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Fun and Useful CLI Tools for Software Developers

Make your day a little better with some fun and useful CLI tools.

As a software developer, it’s often to describe the happiness that comes from finding some fun or useful command line tools online. I’ve been compiling a list of my favorites from around the internet, and thought it time to impart my knowledge of tons of useful (and useless) CLI tools that make my days a little better.

Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash


Ever looking for the perfect emoji but can’t think of its name? As someone who uses a lot of emojis in websites I build, this is an often conundrum of mine that leads to an odd search history as I struggle to find the correct emoji.

Enter, emoj, a CLI tool to find relevant emojis all from the command line. Now, I never have to leave the terminal when searching for the right cute emote for my landing page!

emoj in action

Ready to find some awesome emojis? First, install it via NPM:

npm install --global emoj

then use it:


Now, as you type, emojis should show up below your screen! Want to change the skin tone? Use your arrow keys.


As someone who feels the constant need to check my internet speed, whether to flex my 10gb/s home internet speeds or cry at the coffee shops dismal sub 5 mb/s speed, I love speed-test because I can engage in my favorite past-time all from the command line!

speed-test in action

Want to check it out? First install it:

npm install --global speed-test

then use it:


You should see the tool loading for a bit, then it should pop up your internet speed onscreen!


pen is a markdown preview tool that’s built to be simple and always work.

pen in action

If you don’t know, markdown is a lightweight plain text formatting syntax that makes it easy to style text. With pen, you can very quickly edit markdown files and see the output live in your browser!


Sometimes I enjoy watching my CPU usage spike up as I open up new chrome instances. Normally, this requires me opening task manager (which has horrible UI), which is a distraction from my mostly terminal-only desktop environment. Enter gtop , a great tool for visualizing system stats all from the command line.


Not only does it contain a ton of useful information, but it also makes you look like a hacker, which is always a bonus.

First, install it:

npm i -g gtop

then, run it:


You should see a pretty dashboard pop up with your system stats!


jsome is a tool for viewing those large and hard-to-read json files with pretty colors and nice formatting.

You can use jsome either in your terminal or as a module imported into your Javascript files.

jsome output

To use it on the command line, run

npm i -g jsome

then run:

jsome /path/to/your/json/file.json

Now you should have some pretty json printed in your terminal.


I hope that your day is made a little better with these fun and useful CLI tools.

Keep in Touch

There’s a lot of content out there and I appreciate you reading mine. I’m an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley in the MET program, a software developer at Playground, and a young entrepreneur. I write about software development, startups, and failure (something I’m quite adept at).

Feel free to reach out and connect with me on Linkedin or Twitter, I love hearing from people who read my articles :)



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