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15 Command-Line Tools to Make You Better at Shell & CLI

zaiste profile image Zaiste Originally published at zaiste.net ・4 min read

Shell is the essential tool for every programmer. The more familiar you become with the available tools, the more efficient you can be with using your computer. Here's a list of command-line tools that aim to provide modern, often much faster, alternatives to the existing shell commands. These tools will boost your skill at shell.

bat

bat is a cat clone with syntax highlighting and Git integration that works on Windows, MacOS and Linux. It provides syntax highlighting for many file extensions by default.

bat

GitHub

exa

exa is a modern replacement for ls, the default command-line program in Unix/Linux for listing directory contents. exa supports icons with the --icons flag.

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GitHub

fd

fd is a fast and user-friendly alternative to find, the built-in command-line program in Unix/Linux for walking a file hierarchy. fd provides opinionated defaults for the most common use cases. To find a specific file by name, you write fd PATTERN instead of find -iname ‘*PATTERN*’. fd is also extremely fast and it comes with a ton of options like ignoring hidden directories, files and patterns from .gitignore by default.

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GitHub

procs

procs is a modern replacement for ps, the default command-line program in Unix/Linux for getting information about processes. It provides convenient, human-readable (and colored) output format by default.

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GitHub

sd

sd is an intuitive find & replace command-line tool, it is an alternative to sed, the built-in command-line program in Unix/Linux for parsing and transforming text. sd has simpler syntax for replacing all occurrences and it uses the convenient regex syntax that you already know from JavaScript and Python. sd is also 2x-11x faster than sed.

sed is a programmable text editor, with search and replace being a common use case. In that light, sd is more like tr, but on steroids. (thanks /u/oleid for the suggestion).

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GitHub

dust

dust is a more intuitive version of du, the built-in command-line program in Unix/Linux for displaying disk usage statistics. By default dust sorts the directories by size.

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GitHub

starship

The minimal, blazing-fast, and infinitely customizable prompt for any shell.

Website

ripgrep

ripgrep is an extremely fast alternative to grep, the built-in command-line program in Unix/Linux for searching files by pattern. ripgrep is a line-oriented search tool that recursively searches your current directory for a regex pattern. By default, ripgrep respects .gitignore and automatically skips hidden files, directories and binary files.

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GitHub

tokei

tokei is a program that displays statistics about your code. It shows the number of files, total lines within those files and code, comments, and blanks grouped by language.

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GitHub

hyperfine

hyperfine is a command-line benchmarking tool. Among many features, it provides statistical analysis across multiple runs, support for arbitrary shell commands, constant feedback about the benchmark progress and current estimates and more.

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GitHub

ytop

ytop is an alternative to top, the built-in command-line program in Unix/Linux for displaying information about processes.

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GitHub

tealdeer

tealdeer is a very fast implementation of tldr, a command-line program for displaying simplified, example based and community-driven man pages.

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GitHub

bandwhich

bandwhich is a CLI utility for displaying current network utilization by process, connection and remote IP or hostname.

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GitHub

grex

grex is a command-line tool and library for generating regular expressions from user-provided test cases.

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GitHub

zoxide

zoxide is a blazing fast autojumper, intended to completely replace the cd command. It allows you to change directories without typing out the entire path name.

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GitHub

Bonus: nushell

nushell is a new type of shell, written in Rust. Its goal is to create a modern shell alternative that's still based on the Unix philosophy, but adapted to the current era. It supports piping and filtering in a way similar to awk and sed with a column view so that you can combine operations like in SQL. (thanks /u/matu3ba for the suggestion).

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GitHub

Have I missed an interesting command-line tool? Let me know on Twitter.

Posted on by:

zaiste profile

Zaiste

@zaiste

Software Engineer. I teach programming on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ohzaiste

Discussion

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Nice article!
I already switched to bat and ripgrep, but I just added fd and procs as alias to my zshrc.
Not so sure about about sd or exa, as I use lsd and like sed as is.
grex seems very nice, I don't know if I have a use case for it.

I think you should provide links to those programs, that's the only thing you missed.

 

More than make you better, it seems these tools will just make your life easier. Also, why is thefuck not on the list? :D

 

I had a few of these already, so was interested by other alternatives (like procs, which is great), but initially didn't bother with tealdeer because "tldr is fine". Just gave it a go and let out an audible "oh" because it's so much faster. Thanks for the article!

 

These tools display more colors indeed.

They don't make you better, but they are useful.

We should keep in mind that most tools used out there in scripts are the one created decades ago.

 
 

Awesome tools, thank you for that. I can suggest another which name is docker-shell to the list. It is a command line prompt for docker, with command & port suggestions with image search capability.

github.com/Trendyol/docker-shell

 

I was not interested in this list of tools, but I respect it.

 

Great list but the link to bandwhich is missing.

 
 
 

I’ll try some of these!
I have also hear of bashtop and seems nice
These days I navigate directories with fzf

 

could you please share your cli configuration? 🙂
that font and theme looks super clean ❤ 👍

 

Great job @zaiste ! The list is excellent and much appreciated.

 
 
 
 
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