Do Cloud Developers Prefer CLIs or Web Consoles? CLIs Mostly, Though It Varies by Task

Cora Coleman, William G. Griswold, Nick Mitchell

Despite the increased importance of Cloud tooling, and many large-scale studies of Cloud users, research has yet to answer what tool modalities (e.g. CLI or web console) developers prefer. In formulating our studies, we quickly found that preference varies heavily based on the programming task at hand. To address this gap, we conducted a two-part research study that quantifies modality preference as a function of programming task. Part one surveys how preference for three tool modalities (CLI, IDE, web console) varies across three classes of task (CRUD, debugging, monitoring). The survey shows, among 60 respondents, developers most prefer the CLI modality, especially for CRUD tasks. Monitoring tasks are the exception for which developers prefer the web console. Part two observes how four participants complete a task using the kubectl CLI and the OpenShift web console. All four participants prefer using the CLI to accomplish the task.

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