The history of the Cisco CLI

I do not think many people know the history of Cisco CLI and its impact has had on the industry. Other companies are emulating, as in the last article on the subject shows. Network engineers usually experts in the Cisco CLI, then move to the craft of other manufacturers, it makes sense for companies to follow suit. Brad Reese, who writes for the Network World Cisco Subnet has an article about October 5, 2007, referring to CCIEs, hardware vendors copy Cisco’s CLI and Cisco NetFlow accounts receivable.

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s saw the number of Cisco CLI change. The Cisco original, not even a CLI. According to Kirk Lougheed has one of the founders of Cisco, it was designed only to load its configuration via TFTP. He said he needed the ability to change the configuration to a trade show, he added a quick hack to enable it to enter in the configuration of a buffer that the function that has analyzed the TFTP file was adopted. The end of the command with CTRL-Z said. They entered all the commands and if you press CTRL-Z, the file was analyzed and all errors have been displayed. It was not great to have lost a lot of typing, if an error occurred.

Some time later, the CLI has been modified to cause lines to run once you enter, instead of after the entry was CTRL-Z. Greg sentence that tells me that this change was pleased to see that I’ve barely noticed the change. My recollection distinctly remember that something has changed, but not yet managed to put my finger on exactly. The change in errors reported as soon as you enter them, had not been written by the entire buffer, so it was a good variety. This change would at some point before the end of 1990. There was no command history, interactive help, or ability to mount command.

The end of 1990 * Greg contracted rate with me at the CLI parser to build again. The intention was, the analyzer can not leave the router (called, was still IOS) and load it into a management station to retrieve, so that the Cisco configuration files have been analyzed. Eighteen months later, the team I had assembled (Rob Widmer, Brent Baccala, What Pete and I) has completed the new Cisco CLI, which was released in version 9.21. I remember that the first half of 1992, but it should be researched to verify.

During development, Rob, who brings the user code was to allow the full treatment decided to controls, was similar to the Unix shell (user interface) possible over time. The CLI implemented it CTRL-style used to edit command mode homeless. There was no way to manage multiple lines, so we decided to show the lines left and right, and use the characters “^ shift ‘and’ $ ‘that the line had been moved. The lines were every keystroke, so that work on all screens painted.

While we were developing the new CLI, Bay Networks, Cisco’s main competitor **, has been very active in sales and marketing activities related to the fact they had a menu interface and how their products easy to use. Managers and new people to buy more in history and there are difficult things for Cisco on this front. The problem with the menu systems is that you can not have a brief overview of the complete state of the device. You have or need to find your way through the menus to the status of certain parameters, which is very inefficient after a short period of time to find. Once you edit a configuration file for nearsighted, you can also learn the syntax and stop the menu.

Shortly after we released 9.21, marketing and sale of Bay Networks and Cisco’s growth started slowly continue its momentum upward. If I tell people these days, you can try to blame me for the CLI. But we had a target we maintain backward compatibility. You can curse the CLI, but when he used to before 9.21, you will probably thank you for adding the functionality that exists today.

* I Chesapeake Computer Consultants at that time had begun. Greg and other Cisco has committed more than a job for me, but what I suggest California – something I was not interested in it. Silly me. Chesapeake is to become a leading training and consulting partner of Cisco. I left Chesapeake in March 2000 after receiving the system VLab started and released. Chesapeake has closed its doors in late 2001.