[TUHS] Systematic approach to command-line interfaces

Michael Siegel msi at malbolge.net
Sun Aug 1 04:56:09 AEST 2021

Am Sat, 31 Jul 2021 10:30:18 -0700
schrieb Anthony Martin <ality at pbrane.org>:

> Michael Siegel <msi at malbolge.net> once said:
> > So, I've prepared a bit of a write-up, pondering on the pros and
> > cons of two different ways of having task-specific tool sets
> > (non-hierarchical command sets vs. sub-commands) that is available
> > at
> >
> >   https://www.msiism.org/files/doc/unix-like_command-line_interfaces.html
> >
> > I tend to think the sub-command approach is better. But I'm neither
> > a UI nor a Unix expert and have no formal training in computer
> > things. So, I thought this would be a good place to ask for comment
> > (and get some historical perspective).  
> You're missing the approach taken in Plan 9 (and
> 10th edition Unix): put related commands in a
> directory and use a shell that doesn't restrict
> the first argument of a command to a single path
> element.
> This lets you execute commands like:
> 	auth/as
> 	disk/prep
> 	git/rebase
> 	ip/ping
> 	ndb/dns
> 	upas/send
> without having a prefix on every command name or
> single large binaries with every command linked
> in as subcommands.

Thanks for pointing this out. I had no idea.

Unfortunately(?), I'm looking to make my life easier on more "Unix-like
Unix-like systems" (for want of a better term), for the time being
(Linux, BSD, maybe illumos). (I mean, which shell would I use to
accomplish this on Unix?) And, as has already been pointed out, this
approach doesn't allow for global command options before sub-commands,
which pretty much defeats the sub-command approach altogether UI-wise,
I'd say.

Unrelated: I'm still having some technical difficulties with this list,
namely that I don't receive any mail sent to it. (I'm using the Web
archive to keep track of what's happening.) So, for me to be able to
reply to a particular message, it would also have to be sent directly
to me. Sorry for the inconvenience. The problem is already being
worked on.


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