Tcl (tool command language) is a widely used scripting language generally used in conjunction with the Tk GUI library for building quick and easy X windows GUIs on Unix platforms, but also valued for the ease by which C libraries can be imported and referenced from Tcl. Tcl/Tk was developed by John Ousterhout while at UC Berkeley. Development continues at Sun Labs under his leadership. It's interesting to see this going on at Sun, also Java's home. Java is probably Tcl's principle competitor. John Ousterhout addresses this in The Relationship Between Tcl/Tk and Java. His point is that its true that both languages are appropriate to Internet programming, but they are different, have different strengths, and are likely to complement each other. Tcl is higher level, quicker to program, and slower to execute; Java is lower level, harder to program, quicker to execute. Tcl is mainly used to tie together other programs, generally written in C or C++. John expects Java to replace C++ in this role for Internet applications. This role puts Tcl in competition with Javascript.
tcl working
A couple of years ago, Tcl was receiving the kind of attention that Java is receiving today, lots of it, with some of it overhyping Tcl's benefits, and some of it defensively attacking Tcl's weaknesses. The downside of success. Comparisons of Tcl with other systems is a comprehensive list of comparisons between Tcl and other languages. The Tcl War archives a thread started by Richard Stallman's negative comments about Tcl in 1994. and compare Tcl to Perl. In the interest of hugely oversimplifying the arguments, let me summarize by saying that Tcl critics think Tcl is incomplete, inelegant, and inefficient. Its proponents say it is quick and easy to program for what it was intended.

There's quite a bit of activity at Sun, and elsewhere, that extends Tcl/Tk towards being more appropriate for Internet programming. Ports are underway (some are already available) to MS Windows et al and MacIntosh, so that scripts will run on any platform. A Tcl/Tk GUI builder and an on-the-fly Tcl compiler are being developed. Safe-Tcl adds security to Tcl. Sun is integrating Safe-Tcl into their release. ccitcl integrates Tcl/Tk, Safe-Tcl, and NCSA Mosaic CCI into a solution for client-side scripting for the WWW. Expect extends Tcl for interacting with other interactive programs or users. TclDii provides a Tcl interface to the OMG CORBA Dynamic Invocation Interface (i.e. Iona's Orbix), enabling Tcl scripts to interact with CORBA services.
Check out TCL WWW Info, news:comp.lang.tcl, and the Tcl FAQ, for more info on Tcl.

Leave reply

Back to Top