Introducing GCP’s new interactive CLI

If you develop applications on Google Cloud Platform (GCP), you probably spend a lot of time in the GCP command line. But as we grow our GCP services, the number of commands and flags is growing by leaps and bounds. So today, we’re introducing a new command line interface (CLI) that lets you discover—and use—all these commands more efficiently: gcloud interactive.

The Google Cloud SDK offers a variety of command line tools to interact with GCP, namely:

  • gcloud — GCP’s primary CLI 
  • gsutil — CLI to interact with Google Cloud Storage 
  • bq — CLI to interact with Google BigQuery 
  • kubectl — Kubernetes Engine’s CLI

Currently in public alpha, the new interactive CLI environment provides auto-prompts and in-line help for gcloud, gsutil, bq and kubectl commands. No more context-switching as you search for command names, required flags or argument types in help pages. Now all of this information is included as part of the interactive environment as you type!
The interactive environment also supports standard bash features like:

  • intermixing gcloud and standard bash commands 
  • running commands like cd and pwd, and set/use shell variables across command executions 
  • running and controlling background processes 
  • TAB-completing shell variables, and much more!

For example, you can assign the result of the command to a variable and later call this variable as an input to a different command:

$ active_vms=$(gcloud compute instances list --format="value(NAME)" --filter="STATUS=RUNNING")
$ echo $active_vms

You can also create and run bash scripts while you're in the interactive environment.
For example, the following script iterates all compute instances and restarts the ones that have been TERMINATED.

terminated_vms=$(gcloud compute instances list --format="value(NAME)" --filter="STATUS=terminated")
for name in $terminated_vms
  echo "Instance $name will restart."
  zone=$(gcloud compute instances list --format="value(ZONE)" --filter="NAME=$name")
  gcloud compute instances start $name --zone $zone