From the makers themselves...
"Cmder is a software package created out of pure frustration over the absence of nice console emulators on Windows. It is based on amazing software, and spiced up with the Monokai color scheme and a custom prompt layout, looking sexy from the start."
Whilst my definition of 'sexy' doesn't quite extend to console emulators, it is more pleasing on the eye than the default command line.
So, how do you get it? Simply download the full version (which includes git-for-windows) or the mini version (which doesn't) from http://cmder.net/. To be honest, the only reasons why not to download the full version are a) you don't use GIT or b) you have the smallest hard-drive known to man (it's only 84MB so I'm expecting you to have a really, really small hard-drive).
If you're like me, I've googled the command, copied it from my browser, switched to my powershell or command line console, held down 'ctrl + v' and then remembered, it doesn't work! One of the joys of Cmder is that both 'ctrl + c' and 'ctrl + v' work. This may sound trivial but it's definitely decreased my stress levels a couple of notches (you'll find Tony Sneed in his blog also agrees!).
One of the main reasons command line is quite difficult to adopt, especially to the less technical, is the innate knowledge you require for the various commands. I really struggle with the specific commands that I need to use, not so much the main parts like "git pull" or "git clone", but the additional variables that I need to pass. Is it one dash and a captial 'D' or double dash and lowercase 'd'?!?! This is where assigning to an alias can save time and much stress from having to resort to google every time the exact characters you need to use. Alias' are stored under '/cmder/config/user-aliases.cmd', opening this file you can add to the alias list directly. Or you can use the cmd line and add them via the following command as and when they come to mind:
Note: Each '$#' is an additional parameter you can pass so batch files (coming up) can be as extensive as you like.
Below are a list of some of my favourites. I would heartily recommend that you use alias' that you will remember otherwise there is no point at all in setting these up (unless you find mine easy to remember that is):
Note: If you hadn't guessed already, any text '||' and along is just a quick description of what the alias will actually do.
Leading on from Alias', one of the cool reasons to use Cmder is the ability to run batch files at a drop of a hat. Yes, you can use the cmd line to do this but if you're going to all the effort of downloading Cmder, you'll want to implement this. As a QA, automation using Selenium WebDriver is useful and part of my bread & butter, but nothing quite compares to opening 15 Chrome Incognito tabs to load the home pages of all the websites you are checking or to change your host files to point to your test environment. Or how about switching 40 or so host file lines just using three words? I want to show my example of how to update my host files below, but first you will need to set an alias for 'host="C:/cmder/batchfiles/host.bat" $1 $2 $3' which runs the following script:
There may be better, more techy ways of doing this but personally I find this the easiest to maintain. Having environments split per file makes it easy to add additional environments and manage when there are any changes. It's also simple to check which environment you are actually pointing to (rather than having to search through your host file list and working out which one has been commented out etc.). However, this is a major digression to the entire blog post...
On one of my searches for cool things to do with Cmder, I came across this neat little blog post on https://laravel.io/. I'm not going to plagiarise the post (as setup will pretty much be a copy & paste) but recommend that you read it if you want Sublime text integrated into Cmder. The benefits of this? Not massively better than setting an Alias to open Sublime text in my opinion but it is pretty cool. Sublime integrates into one screen (to utilize the split screen functionality of Cmder) so you can make one screen look pretty cool and techy.
Whilst I took time to learn as much as I could about Cmder, I couldn't have gained anywhere near the full potential out of this little tool if it wasn't for the other bloggers who I want to reference now: