A web user interface for Bash scripts

Create a user-friendly front end for your Bash scripts without writing a single line of HTML, CSS, or JavaScript.

While Bash scripts are the glue that holds the GNU/Linux back end together, a web-based front end makes these scripts more user-friendly for end users. In the last decade, web user interfaces (web UIs) have become the front end of choice, even for daily local desktop usage. However, creating a web UI takes some effort, even for very simple interfaces, because a web UI requires using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and more.

Luckily, two free and open source utilities, OliveTin and Script Server, let you create a web UI for your scripts without writing a single line of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (and its hundreds of web UI libraries). In this article, I will show you how to create a simple web UI to drive your scripts with OliveTin, followed by a more feature-rich interface using Script Server.

OliveTin

OliveTin [1] lets you create a web interface that allows your end users to access predefined shell commands. The OliveTin interface consists of various buttons used to invoke configured shell commands. OliveTin uses declarative programming driven by a YAML configuration: You just create a simple declarative configuration, feed it to OliveTin, and out pops a web page that functions as an interface for the shell commands available on your system. Instead of memorizing and typing the actual commands into the command line, OliveTin lets you automate your daily tasks with a user-friendly button. Because of its simplicity, OliveTin lets you open up your system to internal non-command-line users.

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