Huzzah! Yesterday my book, Working the Command Line was published by A Book Apart, and of course I want to tell you all about it!


I've published 38 videos for new developers, designers, UX, UI, product owners and anyone who needs to conquer the command line today.

Working the command line

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ Who is the book for?

The book is about the command line and the terminal and aimed squarely at the beginner audience wanting to learn about the command line. I imagine the reader is a designer or front end developer that has probably dabbled a bit in the terminal, but really isn't too comfortable and is interested in learning more.

It's possible you're not the audience because you've followed my blog for a long time and you're already awesome at all the code things, but, before you take off, I'm sure you know web people that could benefit, so go buy it!

Is the book Mac specific? …is a question I've had a few times. It's true that I use a Mac and a lot of the key combinations I mention will be Mac specific, but it does try to cater for Windows, but now Windows has BASH then there's a lot more support (if not 100%) for the commands and tools I write about.

πŸ’ About

The book is a gentle approach but will span over many topics, start with navigating your computer in the terminal, to tricks and shortcuts, to installing software, to string manipulation techniques (which the command line is perfect for), to techniques on "how to shoot yourself in the foot" and finally how to customise your terminal.

It's a brief ebook (only available as ebook mind, no dead tree versions I'm afraid), 81 pages in total and a steal for $8!

πŸ‘€ Give us a preview

Well, the book is 81 pages, so a preview could easily be 20% of the actual book, but here's a tip from the book that I rather like.

In the terminal, to re-use the last argument of the statement, you use !$ known as pling dollar. The origins of "pling" are beyond me, but there's some documentation knocking about.

So you can do (where $ is the command prompt):

$ curl > commit.txt
$ cat !$

This command will cat out the contents of commit.txt in the example above.

πŸ‘΄ What was the experience like?

Well, firstly I told myself that writing a book was super hard, and I wouldn't do it again after Introducing HTML5 (which is only to say that I'm a slow writer). I started the book back in Feb 2015 and it finally got be published in Dec 2016!!!

The A Book Apart team that I worked with, Katel LeDu and Caren Litherland did an amazing job to edit my raw and sometimes (yeah…often) ramblings into something much more digestible (and edited all my "colours" to colors which did make a puppy die somewhere in England!).

I'm very proud that the book cover is ginger too, the final colour was chosen by my son when I asked him which colour he preferred. I also recorded every commit via lolcommits which looks like this!

Sorry, super distracting animated gif!

What was particularly flattering for me, was firstly the foreword that Jeremy Keith so kindly wrote, and secondly the early blurbs that were collected. I am kind of amazed that these people read the book and more so that they had such nice things to say πŸ’•

πŸŽ₯ But wait, there's more…

I'm also working on a complementary video series to the book over at I'm two sections in, again, aimed squarely at the same audience with (estimated) about 3.5 hours of material. If you're interested in getting first notification when this is complete, sign up for mailing list below (it's currently dormant but will post about courses and content).

Oh, also, go buy πŸ‘‰πŸ“™ Working the Command Line πŸ™πŸ‘πŸ˜