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"How" command line program

Almost like a FAQ, but for command lines.
  [vote for,

There is the man pages if you know a program, but don't know how to use it.

But what if you don't know what programs to even use in the first place?

Maybe having these commands might be useful:

"How <query>" e.g. "How do I change a directory" (ans: "use the cd command. Type 'man cd' for more info")

"What <query>" e.g. "What is ls?" (That's the man page right?)

"Where <query>" (tho... doesn't "search" do that already?)


Looks inside it's own database, else prompts if you want to check online in various FAQ database... or first entry in stackoverflow (or maybe you can add a switch?)


Alternative program name:

Could use "FAQ" instead of "HOW". e.g.

FAQ how do i change directory?


Some possible structure:

How do I <verb> <noun> ? (e.g. How do I change directory?)

How do I <verb> <noun> to a <noun> ? (e.g. How do I convert png to gif ?)

How for <noun> do I <verb> <noun> ? (e.g. How for windows shell do I change directory ? )

mofosyne, Jul 19 2015

bro - This looks like a good backend repository of potential answers http://bropages.org/
bro pages are a highly readable supplement to man pages bro pages show concise, common-case examples for Unix commands [mofosyne, Mar 26 2016]

tldr program https://github.com/tldr-pages/tldr
A collection of simplified and community-driven man pages. [mofosyne, Mar 26 2016]

cheat https://github.com/chrisallenlane/cheat
cheat allows you to create and view interactive cheatsheets on the command-line. It was designed to help remind *nix system administrators of options for commands that they use frequently, but not frequently enough to remember. [mofosyne, Mar 26 2016]

proposal for command search in tldr https://github.com/...ges/tldr/issues/273
[mofosyne, Mar 26 2016]

Baked, in a way, and in wide use: the howdoi command https://github.com/gleitz/howdoi
Project started in 2012 [notexactly, Mar 27 2016]


       Type this on the command line:   

       apropos -a change to directory   

       (Hmmm... the "-a" (means "match All keywords") works in Ubuntu; not in Raspbian. However...)   

       apropos directory | grep "change"   

       seems to work. (It won't find matches for "change" in the body of the man page, just in the title.)
lurch, Jul 20 2015

       // DIR command on windows //   

       Sp. "DIRE" ...   

       DIR goes back looong before windoze ran as a native OS .... back before MSDOS was even thought of. CAT ("CATALOG") was used by some command line OS's. Unix and its descendants have always used "ls".   

       Further back, machines like the IBM s/34 referred to "libraries" as the collective noun for grouped files.   

       Online help is very, very Baked and WKTE. Typing "?" at the command prompt will usually give a summary list of available commands. Typing <command> followed by ?, -?, /? or \? will generally elicit more detail on the specific command; sometimes it's "h" instead of "?".   

       HELP <command> is also well known.
8th of 7, Jul 20 2015

       I need to know where to find these Man Pages. I did not realize there were instructions. I have been pretty much winging it.
bungston, Jul 20 2015

       Me I usually type a query into Google. What is the 'command line' thing you speak of, and why does it give me bad memories of flashing green cursors, the computer equivalent of drumming its fingers at me? Be gone, command line syntax. Be gone, DOS. Be gone, conventional / extended / expanded / highmem / autoexec.bat / config.sys / io.sys / VOLUME IN DRIVE C HAS NO LABEL.   

       Be gone: ls, chmod, who, finger, grep, emacs, rlogin, ftp.   

       I shall not spend another minute of my life on any of it.
RayfordSteele, Jul 20 2015

       Unfortunately this idea requires a level of natural language processing that most OS's don't have. Since it might be a "folder", a "directory", a "location", a "container", a "box", a "drawer", etc. (And yes, I know only folder and directory are the only ones in common usage, but someone else may not).
MechE, Jul 20 2015

       Ian Tindale, Jul 20 2015 - Corrected.   

       MechE, Jul 20 2015 - You can suggest predefined structures like "How do I <action> a/to/etc... <object>", and have various entry provide multiple trigger words if needed. Basically when typing "how help" or "man how", you could get some basic structures to keep to.   

       If that does work, you could even also provide a simplified structure like "How change directory".   

       Alternatively, if it cannot find an answer, it could probably point you to stack overflow lol.
mofosyne, Jul 20 2015

       The basic problem, here, is surely just the fact that computers are still at an incredibly primitive stage of development.   

       With luck, things like "syntax", "program", "database" and "format" will be consigned to the rubbish pit of history within a few decades, and children will laugh at the quaint and archaic way we had to learn how to communicate with computers, rather than vice versa.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 27 2016


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