Becoming a Command Line Ninja

About me

  • Patrick Childs
  • Associate Global Tech ops Engineer at tigerspike
  • Terminal Junky
  • Really lazy
  • Like REALLY lazy
  • Hates typing
  • Hate mice even more

Why use the Terminal

  • Fast, and accurate
  • Mice suck
  • Allows scripting, which reduces repetition and thus mistakes
  • String commands together to fit your workflow
  • Unix Philosophy: Do one thing and do it well


![Finding the largest folder modified within 30 days](./CommandLineFu/Images/Largest folders modified in the last 30 days.png)

How to Git Gud with the CLI

Learn CoreUtils

  • cat
  • Grep
  • sed
  • find

Learn to modify data

  • head
  • tail
  • awk
  • Everything is a list of strings

Learn to use the Shell

![img](./CommandLineFu/Images/My Shell.png “My Shell”)

  • BASH and ZSH are shells
  • It’s what you interact with

Shell shortcuts

  • Directory stack

    • pushd
    • popd
  • History searching

  • Parameter history

    • !$
    • !2
    • sudo !!

Stop repeating yourself

  • Learn to script
  • If you do it once, that’s already too many times
  • Do it now so you can be lazy later

Find hackable programs

  • Means you can modify them to how *you want

Programs like

  • Ripgrep
  • FZF
  • Vim
  • Ranger
  • Tmux
  • FASD
  • Taskwarrior

Programs to use


  • Source code searcher
  • Like grep, ack and the silver searcher
  • Super fast
  • Ignores .git
  • Ignores based on .gitignore and .ignore files


  • Fuzzy searcher
  • Takes any line delimited input on STDIN
  • Prints selected to STDOUT
  • Without STDIN defaults to files
  • Great for scripts

FZF demo


  • CLI File explorer
  • Powerful and scriptable
  • Knows when to defer tasks to other programs
  • Bulk renaming through text editing
  • Searching through FZF

Ranger demo


  • Vim is old

  • Vim is different

  • Vim is amazing

  • Vim is old

    • Has it’s roots in an editor from the 1970s
  • Vim is different

    • It’s a modal editor

Reasons to use vim

  • It’s fast to startup
  • It’s fast to use
  • It uses almost no memory
  • You’re already in the terminal, why bother with GUI
  • Reduces key presses
  • Vim is a model editor
  • Based around the idea of making agnostic, atomic and repeatable changes

What the hell does that mean?

  • Surround this word with quotes
  • Delete 3 paragraphs
  • Swap every third word that matches what is in my clipboard

Vim plugins

  • Vim has at least 16000 plugins

    • More than Sublime, or Atom
  • Has own language called VimScript

  • Plugins that integrate with FZF and Ripgrep

  • Snippets


  • UltiSnippets is probably the best around
  • Python and Vimscript evaluation of default values

Which means you can have it fill in the blanks programatically

Vim demo


  • Frecencey fuzzy matching (frequency + recency)
  • F for files
  • A for All
  • S for interactive search
  • D for directories
  • Z for autojump to drectory

Fasd demo


  • Terminal multiplexer
  • Window manager for your terminal
  • Gives you windows, tabs, and sessions
  • Is scriptable, so you can make it create a workspace for a specific project


  • Hackable, extensible task management system

  • Scriptable, and plugin support

    • Bugwarrior - Email and Jira integration
  • Time tracking

  • Tags (many to many)

  • Projects (many to one)


  • Stop repeating yourself (make scripts)
  • Be lazy and hate typing
  • Find ways you can integrate everything
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things and put some elbow grease into a task