an incredible level of flexibility through configuration screens. Once you install it on your Windows machine you’ll never use cmd.exe again – I promise you.
ConEmu is very pleasing to the eye already out of the box, however via its extensive configuration options one can really personalize it to very fine grained level: color scheme, font size, cursor type, task bar appearance options and even a background image. Now how cool is that?
Some other noteworthy options include the ability to hide the common Windows Forms caption bar (and save some valuable screen real estate), setup hotkeys and macros, status bar display information, creating new tab with elevated privileges (“Run as Administrator”), spawn a new git bash or powershell prompt and even create your own quick launch tasks.
For me this neat tool greatly increased productivity and brought the fun back to CLI work on Windows, and hopefully this tip will help fellow CLI-ers.