Codecademy “Learn the Command Line” notes

This course would be more accurately titled “Learn Bash” though the beginner audience wouldn’t necessarily understand that title. Most of it is broadly applicable to the various command line shells used in Unix & relatives, but some parts are specific to Bash. It’s fine: most Linux distributions default to Bash, and it’s close enough to the command line of the Mach+BSD blend that underlies modern MacOS.

Neither Microsoft’s legacy DOS command line nor the newer PowerShell are mentioned.

The course is a very brief overview of the basics.

  • File system hierarchy traversal
  • File manipulation and management
  • Some of the common command line tools like “grep” and “cat”
  • Trivial Bash environment customization via .bash_profile

The organization of the class is a little different. Most of Codecademy are set up to first teach a concept then ask the student to try it themselves in the class environment. The command line class is the opposite: it asks the student to type in things before explaining what just happened.

I am comfortable learning by hands-on tinkering. After I followed the instructions and typed in stuff like a trained monkey, I stopped and tried to guess what I just did before reading the answer. I believe retain the information better if I successfully reason out the logic during this guessing period.

But it doesn’t fit in the standard Codecademy template so it comes across as a little odd. I personally prefer it but I can understand if some people would not.

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