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Effective Tcl/Tk Programming: Writing Better Programs with Tcl and Tk Paperback – December 18, 1997

ISBN-13: 078-5342634747 ISBN-10: 0201634740 Edition: 1st

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Effective Tcl/Tk Programming: Writing Better Programs with Tcl and Tk + Practical Programming in Tcl and Tk (4th Edition) + Tcl and the Tk Toolkit (2nd Edition)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (December 18, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201634740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201634747
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #579,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Preface It's easy to get started with Tcl/Tk. Just follow the steps in Appendix A to obtain the wish program and start it up. Then type in a few lines of code, like this:

% button .b -text "Hello, World!" -command exit => .b

% pack .b You'll see the Hello, World! button appear as soon as you enter the pack command. On Windows 95, it will look like this:

You don't have to edit any makefiles or fight with a compiler. You don't need to know everything about the X window system or the Microsoft Foundation Classes. You don't need to wade through pounds of confusing documents to find symbols, such as XA_FONT_NAME. Instead, you type a few lines of Tcl code and immediately see the results.

As you learn more about the Tk widgets, you can write lots of simple programs. With a text widget and 100 lines of Tcl code, you can put together a program for sending electronic mail (e-mail) messages. With a canvas widget and 200 lines of Tcl code, you can create a simple drawing editor.

A few other Tcl/Tk books will help you get started. John Ousterhout's Tcl and the Tk Toolkit starts with a complete overview of the Tcl language and then goes on to describe each of the Tk widgets. The book even describes how to add new functionality to Tcl/Tk by integrating your own C code into the wish program. Brent Welch's book Practical Programming in Tcl and Tk is another good source of Tcl/Tk code examples.

After reading one of the introductory Tcl/Tk books, you will be well acquainted with the nuts and bolts. But you may not have a good understanding of how they fit together to make an application.

We wrote this book to pick up where the others leave off. We assume that you understand some of the Tcl language and that you've written a few simple Tcl/Tk programs. If not, you can pick it up as you read along. But instead of explaining the basics, we focus on areas that are commonly misunderstood-such as the pack command, the bind mechanism, and the canvas widget. We not only explain how these things work but also show how you can use them to build powerful applications.

We explain how the packer works and then show how you can use it

to create a tabbed notebook that displays "pages" of widgets. We explain how binding tags work and then show how you can use

them to handle the modes in a drawing editor. We explain how the canvas works and then show how you can use it

to build a progress gauge, a color wheel, and a calendar.

Along the way, we describe the lessons that we've learned from developing many thousands of lines of Tcl/Tk code. We show you software architectures and programming techniques that will make your Tcl/Tk code easier to maintain. For example, we show how to

Create client/server applications Package Tcl/Tk code into libraries of reusable components Use lists and arrays as data structures Handle common quoting problems

Above all else, we try to present a holistic view of application development. In Chapter 1, we show you how to go about designing an application--from the initial concept to a working prototype to a finished product. Throughout the book, we develop several useful applications: a desktop calculator, a drawing editor, and a daily calendar that will store all of your appointments. In Chapter 8, we show you how to add polish to your finished applications and how to deliver them to customers.

In the course of this book, we develop more than two dozen useful components, including a toolbar, a paned window, a balloon help facility, and a confirmation dialog. We provide complete source code for these components in the software that accompanies this book. You can download this software from the site awl/cp/efftcl/efftcl.html. We encourage you to study these examples and to use them to build your own Tcl/Tk applications!

All of the examples in this book have been carefully designed to work with all recent versions of Tcl/Tk, including: Tcl 7.5 / Tk 4.1 Tcl 7.6 / Tk 4.2 Tcl 8.0 / Tk 8.0

The examples should work with later releases as well. Most of our experience with Tcl/Tk comes from UNIX-based systems, so you will see a lot of references to UNIX throughout the book. But Tcl/Tk is not limited to UNIX systems. The Tcl 8.0 / Tk 8.0 release works cross-platform on UNIX, Windows 95/NT/3.1, and Macintosh systems. Almost all of our examples work identically on all three platforms. (Of course, some examples rely on such programs as /usr/lib/sendmail, which are available only on a UNIX system. Those examples will not work cross-platform without some modification.) Throughout the book, we've included screen snapshots from the various platforms to highlight the cross-platform capability. Acknowledgments Many people have made this book possible. Thanks to John Ousterhout and his team at Sun Microsystems for creating such a marvelous toolkit. Thanks to Mike Hendrickson and the staff at Addison Wesley Longman for their encouragement and support in producing this book. Thanks to Brian Kernighan for nudging us in the right direction and for his careful reviews and helpful comments. Thanks to Don Libes, Jeff Korn, Jeffrey Hobbs, and Jim Ingham for uncovering a number of weak spots in our material. Thanks to Evelyn Pyle for her meticulous proofreading and for smoothing out the wrinkles in our grammar. And thanks to all of the other reviewers who have made this work stronger: Ron Hutchins, Raymond Johnson, Steve Johnson, Oliver Jones, Joe Konstan, David Richardson, Alexei Rodriguez, and Win Treese.

Mark Harrison would like to thank his many colleagues at DSC Communications Corporation for their involvement and for their practical suggestions about incorporating Tcl into mission-critical products. In particular, Mark Ulferts and Kris Raney were especially helpful in this regard.

Michael McLennan would like to thank Sani Nassif for getting him started with Tcl/Tk; George Howlett for teaching him much of what he knows about software; John Tauke for making Tcl/Tk development a legitimate business activity at Bell Labs; Kishore Singhal, Prasad Subramaniam, and the management at Bell Labs for supporting this work; Joan Wendland, his friend and mentor; and Maria, Maxwell and Katie, for making him smile.

Mark Harrison
Michael McLennan
September 1997 0201634740P04062001

From the Back Cover

You need a graphical user interface, and it needs to run on multiple platforms. You don't have much time, and you're not a wizard with X/Motif, the Win32 GUI, or the Mac GUI. The project seems impossible, but with Tcl/Tk it's simple and fun.

The Tcl scripting language and the Tk toolkit create a powerful programming environment for building graphical user interfaces. With two lines of code you can create a simple button; with two hundred lines of code, a desktop calculator; and with a thousand lines of code, an industrial-strength groupware calendar and appointment minder. Your applications run on all of the major platforms: UNIX, Windows 95/NT, and Macintosh. You can even embed your programs in a Web page to make them available online.

Mark Harrison and Michael McLennan, two noted Tcl/Tk experts, combine their extensive experience in this practical programming guide. It is ideal for developers who are acquainted with the basics of Tcl/Tk and are now moving on to build real applications.

Effective Tcl/Tk Programming shows you how to build Tcl/Tk applications effectively and efficiently through plenty of real-world advice. It clarifies some of the more powerful aspects of Tcl/Tk, such as the packer, the canvas widget, and binding tags. The authors describe valuable design strategies and coding techniques that will make your Tcl/Tk projects successful. You will learn how to:

  • Create interactive displays with the canvas widget
  • Create customized editors with the text widget
  • Create new geometry managers, like tabbed notebooks or paned windows
  • Implement client/server architectures
  • Handle data structures
  • Interface with existing applications
  • Package Tcl/Tk code into reusable libraries
  • Deliver Tcl/Tk applications that are easy to configure and install
  • Embed applications in a Web page
  • Build applications that will run on multiple platforms

Throughout the book, the authors develop numerous applications and a library of reusable components. Learn from their approach, follow their strategies, and steal their code for your own applications! But don't bother retyping all of the examples.



0201634740B04062001

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Ron Benn on April 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you were forced to identify the best Tcl/Tk book ever written, this would be it. The examples are not just toys. They are useful in their own right. The breadth covered is extensive. Each topic covered is the best I have yet seen. With this book, you can probably even omit reading Ousterhout. It is hard to provide code and then to describe the code in a useful way but this book accomplishes it, with no nonsense. I keep three copies, one at home, one at work, and one in my brief case. McLennon created [incr Tcl] and his intro to it in "Tcl/Tk Tools" is also good. I wish he had written "[incr Tcl] from the Ground Up" as his style is more concise than Chad Smith.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By MikeO on April 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
TCL users look to the Welch or Ousterhout for a good TCL reference.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
The best Tk book existing. Even if one programs with Perl/Tk or Python/Tk, still this is THE book for how to use Tk. With this book one can complete ones Tk-GUIs, so that they do, what one initially wished them to to. The book is a good example of how to write a good computer book.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By jose_monkey_org on December 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
i find the title of this book, and its promise, to be a bit misleading. it focuses on tk with little about tcl specifics in there. i find myself not using this book very often except when i have to do something tricky in tk. i program in tcl every day, but i don't do much tk anymore.
you wont learn tcl/tk from this, but you may pick up some great tk organization and features.
i'd say this book is overpriced, too, so see if you can buy it used.
if you're looking at getting a book to make you an advanced tcl programmer, i'd look elsewhere first.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JJ on August 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
I hope that other authors of computer books have a look at this book.
Not only the good contents, the presentation is very thoutful and well done. I could not resisit "wow" when starting chapter 2 which is about packing, gridding and placing windows.
The books uses figures very effectly to let readers see what is going on without unnecessay longer wordy explanations. Bold face font is also well used in listing the source codes so that you can see the change/improvememnt right away.
I hope we have this sort of books in every subjects and less number of introductory books.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Johnson (les@infolabs.com) on December 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is the book to buy after you've learned the basics of Tcl/Tk. The emphasis is on Tk, with lots of hints and tricks along with great advice and examples. Their explanation of how to make platform-independent use of Tk's options database is worth the price alone. (Maybe you don't think you need this, but you'll use it after seeing how it works!) Advanced topics include class bindings, "click, drag, drop", balloon help, animation, pipes and sockets, client/servers, cross-platform issues and much more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
An excellent book. Picks up where Welch's book ends, with a applied approach. I really appreciate the coverage devoted to developing re-usable code via script libraries. This is an absolute "must read" for any serious Tcl/Tk developer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steve Schwarm(w3eve@amsat.org) on February 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
An excellent book on the use of TCL/TK. Takes much of the mystery out of the way that TCL/TK graphic widgets work and how to build the GUIs with TCK/TK. It has many very practical sections. In particular, how the graphics rendering works, using TCL programs as data storage and the chapter on client server applications. Very easy to read and understand. All the code is available of the net so it is easy to extend the tools described. The authors are real experts but can explain the concepts well for even the novice programmer.
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