Shell

There are two common uses of the phrase shell:

(1) Command shell
(2) Another term for user interface.

What is a Command Shell?

The command shell is the command processor interface. The command processor is the program that executes operating system commands. The shell therefore, is the part of the command processor that accepts commands. After verifying that the commands are valid, the shell sends them to another part of the command processor to be executed. UNIX systems offer a choice between several different shells, the most popular being the Cshell, the Bourne shell, and the Korn shell. Each offers a somewhat different command language.

Shell: Also a Term for UI

The phrase shell is also used to describe the outermost layer of a program. In this use, shell is another term for user interface. Operating systems and applications sometimes provide an alternative shell to make interaction with the program easier. For example, if the application is usually command driven, the shell might be a menu-driven system that translates the user’s selections into the appropriate commands.

Webopedia Staff
Webopedia Staff
Since 1995, more than 100 tech experts and researchers have kept Webopedia’s definitions, articles, and study guides up to date. For more information on current editorial staff, please visit our About page.

Top Articles

The Complete List of 1500+ Common Text Abbreviations & Acronyms

Text Abbreviations reviewed by Web Webster   From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 SMS, online chat, and text abbreviations to help you translate and understand...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

Website Shortcut on Your Desktop reviewed by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a website shortcut on your desktop using...

Windows Operating System History & Versions

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

First to Fifth Generations of Computers

Reviewed by Web Webster   Learn about each of the 5 generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the computing devices that...

What is a Passphrase?

What is a passphrase? A passphrase is a string of words used to help...

How to Use Google...

Updated by Jenna Phipps   Google Hangouts is a cloud-based messaging and video chat application...

What is Gross Revenue?

Gross revenue is the total amount of money (income) earned by a company...