Quần Cam Blog

UX for CLI app

As a terminal lover, I always want to get everything done on my terminal, instead of switching to browser or an external app. I personally built up a couple of CLI apps for my personal use (checkout worque and 3llo).

I think every computer software needs UX, as long as it interacts with users. So as a user and a developer, here are the experience I would love to see in an ideal CLI app.

I wish not to touch my mouse

Some people likes using terminal app because they want to avoid using mouses as much as possible. Perhaps you think they are paranoid because mouse is one of the best inventions in the computer era. But yes, note that when you design an CLI app for other people.

Do not mess up my environment variables

I have to admit environment variable is a handy way to start up a CLI app development. You will see how much I love using them in my CLI apps too. But one thing, be careful with naming because your environment variables could crash with other CLI apps that share the same name like yours. That’s a kaboom.

Make sure you have --help

And keep it human readable and up-to-date. CLI users are supposed to be decently comfortable with terminal, not all of us are professional hackers though.

I expect a setup instruction

Let’s say your app needs some sort of API tokens to get working, make sure your documentation covers the instruction of how to get them, best with a link and some screenshots.

And most importantly, NEVER TRACK user behaviors

Yes, this is the BEST part of using an CLI app.

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