This week I have been inching through a crash course on using the command line interface (CLI.) Inching because with a full time job, I only have a moment to work on my burgeoning computer skills at night. Some days I have so much to grade and prepare for my students I do not get a chance to work on my prerequisite skills at all. According to its author, this crash course was supposed to take 1-2 days. One week later I am half way through.
This causes me to panic a little bit. But then I remember that software camp does not start until March. I still have time.
I have noticed while working through the course that two things make using the CLI difficult. First you have to be aware of where you are. The directories (folders) of a computer are like the branches of a great tree. You must be adept at swinging from branch to branch. But it is all too easy to forget where you are and where you were trying to go. It is almost as if you must swing from branch to branch, keeping a log in your memory of every branch you swung on so that you can get back home in one piece.
The other thing that is difficult about the command line is remembering all the commands. Some are intuitive and obvious. For example mkdir will make a directory. But some of the commands are not obvious. For example popd and touch do not give any hint at their function.
So what’s a girl to do?
Answer: Make mnemonic haikus of course!
I’ve decided to make a series of haikus to help me remember the trickier commands. The process of writing these haiku forces me to engage with the commands and summarize them in 17 syllables. This process really encourages me to think about the essence of the command and what it does so that I can distill it into the rarified form of haiku.
Here are the three that I have written so far. More will follow as I complete the crash course. Enjoy.
The forest for trees!
You need directories to
Find the path and see.
Title: One Step Forward…
To move through the stack
Push and pop d will do that
One moves, one brings back.
Type touch to make new
Empty files that bring you,
A place for your thoughts.