Command Prompt for Windows




Command Prompt

What is a command prompt?

A command prompt is a software program that processes instructions, one at a time, in order to complete a task or a series of tasks. The instructions are typically called commands and they can be entered at the prompt either manually, by typing them in at the prompt or they can come from a text file, called a batch file.

Command prompts are a text based shell for your operating system. They simply display a prompt in a window and wait for some text to be entered at the prompt, as in the following screenshot :-

Once some text has been entered at the command prompt, it interprets the text (i.e. a command) and the respective task is either carried out or a suitable error message is displayed.

There are many different types of shells available for your Windows operating system. For example, another type of shell that you may be more familiar with is a graphical based shell called Explorer. Instead of text, explorer uses icons and buttons to provide a graphical user interface (GUI) experience for the end user.

Both text and GUI based shells have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, text based shells (i.e. a command prompt) handles file name wildcards better then GUI shells can. They are far more suited to dealing with a larger number of files, using wildcards, where GUI shells prefer working with one file at a time. Try renaming a 100 files in explorer and you have to change each file name, one at a time, however, with a command prompt, simply use wildcards, along with command REN and the job is complete with only a few keystrokes.

Similarly, text based shells are excellent at running a sequence of commands from a file (a batch file). A GUI shell would require a software program to record your keystrokes and mouse movements in order to perform the same job and recording keystrokes and mouse movements is very error prone. Batch files also provide a way to quickly write useful programs, which can perform various complex tasks and this even includes writing games. There are several batch file example games included in the WinOne® Command Prompt package. For example STONES.BAT. This game performs advance calculations, something that GUI shells cannot do at all.

What does this all mean? It simply means that there are jobs that are sometimes better done with a command prompt and there are jobs that are sometimes more suited to a GUI shell, such as Explorer.

The WinOne® Command Prompt and has been designed to integrate closely with in Explorer. It tries to give the end user the best of both worlds in a number of ways. See Main Features for more information.

Compatibility with COMMAND.COM and CMD.EXE

The WinOne® Command Prompt is fully compatible with all the built in commands found in MSDOS's COMMAND.COM and partially compatible with the built in commands found in CMD.EXE. In order to move away from the limitations found in CMD.EXE, the WinOne® Command Prompt has been designed to be more like a high level programming language, then just another simple scripting tool. For example, a WinOne® batch file can create complex dialog boxes and work with them, much like other Windows programs. For example, see the batch file game 4ROW.BAT for an comprehensive batch file that uses dialog boxes.

The WinOne® Command Prompt can run all the external commands that can be run via CMD.EXE. These external commands are just console programs that can be run by any program that can execute another program. The WinOne® Command Prompt includes it's own external commands which have a .EXC file extension. These external commands are written using the WOIO SDK and can only be run via the WinOne® Command Prompt and can not be run via any other program.