Developing Java software on a Mac: command line

As a developer, I have to use the command line every now and then. In fact, that was one of the reasons for me to chose a MacBook Pro over a Windows machine. Even on the most recent versions of Windows, the command line application still uses some MS-DOS-derived command shell. Admitted, they implemented auto-completion, but it’s still a pretty limited environment. Mac OS X on the other hand is a Unix-based operating system. Hence the Mac OS X Terminal has the same super powers as many other Unix and Linux command lines.

I have also worked on an Ubuntu system for a while. I did not like it so much. But one thing I did like very much, is a nice little application called Guake terminal. It’s a terminal window that’s always available within one keypress, but never gets in the way. It just slides into view when you press the right key, and slides away when you press it again. Making the window semi-transparent, you can even see your desktop or other open windows behind it.

Until recently, I did not find a Guake alternative for Mac OS X. But today I stumbled on TotalTerminal: the search is over! TotalTerminal is a Terminal add-on. That means it extends the existing OS X Terminal with hotkey powers, instead of being a separate program to run in place of the terminal. That’s a good thing, since the OS X Terminal already has a lot of good features, which still can be used with TotalTerminal. So by configuring a display profile for Terminal with a nice, translucent background and a pretty font (like e.g. Monaco) and combining that with TotalTerminal, I now have a beautiful pop-over terminal available anywhere, with just one press of a button!

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