Getting Started with 🍦.11ty.js, Part II: Using Your Terminal

This is the second post in a five-part series on “Getting Started with 🍦.11ty.js”

Accessing Your Terminal

Every operating system (Windows, macOS, Linux, etc.) comes with a text-based command line interface (CLI, console, or terminal) to enter commands you want your computer to run. The CLI is a powerful tool for interacting with your personal workstation beyond the graphical user interface (GUI) with which you may be more familiar. Of course, if you’ve ever used a computer without a mouse or touchpad, then you might feel right at home in the command line.

Intead of “pointing and clicking” with a mouse or touchpad 🖱️, you can “talk” to your computer from your keyboard ⌨️.

No doubt, pointing and other gestures come in handy sometimes, but they sound rather impolite in many cultural contexts when you think about it. Granted, keyboard commands are still rather bossy (that’s just the nature of the human–computer relationship at the moment). In any case, keyboard commands are a really expressive and efficient way to accomplish a lot of tasks that are often outside the reach of the GUI.

Here’s a list of the command line tools that come preinstalled with some of the most popular operating systems:

If you’re on Windows, then I’ll assume you’re able to access the newer Linux-based Windows Terminal for entering commands.

Entering Commands

Now that you have an idea of how useful your terminal is and how to access it, you can start learning your way around the command line interface.

Some of the most important skills to learn involve listing the contents of a folder or “directory” and moving from one directory to another. Many commands depend on the directory in which you happen to be working at the time.

You can use the ls command to list the files in the current “working directory.”

Likewise, you can use the cd command the change from one directory to another:

Typing only cd will change to the top-level directory in your directory tree (often referred to as your home 🏡 directory).

To go down ⬇️ 📂 from the current directory to one inside it, you can type cd followed by the name of the directory you want to open. For example, cd Downloads.

To go up ⬆️ 📂 from the current directory to another one outside it, you can type cd ../. This command will go up one level from the current directory, for example, from Downloads back up to the directory from which you just came.

You can repeat the sequence ../ as many times as you need. Say you wanted to go up two levels: you could type cd ../../.

Once you’re comfortable listing a directory’s contents and moving from one directory to another, you have all the basic command line skills you’ll need to start setting up your local development environment.