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How To Use Command Prompt

ameliaruzek profile image Amelia Ruzek ・3 min read

Search for Command Prompt and open the application.

Usually tutorials about web development say something about “terminal” “command line” “command prompt” “bash” “shell” and then say something about “run this command” etc…

The first thing to know is that all these applications are very similar and serve similar functions. There ARE differences, but for a beginner, you don’t really need to worry about it. If you’re on a Windows computer, use Command Prompt as the application.

Sometimes they’ll tell you to download Node.js first, and if you have done so, you’ll probably see another application show up in the search called Node.js Command Prompt. That’s fine — either one is fine.

Does white text on a black background make you feel like you’re definitely going to accidentally break your computer?

Click on the thumbnail icon at the top left of the application, then select properties.

Color

Move to the colors tab and make it pink or purple or customize it any way you choose, then click “ok”

Help

Next up, type help. When you do this all of the default commands will be shown like a little dictionary.

help

If you’re planning to use Command Prompt for web development, then the only important commands listed here are cd and maybe mkdir.

The other commands you’ll use are additional ones that you download such as the node command, git command, and either yarn or npm commands.

Try it out

Ok, let’s try out cd first. The help dictionary said that cd will display the name of the directory or change the directory. What it doesn’t say is that cd only moves forward through directories. To move backward, you’ll need to use cd..
Since usually Command Prompt defaults to the directory of your Windows user profile, you’ll probably see something like this:

C:\Users\yourName>

Type cd.. and it will change to
C:\Users>

Then type cd yourName to move it back to the directory that you were in.

Open that same directory using File Explorer (the folder GUI). Click through the folders/directories. Do you see “Users” and the folder “yourName”? Keep the File Explorer open on one side, and on the other side user Command Prompt to type mkdir HelloWorld
Wow! There’s a new folder there now called “HelloWorld”

Wait…why does Command Prompt exist? What’s the point?

Websites used to take a really long time to set up. But with custom commands that you can download like the way that Node.js downloads the custom command npm , you can create websites and other things really quickly.

If you’ve already downloaded Node.js, you can type npm -l to see its dictionary of additional commands.

These commands are very useful for when you are downloading packages of existing scripts and helper frameworks for web development.

Not sure where to start?

I’m guessing you’re here because you know some basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and you’d like to become a front-end developer, but all of the tutorials about frameworks and scripts have command line in their tutorials.

If that’s you, and you’re looking for an easy framework to learn, I recommend starting with Vue.

Follow these instructions https://cli.vuejs.org/guide/installation.html to get started, and good luck! You can do this!!

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ameliaruzek profile

Amelia Ruzek

@ameliaruzek

designer, developer, and grad student of digital media design

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