Lately I spend more and more time in command prompt. Compiling, running NAnt scripts, even updating my source base from Subversion and so on. So I wanted to spice my black window a little bit.
Pimping regular Windows command prompt is rather boring. There are some things you can do to make it better, but even substituting a font with something other that default couple of fonts looks impossible. I didn’t get very far in this field so I looked beyond command prompt and cmd.exe.
I still remember 4DOS which I used heavily in the good old days of MS-DOS and DR-DOS and even Windows 3.x. To my surprise I found out the project is still alive and evolving at JPSoft. 4NT, which is current version would probably come in handy but it’s not all that cheap. I find a price of $70 a bit too much for a command line interface in the times of 3D GUIs! There is a free 4DOS version, but that’s just 16–bit and not very useful.
Later I found a free program called Console that I currently use and I love it. It is nice, simple, fast, customizable and free. It has some really nice features like crazy quasi-transparent background, pulsating cursors, mini semi-transparent mode and so on. It’s written by Marko Bozikovic, who looks like a really smart guy! Can’t wait until he puts out Console 2 which is at demo level right now!
Next I found a shareware substitute called PromptPal and I’m still testing it. Looks quite nice, it’s customizable, has tabs (!) and funky interface where input and output can be split (I don’t like that). The software isn’t bad at all and it is packed with nice features, but I’m not sure if it’s good enough that I would actually buy it.
It looks there are more apps like this out there, some really outdated, some just slightly, but nothing spectacular. I’m sticking with Console for now!
Note: There is a slight chance that I sometimes get overexcited when I find a piece of software that looks promising. But after I while it turns out it’s not all that useful.