Glyph set-up: What is terminal and how to open it

Installing and using Glyph requires using the terminal. If you haven’t used terminal before, keep reading.

What is the terminal? The terminal is an application that comes with your Mac that gives you access to the command line, letting you issue commands to your computer in a language it understands. Terminal isn’t listed among your applications, but it comes with every Mac. To find it, go to spotlight search and type “Terminal”. You’ll see an icon like this. Click it, open it up, and you’ll get a little window where you can type useful (or dangerous!*) things. 

(*The first rule of terminal is that you shouldn’t type anything inside it unless you’re absolutely sure about what it will do. You can thrash your computer from the command line. Be especially careful about commands that begin with the word ’sudo’, which will require you enter your computer’s password before executing the command, though you’ll sudo a bit when installing Glyph.)

Terminal is just like your Mac’s finder application, but more powerful. Get to know your terminal by typing ’ls’. This gives you a list of all the contents of the directory you’re currently in. Type ‘cd Documents’. ’cd’ is a command that stands for change directory. Now type ‘ls’– see all your documents? Type ‘cd ..’, then ‘ls’. You just took a step back up to the enclosing directory. 

Glyph’s installation will require that you check and possibly install a few dependencies on this command line. When you have all the dependencies in order, you’ll double click on a shell script called ‘start.command’, which will open up a process in a terminal window, as well as Glyph front end .app application on your dock. This terminal window is the “brain” of Glyph, so don’t close it; it will end on its own when you close the Glyph .app application. As you’re making Glyphs and processing videos, progress updates will be posted inside this terminal window. You can always check it to see your GIFs and loops cooking. 

Knowing your way around the terminal is a powerful skill that you’ll now be able to use in all kinds of applications and programs out there. 

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