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Chapter 13. Using Common Command-Line Ap... > Bridging the GUI to Command Line Gap...

Bridging the GUI to Command Line Gap: Hybrid Software

One final class of software we'll touch on in this chapter is a diverse group of commands, programs, and applications that we've taken to calling hybrid software. These programs bridge the gulf between the GUI and command line, bringing GUI interfaces to command-line tools or command-line access to traditionally GUI features. Hybrid software is one of the most interesting and potentially enabling aspects of Mac OS X, and currently seems to be one of the most overlooked as well. We hope we've convinced you by now that command-line software can be incredibly powerful, even if you might still have reservations regarding how user friendly it might be. Many hybrid applications bring the user-friendly graphical mode of interaction you're accustomed to under classic Mac OS, and under Mac OS X Aqua to command-line power and flexibility. Others bring Mac OS accessibility to the command line.

The range of applications possible is limited only by the combinations of command-line software that might be composed, which as you will continue to find throughout this book, is nearly endless. Because we can't hope to document everything available, we'll introduce you to the general concepts by covering the simple tools Apple has made available, an interesting application that lets you put a GUI interface on any command-line tool, and a large suite of tools that blend an old-favorite Mac OS text editor with a traditional Unix text-processing and publication system. The general concepts used in these pieces of software, such as the simple extension of functionality by adding additional command-line parameters to configuration files, should be of general use when you find software of this nature.


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