Lesson Weekend

Alright! You should now have a text editor ready to go! Next, we'll explore another tool our project requires.

While developing our project we'll need to run commands in something called a command line. If this is one of your first experiences coding, you may not be familiar with the command line. That's totally alright! This brief lesson will cover what this is, where to find it, and how to use it.

If you're already familiar and comfortable with command line, feel free to advance to the next lesson. (But we also think it'd be awesome if you used your experience to give your peers a hand using it!)

Graphical User Interface

We often access computer programs through their Graphical User Interface or GUI, for short. This is simply the visual and/or graphic component of a computer program.

For instance, word processing software generally offers a GUI with whitespace for us to type in, a cursor to indicate where we're typing, and a variety of buttons, menus, and options to format our work. This is a GUI. And you've probably navigated through the folders and files on your device using tools Finder on a Mac or Explore on Windows. This is also a GUI.

The Terminal

However, when we are coding we often use our computer's terminal interface. The terminal is a text-based interface that allows users to interact with the computer by entering text-only commands on a command line.

Accessing the Terminal

Let's walk through how to access your Terminal program and the command line it contains.

Mac

On a Mac, the Terminal application is located in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder. You may also locate the Terminal by clicking the magnifying glass icon at the upper right corner of the screen and typing "Terminal". Go ahead and do this now.

Windows

Windows uses a Terminal program as well, but a Terminal with all the capabilities we'll require is not installed by default. Thankfully, we can easily download and install a Terminal program that does fit our needs.

There are many options available, but we recommend using a terminal program called git bash. You can download this free program at msysgit.github.io. Go ahead and do this now.

The Prompt

When you first open the terminal program, you should see a short snippet of text followed by a grey or blinking rectangle. This rectangle is your cursor. Where the cursor is located is the command line itself. This is where we will type and execute commands.

The snippet of text left of the cursor is the command line prompt. This prompt contains some brief contextual information, such as the user account you're currently logged into the computer with, and your current location. For our purposes, we don't need to worry about the prompt right now.

Make sure to keep your command line window open! We'll continue using it for the duration of our workshop today.

Great! Now that we have our terminal and command line ready to go, we can begin using it to initialize and configure our project in the next lesson.