If you've ever wanted to try your hand at programming, but don't have a clue where to start, perhaps this page is for you. If you have dreams of a wonderful job, power beyond imagination, and perhaps world domination, you'll need to learn C, but this is a good first step. Programming languages are complex. They are fascinating, and well worth the effort to learn, but you tend to spend your first three months learning different ways to manipulate text and learn creative ways of shoving numbers into your computer's memory. In today's world of web-pages and GUI's (Graphical User Interface, if you're using any version of Windows or Macintosh, you're on one), you could probably care less. You want buttons! You want graphics! You want fun stuff that looks better than a white screen flashing "Hello World" down the left side. Welcome to Tcl/Tk.
Truth be told, Tcl (pronounced "tickle") isn't a programming language, but neither is it just a toy. It's a scripting language, which means that every "program" is really just a list of textual commands. If you want to make big programs, it's not the way to go, but if you need a tool (I became interested when trying to make an SNMP monitor) to do a small(ish) job, it's short, simple and much faster for even experienced programmers to use. Tcl, or Tool Command Language, was developed sometime in the 80's by a man named John Ousterhout while he was a professor at the University of California in Berkley. It has since had Tk (pronounced just as it looks: "tee-kay") added to it, which is a set of extended commands that allows graphical stuff like buttons, menu's, etc.
If you already know a programming language or five, this resource may not be for you. You can probably use any of the other resources (TCL WWW Info is a great jumping off point) which consist mostly of a lot of well-commented source code. Tcl is simple enough to just start messing with and pick up in a relatively short amount of time. However you might be like me, and know how to program, but would rather be taken through step by step for the initial commands, in which case come on in! Please note that this is not geared towards Unix of any flavor, there are many resources already out there for that. This is made from a Windows95 box, and I'll try to test it on Macintosh at some point, but the basics should be the same for all operating systems. I think I've blathered enough, let's get started!
Copyright 1998 by Chris Palmer
Mail all comments to: Ardenstone@Ardenstone.com
Visit the rest of my Senior Seminar
or my homepage.