What is CLI and how to use it to automate processes in your business?

What is CLI? This software mechanism is available on both Linux and Windows systems and is used to issue commands to the system via text.

When implemented correctly, and combined with APIs, CLIs (Command-Line Interfaces) can help teams automate processes and improve their operational efficiency.

In today’s article, we’ll show you what CLI is, its benefits, and best tips for implementation. Check it out!

So, what is CLI?

Command-Line Interface, or CLI in short, is a software mechanism that allows users to interact with an application or system through text, in environments known as terminals.

In these terminals, users send text commands, often with arguments and options, to execute actions in the system. This allows them to perform a wide variety of tasks and automate processes.

CLIs, like APIs, are also very useful for accessing systems and data. The difference between them is that while the CLI is a consumer of information that can come from APIs, APIs act as the layer between the requester and the system.

For what purpose does CLI serve?
The Command-Line Interface serves to tell the system what to do based on its commands. Therefore, it can be applied to fulfill different purposes and scenarios, from software development and administration to network management.

Many people think that CLI can only be executed by experienced professionals with advanced levels of technical knowledge, but this is not true. Beginner professionals can also use and benefit from the mechanism; they just need to learn its functions and best use cases.

Benefits and advantages of using CLI
The CLI has a simple interface to work with, so it can be implemented quickly in the company. This convenience brings a series of benefits and advantages, starting with:

Operational efficiency: through a CLI, actions can be executed on various files or systems with a single text command. Additionally, it is also possible to create scripts to automate many processes, such as software installations and backups;

Simplified management: IT professionals can also send commands to the CLI to manage files, servers, and even to administer cloud environments remotely;

Problem-solving: it is also possible to use a CLI to quickly view system logs, which facilitates the identification of error messages and debugging information;

Memory optimization: with the simple command interface, the CLI tends to consume fewer computational resources (such as memory) than graphical interfaces. This benefits workstations, even if users need to perform complex or extensive tasks.

Applications in companies

Due to its flexibility, the CLI can be used in different scenarios and situations, such as software development.

Developers can resort to the CLI to compile, debug, and test their programs. Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), usually allow the use of command-line formatting, so professionals can use it to streamline the creation and enhancement of their software products.

Another application is related to systems administration. Administrators can use the CLI to manage environments and servers where the graphical interface may be absent or inaccessible. It allows installing and updating systems, monitoring resources, configuring platform parameters, and managing users, among other functions.

In addition to systems administration and software development, professionals can also use the CLI to control the company’s network. Through commands, it is possible to configure devices such as routers, firewalls, and servers, as well as to monitor traffic and troubleshoot connectivity issues.

Commands from the CLI can also be used to perform penetration tests that identify security vulnerabilities and analyze incidents.

In addition to the above applications, it is worth mentioning that the CLI can also be used to interact with cloud provider APIs and manage remote services and infrastructure. Interacting with APIs from other applications and systems can also be applied to perform repetitive actions without the need for access to the graphical interface.

Creating scripts in the CLI can also be used by users to increase consistency in IT operations since it eliminates the need for manual intervention in time-consuming and error-prone tasks, such as infrastructure configuration, application deployment, user access provisioning, among others.

Tips for adopting CLI usage

The Command-Line Interface is indeed simple, but to get the maximum potential for CLI usage, IT teams need to pay attention to the following practices:

Know the correct commands: Knowing which commands to use is important for the system to understand what needs to be done and execute the action as ordered. If you or another team member don’t know the correct commands, don’t panic. Do some research to understand what it does and how it should be applied.

Restrict CLI usage: As it involves using commands to the system, it is also important to restrict access control only to trusted professionals who understand CLI and can perform the system actions it provides. Lack of restriction can cause errors in command execution and consequently lead to system problems.

Keep the CLI updated: Another tip that cannot be neglected by the IT team is to keep the CLI always updated. CLIs, like systems and other software, are constantly evolving, and ensuring that you are using the most updated version is a good practice.

Record all activities: Keeping all CLI activities documented is very important for the team to detect bottlenecks, changes, and identify suspicious behavior in the system. These actions can contribute to the quick resolution of issues if something goes wrong.

Count on the right tools: The first step before adopting a CLI is to map/draw the process you want to automate and then evaluate if the systems that will be part of this automation have a CLI. Here it is important to mention that the preference for systems that provide this interface is crucial to simplify all automation processes.

DHuO API Plus is an API and Integration lifecycle management platform that provides a CLI for communication with existing automation processes in the company, such as CI/CD processes and DevOps practices.