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Tcl/Tk 8.5 Programming Cookbook [Kindle Edition]

Bert Wheeler
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This book provides a step-by-step approach to the Tcl/Tk language with the help of re-usable examples and images. It is a series of carefully organized, easy-to-follow, standalone recipes to solve your queries. Whether you go through the recipes chapter-wise or pick up any recipe randomly, you will find clear and complete explanation of the task covered in the recipe. If you are a beginner interested in adding Tcl/Tk 8.5 to your list of languages, or an experienced Tcl/Tk programmer looking to sharpen your knowledge, be assured, you will find your prefect guide in this book. Whether you are developing for your personal use or commercial applications, this book will provide you with a ready reference to the building blocks of Tcl/Tk 8.5


Product Description

About the Author

Bert Wheeler After completing 20 years of military service, Bert returned to college to pursue a career in software development. He has worked in the IT industry for over 10 years in numerous roles from software development to Director of Engineering Services. He is currently employed by a Fortune-500 company as a technical resource to assist worldwide development teams in implementation of their products through various SDK packages in multiple languages and Operating Systems. Bert has been an active contributor to the open source community in the area of Computer Visualization and developing applications with Artificial Intelligence-based learning capabilities.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 628 KB
  • Print Length: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (11 Feb. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0056EYW6I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #910,599 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent Tcl/Tk book for beginners 4 May 2011
Format:Paperback
Recently I've been asked by Packt Publishing to read and review the new "Tcl/Tk 8.5 Programming Cookbook" book. You can find full review after the break: "Tcl/Tk 8.5 Programming Cookbook" aims to be a book introducing Tcl/Tk language and providing set of recipes for solving problems and implementing solutions. The author tries to explain Tcl in a way that both newbie and experienced programmers would understand it. However, range of problems mentioned in the book is far from what most people will come up with.

The book provides a good introduction to Tcl, Tcl shell and a typical "Hello world" example to get readers familiar with the basics and dive into Tcl. The book is also not a "rewrite of the manual", even though large part of the book covers options or flags that could otherwise be also found in Tcl/Tk documentation.

"Tcl/Tk 8.5 Programming Cookbook" provides examples that both novice and intermediate users should understand. Purpose and result of each example is clearly explained. All sections are also clearly separated and recipes tend to be self-sufficient and not depend on examples or code from earlier sections or chapters of the book.

Recipes are also created using a consistent style. They start off with a "How to do it" part which explains the goal. "How it works" section shows Tcl code to achieve the result. Finally, "There's more" shows additional information that points reader to additional features or commands to get familiar with.

Main downside of the book is that it shows Tcl a complex language - more difficult to learn than it actually is.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tcl/Tk 8.5 Programming Cookbook 11 Mar. 2011
By WJG
Format:Paperback
When I received my review copy of the Tcl/Tk 8.5 Programming Cookbook I was half expecting a rewrite of the manual -lists of features and functionality with little indication of how and when to use specific resources. I was wrong. Let me explain. A cookbook is something to turn to when you've run out of ideas or perhaps are looking to find some new way of tackling an old problem. Alternatively, cookbooks are for beginners and novices, those people who need to know how do something effectively and quickly. In this area the `Cookbook' score points in every chapter.

Turn to any page in the text and you will find a clear, structure on how to use Tcl/Tk to resolve particular issues. There is a task statement, such as 'Creating a List' in which a particular requirement is identified followed by 'How to Do It' code snippet and 'Why it Works' explanation. For someone new to Tcl programming this is an excellent approach.

Overall, the `Cookbook' is organised over thirteen chapters which cover all the key areas any novice Tcler needs to know. The flow of the book first introduces the reader to the key aspects of Tcl: the shell, program control, error handling, string manipulation, lists, dictionaries (particularly useful) and file operations. Following this it deals with the creation and configuration of GUIs using the Tk widget set and the use of in-built dialogs and the creation of menus. Finally, the issues and decisions surrounding the completion of a first Tcl/Tk project are examined in the form of an address book application.

Conclusion

The Tcl/Tk 8.5 Programming CookBook is exactly what it set out to be - a practical tutorial text. It doesn't cover the advanced features of Tcl/Tk but this is intentional. Would I recommend this book to a Tcl/Tk newbie? Yes
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4.0 out of 5 stars easy to read and suitable for a beginner 9 April 2011
Format:Paperback
Maybe by its very nature, a cookbook cannot or should not aspire to comprehensively cover every aspect of a language. Here, Wheeler provides a quick introduction to both Tcl and Tk. Indeed, if you need a quick start to learning either, without ambitions for exhaustiveness, then Wheeler can suffice.

The various recipes are grouped logically enough into topics like string parsing, file operations, or GUI programming with Tk. One thing that might strike you, if you have already done GUI programming in another language like Java, is how Tk is extraordinarily easy to pick up. In part, at least as far as you can see in this book, this is because the widgets of Tk are somewhat minimal compared to what Java or C# [or .NET if you prefer] provides, both in terms of the variety and number of options for each widget.

It does seem to me that the recipes [or examples] were all chosen for their simplicity. There is nothing really complicated in any of them. The book is well suited for a Tcl/Tk beginner.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Clear choice of Tcl/Tk features 8 Mar. 2011
Format:Paperback
The recipe-style of "Issue - Description - solution - more" may suite to many people.
Each recipe is a good choice between short and complete.

This concept might help a beginner to enter to Tcl/Tk in small portions, one per day for example.
Even the last recipe, a notepad application, which resumes most of the others, it still small enough to be understood.

It is good that the relatively recent data structure "dicts" is treated.
I am missing namespaces and themed tk on the Tk side.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Entry level book with some issues 12 May 2011
By Roalt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was a bit suprised when a representative of Packt asked me to review
a new Tcl/Tk book: A new Tcl/Tk book? A book about a language that
gets much less attention nowadays than Ruby, Clojure, Python, C#, and
even Java? Yes, it's really true.

There are quite some books on Tcl/Tk, albeit that most are already
aging. One of the well-known books is Practical Programming with
Tcl/Tk by Brent Welch that's now in it's 4th edition. So it's
quite obvious that any other book shall compete with this book on the
shelf about Tcl/Tk programming.

But even with all those new languages, Tcl/Tk doesn't really get the
credit it deserves: It's not a web-oriented language (initial attempts to
run Tcl/Tk in the browser failed to catch much popularity). But it's
still strong as scripting language and as language to make user
interfaces, without having to learn a new framework or a new
programming language. In that sense, Tcl/Tk is an Agile language that
you can pick up and extend your knowledge as you go.

The book is, as the name suggests, written in the Cookbook-style: Easy
to distinguish topics with examples and simple answers. I like the
style as it's both useful as tutorial book, to read from front to end,
as for reference book where you can skip to the topic or issue and read it.

The books starts with the Tcl shell syntax, then it describes the
standard control structures, error handling, and then continues to the
various variable types of the language, such as strings, lists and
dictionaries. After discussing the core Tcl features, the books moves
on to the Tk-part of Tcl/Tk, the user interface. The different
standard components are discussed, at the end of the book an example
is given of an address book application.

Although the book, in essence, can be a good addition to what's
available, when I first browsed through it, I got a bit of saddened
feeling: There were some typos and errors (e.g. TCL_interactive
instead of tcl_interactive), and more important: the code indentation
is broken throughout the whole book: I know you can have different
opinions on this subject, but I cannot believe the author applies it
as it is done in the book. I sincerely hope these layout problems and
some errata's will trigger a second edition release.

There are also some other issues that I noticed related to the order:
For instance, first regular expressions are discussed. A view pages
later, the simple string search is discussed. If you're reading the
book as tutorial, you might this order a bit unnatural. I also miss a
discussion of the namespace functionality in Tcl/Tk: if you want to
write larger applications, it prevents serious scaling problems and
the use of global variables.

The Tk-part of the book is not complete, some important (advanced)
techniques are missing. For instance, to control the input of a entry
widget, or handle the scrollbar with the -xscrollcommand and
-yscrollcommand (the scrollbar isn't even mentioned). In that sense,
if you do not consider it an advanced Tcl/Tk book, it's allright, but
you might miss out these important topics otherwise.

The address book application is a section of the book I find a bit
misplaced: it looks like it's just a listing of a (long) application,
that is described afterwards. Although I like long examples
discussing more complex issues with the language or see the topics
combined in one example, I doubt this example will be encouraging
enough for the reader. A reference to where the source code can be
found would be more than sufficient, and it would leave room to
discuss the important decisions made in this application.

Concluding, I must say that for an entry-level Tcl/Tk book it's a good
and easy accessible book. But if you intend to get a full
understanding of the language, you will require at least one
additional book (or read a lot of internet or manual pages). And some
issues, especially the indentation, must be taken care of in a reprint
before I can give a positive recommendation.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK for beginners, not for experts 5 May 2011
By Koen Van Damme - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
First things first: Despite its title, this is not a cookbook, but a reference guide. For a large selection of common Tcl commands, the book gives an overview of the syntax, arguments, subcommands and behavior. Each such overview is followed by a simple example that shows the command in use, but the examples are too basic to count as "cookbook recipes". In fact, they would even be too simple for a user guide.

The book will appeal to programmers who are new to Tcl. Even though the reference material can all be found on the web, it is nice to have it all available in one bundle. I'm not new to Tcl (at all), but I learned a thing or two about new features in Tcl8.5 that I had not used before. For expert Tcl'ers, the book promises to "sharpen their skills", but it does not manage to live up to this promise. The examples are simply too straightforward, and the reference material too familiar. For advanced tips and tricks, the Tcl'ers wiki is still the place to be.

The book is organized in a logical way, following the expected line of topics from how to use the Tcl shell, via strings, lists, dictionaries and files,
to the Tk toolkit. Titles are rendered inside black boxes with plenty of space around them, to make them easier to spot when you're looking for a specific item.

At barely 200 pages, with a lot of repeated content and with titles and subtitles taking up a lot of space, this book is not exactly a bargain but not unreasonably expensive either. If you're serious about developing Tcl applications, I would recommend a more advanced book for perhaps 25% more money.

The review copy I received, contained a number of annoying errors, both in the code examples and in the English. It will require a lot of polishing and cleanup to turn this into a final print version. Packt publishing has a very open policy, so it was easy to send feedback and errata through the website.
4.0 out of 5 stars suitable for a beginner 8 April 2011
By W Boudville - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Maybe by its very nature, a cookbook cannot or should not aspire to comprehensively cover every aspect of a language. Here, Wheeler provides a quick introduction to both Tcl and Tk. Indeed, if you need a quick start to learning either, without ambitions for exhaustiveness, then Wheeler can suffice.

The various recipes are grouped logically enough into topics like string parsing, file operations, or GUI programming with Tk. One thing that might strike you, if you have already done GUI programming in another language like Java, is how Tk is extraordinarily easy to pick up. In part, at least as far as you can see in this book, this is because the widgets of Tk are somewhat minimal compared to what Java or C# [or .NET if you prefer] provides, both in terms of the variety and number of options for each widget.

It does seem to me that the recipes [or examples] were all chosen for their simplicity. There is nothing really complicated in any of them. The book is well suited for a Tcl/Tk beginner.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth any price 4 April 2011
By B.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was very disappointed with this book. I think the Tcl community needs a good cookbook but this isn't it.

One problem is that the author spends a great amount of detail on some aspects of the language (working with mathematical expressions, for example) and little to no detail on other more important aspects (quoting, the one thing that trips up more beginners than anything else). Some critical aspects of the language are completely left out except as part of an example with little to no explanation.

In my opinion the author had only an intermediate understanding of Tcl at best. The book touts that it has something for both the beginner and advanced programmer but I felt it had neither. There is absolutely nothing an advanced programmer will take away. For beginners, they can get up and running with the material in this book, but some of the information is misleading and will require them to relearn some aspects of the language to become more proficient.

Many examples are contrived and weak, and the short synopsis given for commands is very inaccurate. for example, "command one two" sometimes means "command" requires exactly two arguments, sometimes it means it accepts zero or more -- unlike man pages and most other books, the typography gives no hints to help in this matter. For that reason this book cannot be relied on as a reference.

If you had a stack comprised of all books related to Tcl -- sadly a rather short stack -- I think this book would be at the very bottom.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tcl/Tk 8.5 Programming Cookbook 16 Mar. 2011
By WJG - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When I received my review copy of the Tcl/Tk 8.5 Programming Cookbook I was half expecting a rewrite of the manual -lists of features and functionality with little indication of how and when to use specific resources. I was wrong. Let me explain. A cookbook is something to turn to when you've run out of ideas or perhaps are looking to find some new way of tackling an old problem. Alternatively, cookbooks are for beginners and novices, those people who need to know how do something effectively and quickly. In this area the `Cookbook' score points in every chapter.

Turn to any page in the text and you will find a clear, structure on how to use Tcl/Tk to resolve particular issues. There is a task statement, such as 'Creating a List' in which a particular requirement is identified followed by a 'How to Do It' code snippet and a 'Why it Works' explanation. For someone new to Tcl programming this is an excellent approach.

Overall, the `Cookbook' is organised over thirteen chapters which cover all the key areas any novice Tcler needs to know. The flow of the book first introduces the reader to the key aspects of Tcl: the shell, program control, error handling, string manipulation, lists, dictionaries (particularly useful) and file operations. Following this it deals with the creation and configuration of GUIs using the Tk widget set and the use of in-built dialogs and the creation of menus. Finally, the issues and decisions surrounding the completion of a first Tcl/Tk project are examined in the form of an address book application.

Conclusion

The Tcl/Tk 8.5 Programming CookBook is exactly what it set out to be - a practical tutorial text. It doesn't cover the advanced features of Tcl/Tk but this is intentional. Would I recommend this book to a Tcl/Tk newbie? Yes.
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