That Will Boost Your Productivity

Handsome sitting at living room table, using laptop computer at home, smiling, looking at screen.

Well, since it’s all about files, there’s a good change you’ll want to see the contents of a file from the terminal sooner or later. There’s a few commands that will do this for you. First is short for “concatenate”, and this command does more than output file contents; however, that’s what we’ll look at here. It’s as simple as passing the command a file.

However, if the file is large, the contents will all scroll past you and you’ll be left at the bottom. Granted, you can scroll back up, but that’s lame.

Since you probably work with your fair share of frameworks libraries, you’ll often find yourself downloading these files as you work. Oh, I know: you can just download it from the web, navigate to the folder, uncompress it, and copy the pieces to your project, but doesn’t that sound like so much work? It’s much simpler to use the command line.

So, now you’re rocking command line downloads; however, there’s a really good chance that most of the things you download will be archived and gzipped, having an extension of .tar.gz (or, alternately, .tgz). So, what do you do with that? Let’s take a step back for a second and understand what exactly “archived and gzipped” means. You’re probably familiar with archives. You’ve seen .zip files; they’re one incarnation of archives. Basically, an archive is just a single file that wraps more than one file together. Often archives compress the files, so that the final file is smaller than the original ones together. However, you can still get a bit smaller by compressing the archive … and that’s where gzipping comes in. Gzipping is a form of compression.

Another thing you’ll do often as a web developer is change file permissions. There are three permissions you can set, and there are three classes that can receive those permissions. The permissions are readwrite, and execute; the classes are usergroup, and others. The user usually the owner of the file, the user that created the file. It’s possible to have groups of users, and the group class determines the permissions for the users in the group that can access the file. Predictably, the others class includes everyone else. Only the user (owner of the file) and the super user can change file permissions. Oh, and everything you’ve just read goes for directories as well.

So, how can we set these permissions? There are two ways to do it. First, you can do it with octal notation; this is a bit cryptic, but once you figure it out, it’s faster. Basically, execute gets 1 ‘point’, write gets 2, and read gets 4. You can add these up to give multiple permissions: read+write = 6, read+write+execute = 7, etc. So for each class, you’ll get this number, and line them up to get a three digit number for User, Group, and Others.

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