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Competitive Analysis: CLI Power Tools vs. RapidControl for CLI

Updated 07/10/2003


This white paper describes the advantages of Halpern-Wight Software’s CLI Power Tools to WindRiver’s RapidControl for CLI based on our evaluation of WindRiver’s offerings as of April, 2001. The contents of this white paper represents our opinion.

The purpose of both products is to simplify and accelerate the development process for creating a command line interface (CLI) for network-connected devices. In both products, a development tool generates C or C++ code based on a developer's description of the syntax and semantics of commands, modes, etc.. The generated code is compiled and linked with a run-time library to produce the final CLI. The run-time library provides command-line editing, parsing, and some error checking and can be hosted on a different platform from the development tools (cross-compilation).

Differences in Usage Model

The development tools for the two products work on substantially different usage models. CLI Power Tools was initially created for a specific project. In the early stages of that project, we considered using RapidControl for CLI and rejected it based on our perception of deficiencies in the usage model. Although developing a new tool cost more, we did not regret the decision. For the following reasons, it is our opinion that CLI Power Tools has the better usage model:

CLI Power Tools Features

The features listed below are unique to CLI Power Tools and are not provided by RapidControl for CLI.

RapidControl for CLI Features

Clearly, this white paper is focused on the things that, in our opinion, make CLI Power Tools a superior choice for most CLI projects. In fairness to WindRiver, however, we will point out some of features in RapidControl for CLI that are absent in our own offering. See WindRiver’s marketing materials for more information.


It would be inappropriate to quote prices for either product here, as price information is quickly outdated.

In general terms, however:


CLI Power Tools offers significant advantages over RapidControl for CLI. Key among these advantages are efficiency in creating and modifying commands and integrating commands created by multiple developers. Most developers will find the CLI Power Tools usage model to more natural and comfortable. For moderate to large command-line interfaces, CLI Power Tools can save significant amounts of time and money.

For more information:

Visit the CLI Power Tools home page at or
Call Pablo Halpern at (603) 654-6474 or

Copyright 2002, 2003 Halpern-Wight Software Inc. All rights reserved.