USENIX Technical Program - Abstract - USENIX Annual
Conference, General Session - June 2000
Integrating a Command Shell Into a Web Browser
Robert C. Miller and Brad A. Myers, Carnegie Mellon University
The transition from command-line interfaces to graphical interfaces has
resulted in programs that are easier to learn and use, but harder to
automate and reuse. Another transition is now underway, to HTML
interfaces hosted by a web browser. To help users automate HTML
interfaces, we propose the browser-shell, a web browser that integrates
a command interpreter into the browser's Location box. The
browser-shell's command language is designed for extracting and
manipulating HTML and text, and commands can also invoke local programs.
Command input is drawn from the current browser page, and command output
is displayed as a new page. The browser-shell brings to web browsing
many advantages of the Unix shell, including scripting web services and
creating pipelines of web services and local programs. A browser-shell
also allows legacy command-line programs to be wrapped with an HTML/CGI
interface that is graphical but still scriptable, and offers a new shell
interaction model, different from the conventional typescript model,
which may improve usability in some respects.
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