Favorite CLI Tools

In software development, the command line is the equivalent of a wizard’s staff. These CLI tools saved me heaps of time and I find them generally a joy to work with.

It’s all about sharing the love and the magic, and maybe you’ll find a new favorite or two. Let me know if you have an invaluable CLI tool that you can’t live without.

bat - a cat(1) clone with wings

I love this. It’s a drop-in replacement for cat that adds syntax highlighting, Git integration and lots more. It’s written in Rust and is blazing fast. sharkdp/bat: A cat(1) clone with wings.

How to use bat

To glance at a file using bat, simply provide the path:

bat /path/to/your/file

The syntax highlighting and file-specific metadata make bat a joy to use, ensuring you can inspect code and text files efficiently and with finesse.

Homebrew - The missing package manager for macOS

It’s simply a must-have for every Mac user. Whether it’s installing a new programming language, a database server, or the latest web framework, Homebrew streamlines the process, taking out the need for locating and manually downloading software.

The brew command

Working with Homebrew is straightforward:

brew update
brew install <package>

Homebrew also handles dependencies, ensuring that your software stack remains tidy and up-to-date with a simple command. Plus, with over 4,800 official packages and a thriving community of contributors, you’re sure to find everything you need.

httpie - HTTP client for the command line

Making HTTP requests from the command line has never been more elegant than with httpie. It simplifies interaction with APIs and web services, offering a user-friendly interface and an eye-pleasing HTTP request syntax colorization.

Crafting requests with httpie

A basic GET request:

https httpie.io/hello


    "ahoy": [
        "Hello, World! 👋 Thank you for trying out HTTPie 🥳",
        "We hope this will become a friendship."
    "links": {
        "discord": "https://httpie.io/discord",
        "github": "https://github.com/httpie",
        "homepage": "https://httpie.io",
        "twitter": "https://twitter.com/httpie"

And the response is structured, formatted, and legible. httpie also supports POST, PUT, DELETE requests, authentication, and other advanced features. It’s a great alternative to curl.

jq - Command-line JSON processor

jq is a sed-like tool that parses, manipulates, and displays JSON objects from the comfort of the command line. It excels at selectively filtering and transforming complex JSON data, which is a common task when working with APIs and backend services.

Transforming with jq

Filtering results:

https httpie.io/hello | jq "{links}"

This will present just the links from the JSON response. jq is nice for quickly juggling JSON data.

lando - Local development environment and DevOps tool built on Docker containers

For local development, lando is a mighty ally. It configures and manages Docker-based development environments, providing an abstraction layer that spares developers the mundanity of configuring development Docker environments and installing necessary tools and software versions.

A lando starter

Creating a Wordpress site:

lando init --recipe wordpress

And with that simple command, you’re on your way to local Wordpress development with a containerized environment. lando integrates with other tools such as composer, npm, and gulp to streamline development workflows. It’s an excellent tool for building, testing, and deploying applications locally. One of the most powerful features is the ability to define multiple environments in a single configuration file (e.g. local, staging, production) that can be easily switched between.

ohmyzsh - Delightful framework for managing your zsh configuration

ohmyzsh transforms the already powerful zsh into a feature-rich and stylish terminal environment. With themes, plugins, and an active community contributing enhancements, ohmyzsh makes the terminal experience more personal and productive.

ohmyzsh also comes packed with a variety of plugins that add new features to zsh, such as an auto-suggestion tool and syntax highlighting, making it even more powerful. These can be easily enabled or disabled through the ~/.zshrc file as well.

rbenv - Ruby Version Manager

For managing multiple Ruby environments, rbenv is a vital cog. It allows for per-project Ruby versions, which is a blessing when working on legacy software that demands older Ruby interpreters alongside the current releases.

Balancing Ruby versions

Selecting a Ruby version for your project:

rbenv local 3.3.0

This indicates that the local project should use Ruby 3.3.0, leaving others unaffected by the change. When executing bundle command, or any other code that requires a Ruby environment, rbenv will use the specified version. This keeps developers from experiencing surprises when their global Ruby version is updated, and your project breaks.

zsh-autosuggestions - Completions for zsh

zsh users will find zsh-autosuggestions a game-changer. This tool offers context-aware auto-completion, predicting your command line needs with eerie accuracy, and saving precious keystrokes in the process.

Simply start typing a command and, based on your history, zsh-autosuggestions will begin offering predictions. You can cycle through suggestions with the right arrow key or accept one with the tab key.