Terminal Emulators

Hyper – terminal emulator built with web technologies

Last Updated on September 1, 2020

One of the reasons why I became hooked on Linux was the command line. The command line offers advantages day-to-day because of facets like its scalability, scriptability, simple design, and simple interface. At the command line, there’s so much power at my fingertips. Its continuing flexibility and power remain big draws to this day.

It’s true that some people consider the command line to be arcane and obsolete. They prefer graphical interfaces. And for non-technical people and beginners, few dispute good graphical user interfaces make life easier. But who doesn’t want the best of both worlds?

The power of the command line can be accessed on the desktop by using a terminal emulator. The terminal window allows the user to access a console and all its applications such as command line interfaces (CLI) and text user interface software. Even with sophisticated modern desktop environments packed with administrative tools, other utilities, and productivity software all sporting attractive graphical user interfaces, it remains the case that some tasks are best undertaken with the command line.

The terminal emulator is a venerable but essential tool for everyone using the command line. There are so many terminal emulators available for Linux that the choice is, frankly, bamboozling.

This article looks at Hyper, one of the newer terminal emulators available. It’s built with web technologies – JavaScript, HTML, CSS. The goal of the project is to create a beautiful and extensible experience for command-line interface users, built on open web standards. Hyper is based on xterm.js, a front-end component written in TypeScript.

Hyper is cross-platform support running on Linux, macOS, and Windows. It boasts that it’s fully extensible. Let’s see how it fares.


There are packages available for Hyper in most popular Linux distributions. Or you can compile the source code:

$ git clone https://github.com/zeit/hyper.git
$ yarn
$ yarn run dist

This creates your own packages for Debian/Ubuntu and Fedora distributions. It also creates an AppImage, and a snap.

AppImage is a format for distributing portable software on Linux without needing superuser permissions to install the application. All that’s required is make the AppImage executable by typing:

$ chmod u+x Hyper 3.0.1-canary.4.AppImage

Next page: Page 2 – In Operation

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation
Page 3 – Extensibility
Page 4 – Other Features
Page 5 – Summary

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Liam Mapson
Liam Mapson
4 years ago

Everyone who’s “in the market for a terminal built on web technologies”, please raise your hand…

No doubt I’ve missed something important, but what?

Luke Baker
4 years ago
Reply to  Liam Mapson

It just means if you’re looking for a modern terminal….

4 years ago

If you might want to access a text based application from Linux on a remote network with a web server to provide access in this manner you might use this. Most young’uns wouldn’t know there’s trilliions of lines of code apps running out there that still manage huge petabytes of data all in text mode. IRS, Healthcare, lots of places. What I hate about articles on “Terminal Emulation” is they only deal with one emulation. VT100 compatible. If you want to write a true Terminal Emulator, emulate some terminals and do ADDS, IBM3090, or some other useful things instead of kiddie stuff.

Phil S
Phil S
4 years ago
Reply to  Erpitt

Erpitt, if you want ADDS, IBM3090 or whatever, and think there’s a need to emulate them, go ahead and write a terminal emulator that meets your needs. The VT100 was very successful, and for a good reason.