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9/3/2013
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Amazon Opens Command Line Interface To 23 Services

CLI exits developer preview, offers a "single, unified interface" to interact with 23 AWS services.

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Amazon is providing a command line interface (CLI) for the first time. In one sense, it's a throwback to an outdated means of interacting with systems; it's also the only way to interact with 23 Amazon services through one interface.

Amazon Web Services evangelist Jeff Barr announced the general availability of the CLI for free download in a blog post on Aug. 26. "Nothing beats the expressiveness of the command line!" he assured his readers.

The CLI "provides a single, unified interface to a very large collection of AWS services ... You can drive Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Elastic Beanstalk, the Simple Workflow Service, and 20 other services," Barr wrote. The interface works with Linux, Windows or OS X command lines. Users will need a version of Python installed with the Linux or OSX systems, he said.

The CLI supports a set of simple commands for S3 file operations. For example, it allows a user to list (ls), copy (cp), move (mv) and sync (sync) files that are S3 objects. You can also make (mb) and remove (rb) S3 buckets, in which sets of files are collected.

[ Want to learn more about why users value AWS? See Amazon Web Services: What's It Good For?]

The interface was first released in developer preview in December 2012 and was discussed by blogger Kay Ewbank on I Programmer. In its preview version, it only supported 12 AWS services. "You will be able to control multiple AWS services from the command line and automate them through scripts," Amazon promised.

Some developers referred to the CLI as the first "universal" interface available to Amazon users. "Oh my goodness. This is hugeeeeee. I can't wait," tweeted Mitchell Hasimoto.

Configuring the interface is a somewhat drawn-out process. Amazon has made a detailed install guide available. Business users won't activate their servers with it; they'll continue to use Amazon's Web interface. But developers will use the CLI to write scripts that can automatically activate the services they regularly use.

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