The Terminal: Stop Clicking. Start Doing.

Even though I grew up using MS Dos, I’m not used to navigating by typing anymore.  I’m from the point-and-click generation. I think I start to salivate when I hear the click and see the gear spinning.

So when my mentors told me I would need to use the Terminal in order to be a web developer, I rebelled.  I started calling it ‘The Terminator.’  I avoided it like the plague.  I tried all kinds of hacks to get around the Terminal.  But that energy was distracting me from being able to learn the content of the class.  It turns out the hack I most needed is an old-fashioned Terminal cheat sheet like this one so I can look up any command I need.

I also learned a few of the basics through a short Command Line Tutorial class (like this one from Team Treehouse). This has been very useful over recent weeks, helping me to focus on the web development and stop tripping over the file folders.  It came in very handy when I used VIM to set up a server on my computer.  And it really is fast.

Closing Thought:

As I learned at The C0dEd this semester, it is said that ancient Coders could code an entire website on their Macs without once clicking.

I seek to become one of these coders.


Culture Shock

IMG_0441When I say coding is ‘overwhelming’, I’m aware that this description is not very specific. There are so many things about coding that are overwhelming, and not just the ‘language barrier.’ I’m in brand new territory, filled with all kinds of new entities, new programs, new means of navigating around the screen, new means of breaking my computer without meaning to…

Here’s a sampling of some of the new programs I’ve needed to download/learn since I’ve started coding:

  • The Terminal — allows for navigating around your computer’s file structure and creating/modifying files using only keystrokes. Has its own language, with commands similar to the MS Dos commands I used growing up.
  • VIM — a pre-mouse text editor program. Has its own interface.
  • Sublime Text — a text editor program, probably the one used most in the coding world.
  • FileZilla — app that allows you to connect to both a local and remote repository in order to upload files to your website.
  • GitHub — website that allows multiple people to work on a project at once and take it in different directions.
  • GitHub app — helps users manage and upload local changes to GitHub website.
  • Go Daddy’s phpMyAdmin — SQL database manager that lets you view, create, and edit data structures on the back end of your website
  • Stackoverflow.com — The wiki-answers of the coding world! Any question you’ve ever asked has already been asked and tackled on stackoverflow.com.

Looking at this list, you’d think my Number One problem would be not knowing how to use these applications.  And yes, that is definitely an issue.

But it’s really irrelevant because I can’t even remember my password for half of these!  Every one wants a different number of characters, a different number of capital letters, no letters at all. …  Yeah.  I am so screwed.

The Terminator

Using the Terminal is an essential aspect of being a software developer.  It reminds me a lot of MS Dos Prompt; in fact, a lot of the commands are identical to the ones I learned for Dos as a child.

However, that was then, and this is now.  Somewhere between age 10 and 12, my family got our first mouse. It seemed to me lie such a strange device when I could simply type in cosmo.exe in MS Dos.  This was back when mice had three buttons on top and tons of lint to clean out of the insides every few days.  But we adjusted.  And soon it was just the norm.

Skip to 2013, and now I am used to pointing and clicking.  I don’t want to type commands when I could just click.  I am terrified of the Terminal.  Or, as I have dubbed it, The Terminator.


I’m not sure what’s scarier — all that white, unclickable space, or that giant rectangular cursor — the lidless eye, never blinking, always looking to me to make the next move.  I think seasoned programmers chose the font just to make this feel even more alien.  “New programmers, turn back!”  &c.

I will not be so easily deterred.