ConsoleWrapper is, in short, a 3D Windows command-line interface. At its most basic level, it is just a wrapper for the built-in Windows console (CMD) – hence the name. However, there is a custom shell built on top of it, and control is only relinquished to CMD for unrecognised commands.
In a nutshell, it works by redirecting output from any console application (usually cmd.exe) through ConsoleWrapper, slapping it onto 3D geometry, and animating that geometry. Currently, animation is basically smooth scrolling with a small amount of perspective, but potential is almost limitless.
Picture running multiple terminals at once, flipping through them like pages on a book, with full transparency, reflection, and physics effects. Lines drop into view, and discarded applications quietly fade away. These are just some of the possible concepts which can be achieved using a 3D environment such as ConsoleWrapper.
Note that ConsoleWrapper is very “work-in-progress”, and as such offers a pretty incomplete command line experience. No TAB completion is available yet, for example; however, more features are being added all the time, and the ultimate goal of the project is to be as useful, if not more useful, than the existing Windows command-line interface.
ConsoleWrapper in action:
ConsoleWrapper_2009-07-22.zip [ 2.8MB ]
(Note that this is now quite out of date. Latest source code is available from SourceForge.)
Extract the zip file to a chosen installation directory. Run ConsoleWrapper.exe. If you receive an error, try installing DXSETUP.EXE from the DXRedist directory first. I have been informed that issues are sometimes still encountered, even after following the above step. In this case, you are probably out of luck.
- SourceForge – Latest binary releases and source code.
- YouTube – Videos of ConsoleWrapper in action.
- Blog posts about ConsoleWrapper.
Last updated 5th August 2010.