The best way to make the most of our computers is entering a magical zone - the terminal. It allows to unlock the potential, inaccessible or hardly accessible from graphical user interface. Being a software developer or anyone professionally working with computers, it seems nearly inevitable not to spend a lot of time there. So what about making our lives easier and using some helpful tools? There are a lot of them and using them can really improve our workflow speed. Or simply make it funnier! 😄

I won’t talk about classic tools in this post - like man, top or ls. Let’s focus on some alternatives to those tools! They often provide extra functionality compared to commonly-used tools or simply make everyday work with command line cooler. 😎

📈 btop - an extended and prettier top

Have you ever used top to monitor your system? And maybe someone showed you htop as a better top? But let’s check out the next alternative - btop. It is an interactive and customizable visual resource monitor. In this app you can select display style, elements you want to monitor and even do things like sending signals to the processes. This app is definitely worth checking out!

screenshot from btop
Sample output from btop.

📚 tldr - a simplified version of man

tldr is a collection of community-maintained man pages for command-line tools. However, in contrast to classic man the output is simpler (and coloured!). This makes the tool more approachable and, in many cases, allows to get the answer quicker.

This application probably won’t replace man for many users, but it’s a great alternative when one wants to check app’s options roughly, without all details.

screenshot from tldr
Sample output from tldr.

🗂️ exa - a modern version of ls

Effective working with files and directories is strongly connected with displaying directories’ contents. Of course you can use ls (or ls with some options added) but there is also a modern tool that may replace this in everyday use, simultaneously making the output more visually appealing. exa can use colours, add icons to each entry or display git status. I personally have an alias with my favourite options set, to make it as simple in use as ls:

alias lsl="exa -l --icons --time-style=long-iso"
screenshot from exa
Sample output from exa.

🧮 scc - an extended version of cloc

The next tool - scc - counts the lines of code in a project. It can be used with many options (how about using tldr here? 😉) and provides estimations of the time required or cost to develop. The latter may seem rather like overestimations, but the app is still noteworthy.

screenshot from scc
Sample output from scc.

💽 duf - a prettier df alternative

Hard discs are getting bigger and bigger, however the lack of space is not a past bind. This app won’t magically increase the amount of memory available in your computer, but it will help you monitor it. It provides also a more human-readable output than df, so it may be a great choice for many users.

screenshot from duf
Sample output from duf.

🦇 bat - a cat(1) clone with wings

If you want to print or concatenate files, you’ll probably use cat. However, you can use a different app called bat and achieve nearly the same result. So why consider using it? For instance, you can benefit from syntax highlighting and less-style navigation. Intrigued? Maybe give it a chance.

screenshot from bat
Sample output from bat.

📜 procs - an easy ps

If you need to use a process viewer, maybe you can choose procs instead of ps? It displays processes with live updates and some colours. The app also makes searching and sorting very convenient, so it can be a great option for many day-to-day usages.

screenshot from procs
Sample output from procs.

🐕 dog - a dig alternative

dog is a command-line DNS client similar to dig. It has some colours added and can display output as JSON (which can easily be coloured with bat). The application gives a modern and clean output. If you need something like dig, check dog - it can also dig 😉.

screenshot from dog
Sample output from dog.

That’s it for this time. Can you believe you’ve been able to live without these tools? However, they are just a few among the dozens of great tools available! Therefore, more posts like this will likely appear in the future. If you enjoyed this one, be sure to make a note of this website and revisit it.

See you soon! 😸