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Tcl and the Tk Toolkit--no coverage of Tk's C API

I'm reading the second edition of Tcl and the Tk Toolkit, and am finding 
it very informative. I appreciate the coverage of the ttk widgets, in 
particular the tree widget, which has always been somewhat difficult for 
me to grok. The coverage of Tcl's C API is also very helpful; I'm 
learning a lot from that.

However, there's one conspicuous omission from the book: Tk's C API. On 
p. 19, the book notes that "Tk provides a library that you can use to 
create new widget classes and geometry managers in C, but this 
capability is rarely used and so is not covered in this book."

I have to say, I'm disappointed. As one who's been trying to learn Tk's 
C API, it would be nice to see an up-to-date, structured overview of the 
Tk C API that follows the same structure as the book's discussion of 
Tcl's C API. The Brent Welch book has a detailed overview of how to 
write a Tk widget in C, but I find it hard to follow. (Perhaps this will 
become easier to manage after I digest the general Tcl/C API discussion 
in Osterhout/Jones.)

I can't help but wonder if the new book's attitude about the Tk C 
API--that it's "rarely used"--explains, or at least is a symptom of, 
Tk's slow pace of evolution over the years relative to other toolkits. 
The Tcl core community is pretty small, but Tk's core of C developers is 
even smaller. By my count, there are three active members of the TCT who 
actively develop Tk, and I can think of perhaps three or four other 
active Tcl/Tk developers outside of the TCT who do active development of 
Tk on specific platforms.  The small core community wouldn't be so 
problematic if there were a larger community of occasional contributors 
adding patches or implementing specific features. Tcl has this. Tk, for 
the most part, does not.

Why is this? Is Tk's C API too hard to learn? Or is it because Tk itself 
makes implementing new functionality so easy that very few people want 
to dive into C? Having implemented a lot of custom Tk stuff at the 
script level, I can sympathize with this. However, I've also wrestled 
with enough C and platform-specific API's to contribute a patch to Tk's 
core on my platform that fixes some long-standing annoyances for me; 
there simply was no other way to address these complaints. Also, as the 
themed widgets show, the only way to really expand the toolkit's 
capability is at the C level.

Given that it's not covered in Tcl and the Tk Toolkit, what resources 
exist for learning Tk's C API? I'll probably return to the Welch book 
since it's really the only thorough extant introduction that I know of. 
Daniel Steffen also referred me to tkSquare.c in the tk/generic source 
tree--looks like a very simple skeleton model of a Tk widget, which will 
also be useful study. Is there anything else out there that I'm missing?

As always, any advice is appreciated...

Kevin

-- 
Kevin Walzer
Code by Kevin
http://www.codebykevin.com
0
kw564 (720)
10/20/2009 3:18:00 PM
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O/H Kevin Walzer έγραψε:
> I'm reading the second edition of Tcl and the Tk Toolkit, and am finding 
> it very informative. I appreciate the coverage of the ttk widgets, in 
> particular the tree widget, which has always been somewhat difficult for 
> me to grok. The coverage of Tcl's C API is also very helpful; I'm 
> learning a lot from that.
> 
> However, there's one conspicuous omission from the book: Tk's C API. On 
> p. 19, the book notes that "Tk provides a library that you can use to 
> create new widget classes and geometry managers in C, but this 
> capability is rarely used and so is not covered in this book."
> 
> I have to say, I'm disappointed. As one who's been trying to learn Tk's 
> C API, it would be nice to see an up-to-date, structured overview of the 
> Tk C API that follows the same structure as the book's discussion of 
> Tcl's C API. The Brent Welch book has a detailed overview of how to 
> write a Tk widget in C, but I find it hard to follow. (Perhaps this will 
> become easier to manage after I digest the general Tcl/C API discussion 
> in Osterhout/Jones.)
> 
> I can't help but wonder if the new book's attitude about the Tk C 
> API--that it's "rarely used"--explains, or at least is a symptom of, 
> Tk's slow pace of evolution over the years relative to other toolkits. 
> The Tcl core community is pretty small, but Tk's core of C developers is 
> even smaller. By my count, there are three active members of the TCT who 
> actively develop Tk, and I can think of perhaps three or four other 
> active Tcl/Tk developers outside of the TCT who do active development of 
> Tk on specific platforms.  The small core community wouldn't be so 
> problematic if there were a larger community of occasional contributors 
> adding patches or implementing specific features. Tcl has this. Tk, for 
> the most part, does not.
> 
> Why is this? Is Tk's C API too hard to learn? Or is it because Tk itself 
> makes implementing new functionality so easy that very few people want 
> to dive into C? Having implemented a lot of custom Tk stuff at the 
> script level, I can sympathize with this. However, I've also wrestled 
> with enough C and platform-specific API's to contribute a patch to Tk's 
> core on my platform that fixes some long-standing annoyances for me; 
> there simply was no other way to address these complaints. Also, as the 
> themed widgets show, the only way to really expand the toolkit's 
> capability is at the C level.
> 
> Given that it's not covered in Tcl and the Tk Toolkit, what resources 
> exist for learning Tk's C API? I'll probably return to the Welch book 
> since it's really the only thorough extant introduction that I know of. 
> Daniel Steffen also referred me to tkSquare.c in the tk/generic source 
> tree--looks like a very simple skeleton model of a Tk widget, which will 
> also be useful study. Is there anything else out there that I'm missing?
> 
> As always, any advice is appreciated...
> 
> Kevin
> 

I agree. I know very little of C API of Tk. I have tried to get active 
in the past in areas Tk was lucking (dnd, gtk/qt ttk themes, and now a 
mozilla widget) and I run into all sorts of problems that I don't know 
how to resolve. And the result is of course a set of incomplete 
extensions...

So, in essence you have to beat the peculiarities of a task, and then 
you have to battle with Tk...

George
0
petasis (1405)
10/20/2009 4:20:45 PM
On Oct 20, 8:18=A0am, Kevin Walzer <k...@codebykevin.com> wrote:
> Why is this? Is Tk's C API too hard to learn? Or is it because Tk itself
> makes implementing new functionality so easy that very few people want
> to dive into C? Having implemented a lot of custom Tk stuff at the

I would say that there are a few reasons.

1. Tk at the C level is much less necessary to use/extend.  Lots of
Tcl extension authors tie into the plethora of non-UI integration
points.  However, on the Tk side, most people just take advantage of
the existing widgets.  There are very few widget authors (how many
comboboxes do you need, and as we've seen, how many even need C?).

2. There is less to the Tk C API than Tcl.  Less is exposed.

3. It takes a higher level of understanding to grok Tk at the C
level.  You can't get away from the X11 heritage, although having to
know some of Win32 and OS X does help it isn't required for the most
part.  However, you do get into fonts, colors and all sort of extra
abstractions that, well, what are you doing again in C?  ;)

4. Few people really understand the Tk C side.  I've always thought
that a bit of a pity because it is actually more elegant than other
toolkits, even in C.

> Given that it's not covered in Tcl and the Tk Toolkit, what resources
> exist for learning Tk's C API? I'll probably return to the Welch book
> since it's really the only thorough extant introduction that I know of.
> Daniel Steffen also referred me to tkSquare.c in the tk/generic source
> tree--looks like a very simple skeleton model of a Tk widget, which will
> also be useful study. Is there anything else out there that I'm missing?

tkSquare.c is an excellent place to start.  I've made extensions like
vu and tktable to be "idealistic" examples for widget authors.  It
really depends on whether you are diving in for widgets or for
something else.

Jeff
0
jeff.hobbs (444)
10/20/2009 9:25:34 PM
On Tue, 20 Oct 2009, Jeff Hobbs wrote:

> tkSquare.c is an excellent place to start.  I've made extensions like
> vu and tktable to be "idealistic" examples for widget authors.  It
> really depends on whether you are diving in for widgets or for
> something else.
>
> Jeff

Jeff,

What about your own tkTable??  A significant widget no doubt, and I'm sure 
one could do worse than to study that as an example.

Cheers,
Rob.
0
Spam159 (460)
10/20/2009 11:50:16 PM
On 20 Oct, 16:18, Kevin Walzer <k...@codebykevin.com> wrote:
> However, there's one conspicuous omission from the book: Tk's C API. On
> p. 19, the book notes that "Tk provides a library that you can use to
> create new widget classes and geometry managers in C, but this
> capability is rarely used and so is not covered in this book."

It's rarely used, and you *really* need to know X11 to get into it in
any depth beyond basic making another widget or geometry manager (for
those, you can just copy-and-modify existing code). Knowing Win32 and
OSX Cocoa (both!) helps, and if you're into fonts in depth... $env
(DEITY) rest your soul. Dealing with the low levels of Tk is very
difficult, much more so than Tcl.

> I have to say, I'm disappointed. As one who's been trying to learn Tk's
> C API, it would be nice to see an up-to-date, structured overview of the
> Tk C API that follows the same structure as the book's discussion of
> Tcl's C API. The Brent Welch book has a detailed overview of how to
> write a Tk widget in C, but I find it hard to follow. (Perhaps this will
> become easier to manage after I digest the general Tcl/C API discussion
> in Osterhout/Jones.)

The easy layer is best done by adapting examples, the hard layer is
best done by Using The Source, Luke.

Donal.
0
10/21/2009 10:59:13 AM
At Wed, 21 Oct 2009 03:59:13 -0700 (PDT) "Donal K. Fellows" <donal.k.fellows@manchester.ac.uk> wrote:

> 
> On 20 Oct, 16:18, Kevin Walzer <k...@codebykevin.com> wrote:
> > However, there's one conspicuous omission from the book: Tk's C API. On
> > p. 19, the book notes that "Tk provides a library that you can use to
> > create new widget classes and geometry managers in C, but this
> > capability is rarely used and so is not covered in this book."
> 
> It's rarely used, and you *really* need to know X11 to get into it in
> any depth beyond basic making another widget or geometry manager (for
> those, you can just copy-and-modify existing code). Knowing Win32 and
> OSX Cocoa (both!) helps, and if you're into fonts in depth... $env
> (DEITY) rest your soul. Dealing with the low levels of Tk is very
> difficult, much more so than Tcl.
> 
> > I have to say, I'm disappointed. As one who's been trying to learn Tk's
> > C API, it would be nice to see an up-to-date, structured overview of the
> > Tk C API that follows the same structure as the book's discussion of
> > Tcl's C API. The Brent Welch book has a detailed overview of how to
> > write a Tk widget in C, but I find it hard to follow. (Perhaps this will
> > become easier to manage after I digest the general Tcl/C API discussion
> > in Osterhout/Jones.)
> 
> The easy layer is best done by adapting examples, the hard layer is
> best done by Using The Source, Luke.

The only time I every (seriously) interfaced to the Tk C API was to
extend the 'image' command and in that case I (partially) did a copy and
hack of the sources for the Img package.  Plus the man pages and the
source code...

> 
> Donal.
>                                                                                               

-- 
Robert Heller             -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software        -- Download the Model Railroad System
http://www.deepsoft.com/  -- Binaries for Linux and MS-Windows
heller@deepsoft.com       -- http://www.deepsoft.com/ModelRailroadSystem/
                 
0
heller (3031)
10/21/2009 12:13:38 PM
Reply:

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Dear all, Hi! I am currently would like to build table using XRT commands, and would like to know if there is any XRT extension available for TCL/TK intepreter such as Wish, Visual TCL? Or would someone advise me how possible alternative approach building table by sourcing a .csv file? Please kindly help as I am a newbie and a bit lost in finding the best way to build table using a csv file. Sincerely, David Kuo David wrote: > Dear all, > > Hi! I am currently would like to build table using XRT commands, and > would like to know if there is any XRT extension available for TC...

TCL_LINK_FLOAT (getting at Fortran real*4's from a TCL/TK gui)
I am attempting to build a GUI around an old Fortran app. I was hoping to use tcl/tk to monitor & control variables which live in my Fortran common blocks. I've got a lot of my tools in place. I've figured out how to set C pointers so that their target is the proper byte in my common blocks (the variables aren't even all aligned), and then, with a little help, how to use Tcl_LinkVar and tk scales to access (monitor and set) these variables from within my gui. All in all, it's working really well. Now I've hit one more roadblock I need to solve. Many of my variabl...

[ANN] Registration open && 2nd Call For Papers
Hello comp.lang.tcl, fyi ... 22nd Annual Tcl/Tk Conference (Tcl'2015) http://www.tcl.tk/community/tcl2015/ October 19 - 23, 2015 Comfort Suites Manassas 7350 Williamson Blvd, 20109 Manassas, Virginia, USA Important Dates: [[ Attention! Registration is open! Please have a look at http://www.tcl.tk/community/tcl2015/register.html ]] Abstracts and proposals due August 24, 2015 Notification to authors August 31, 2015 WIP and BOF reservations open July 27, 2015 Author materials due September 28, 2015 Tutorials Start October 19, 2015 Co...

Extracting the contents of Active State's MS-Windows Tcl/Tk installer
Is it possible (under Linux) to peel apart an Active State MS-Windows Tcl/Tk installer EXE? (I know I can run the installer under Wine, but that works poorly over a dialup connection.) -- Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933 Deepwoods Software -- Custom Software Services http://www.deepsoft.com/ -- Linux Administration Services heller@deepsoft.com -- Webhosting Services Robert Heller <heller@deepsoft.com> writes: > Is it possible (under Linux) to peel apart an Active State MS-Windows Tcl/Tk > installer EXE? (I know I can run the installer under Wine, but that works > poorly over a dialup connection.) The AS installer EXE is a starpack. IOW a static tclsh with a metakit VFS attached to it, holding the contents. If you have the packages to deal with metakit VFS' (like form an AS installation for your platform) then you can look into the installer simply by mounting it in a Tcl script and then using Tcl's file/path builtins, starting with glob. -- So long, Andreas Kupries <akupries@shaw.ca> <http://www.purl.org/NET/akupries/> Developer @ <http://www.activestate.com/> EuroTcl 2015, June 20-21, Cologne/DE, http://www.eurotcl.tcl3d.org/ Tcl'2015, Oct 19-23, Manassas, VA, USA, http://www.tcl.tk/community/tcl2015/ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I need to unpack some files from the 64-bit MS-W...

Do we have any tcl/tk package which is similar to perl's "Spreadsheet::WriteExcel"
Hi all, Do we have any tcl/tk package which is similar to perl's "Spreadsheet::WriteExcel" ? Cheers, iand On Jan 13, 2:17=A0pm, iand <ianda...@gmail.com> wrote: > Do we have any tcl/tk package which is similar to perl's > "Spreadsheet::WriteExcel" ? Is writing a CSV file good enough? There's a package for that in tcllib. (Otherwise, use tcom to talk to a running Excel instance; that lets you do pretty much anything you want.) Donal. On 13.01.2011 17:31, Donal K. Fellows wrote: > On Jan 13, 2:17 pm, iand<ianda...@gmail.com> wrote: >> Do we have any tcl/tk package which is similar to perl's >> "Spreadsheet::WriteExcel" ? > > Is writing a CSV file good enough? There's a package for that in > tcllib. (Otherwise, use tcom to talk to a running Excel instance; that > lets you do pretty much anything you want.) > > Donal. For a higher level access to some of the COM functionality of Excel, you can try my TcomExcel package at http://www.posoft.de/html/extTcomExcel.html Paul On Jan 13, 10:31=A0am, "Donal K. Fellows" <donal.k.fell...@manchester.ac.uk> wrote: > On Jan 13, 2:17=A0pm, iand <ianda...@gmail.com> wrote: > > > Do we have any tcl/tk package which is similar to perl's > > "Spreadsheet::WriteExcel" ? > > Is writing a CSV file good enough? There's a package for that in > tcllib. (Otherwise, use tcom to ta...

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