Command-line Applications

Command-line applications, also referred to as Console Applications, are computer programs designed to be used from a text interface, such as a shell. Command-line applications usually accept various inputs as arguments, often referred to as parameters or sub-commands, as well as options, often referred to as flags or switches.

Some popular command-line applications include:

  • Grep - A plain-text data search utility
  • curl - A tool for data transfer with URL syntax
  • httpie - A command line HTTP client, a user-friendly cURL replacement
  • git - A distributed version control system
  • mercurial - A distributed version control system primarily written in Python


clint is a Python module which is filled with very useful tools for developing command-line applications. It supports features such as; CLI colors and indents, simple and powerful column printer, iterator based progress bars and implicit argument handling.


click is an upcoming Python package for creating command-line interfaces in a composable way with as little code as possible. This “Command-line Interface Creation Kit” is highly configurable but comes with good defaults out of the box.


docopt is a lightweight, highly Pythonic package that allows creating command-line interfaces easily and intuitively, by parsing POSIX-style usage instructions.


Plac is a simple wrapper over the Python standard library argparse, which hides most of its complexity by using a declarative interface: the argument parser is inferred rather than written down by imperatively. This module targets especially unsophisticated users, programmers, sys-admins, scientists and in general people writing throw-away scripts for themselves, who choose to create a command-line interface because it is quick and simple.


Cliff is a framework for building command-line programs. It uses setuptools entry points to provide subcommands, output formatters, and other extensions. The framework is meant to be used to create multi-level commands such as subversion and git, where the main program handles some basic argument parsing and then invokes a sub-command to do the work.