[svlug] Books - Linux on the Mainframe & Tcl/Tk

William R. Lorenz wrl at express.org
Tue Jul 15 19:52:09 PDT 2003

For those who might be interested, I have three free books available.  
One covers Linux on the Mainframe, and the other two cover Tcl/Tk
Programming;  both topics I'm sure lots of group members love.  I'm from
the Linux Users Group of Cleveland, but because I'll be moving to the Bay
Area pending available jobs, and because we're nationwide here in
Cleveland *g*, I thought I would extend this offer to those interested.

You can find information about the Linux on the Mainframe book here:


And information about the Tcl/Tk book (from a Cal student ;) is here:


One-way shipping is free (you can keep the book), and all I ask for in
return is a good review that we can post to our group website for the
expansion of our sections (http://www.clevelandlug.net).  Please feel free
to email me directly, and it's first-email-first-serve to be fair. :)

--          _ 
__ __ ___ _| | William R. Lorenz <wrl at express.org> 
\ V  V / '_| | http://www.clevelandlug.net/ ; "Every revolution was 
 \./\./|_| |_| first a thought in one man's mind." - Ralph Waldo Emerson 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 21:53:38 -0400 (EDT)
From: William R. Lorenz <wrl at express.org>
Reply-To: talk at clevelandlug.net
To: talk at clevelandlug.net
Subject: [lugc-talk] Practical Programming in Tcl and Tk - Free Book!

{ Read on to learn a bit about Tcl/Tk and get your very own free book! }

LUGC Members,

I learned tonight that the Tcl/Tk language was invented at noneother than
UC Berkeley, go figure.  I'll make it there some day, I swear. ;)  Brent
Welch, who studied at Cal under the creator of the Tcl/Tk language has
updated one of his excellent books, Practical Programming in Tcl and Tk.  
This new edition, which is fresh off the presses and isn't even available
for purchase at Amazon yet (although you can Google for it, I have found),
includes coverage of version 8.4, with the following new features & more:

  * 64-bit file system & 64-bit expr support
  * serial port support (Windows / UNIX)
  * support for starkits (aka scripted documents)
  * improved image transparency support
  * native Aqua support for OS X
  * new virtual file system
  * improved threading support
  * much much more (see website)

As some of you may or may not already know, Tcl/Tk is a powerful scripting
language (Tcl) and widget toolkit (Tk).  The Tk widget toolkit can be
compared to GTK or QT, found within the GNOME and KDE environments, and it
provides graphical windoing components such as buttons, boxes, and more;  
components very similar to those used in GTK+ apps with the Perl language,
which was included in my January presentation on GTK+ Perl Programming.

I like to think of Tcl/Tk as a standalone scripting language (Tcl) that
can be used like `#/usr/bin/perl` when creating scripts, and a windowing
toolkit (Tk) to boot.  With the regular expression support and Unicode
support included as of release 8.1, one could use regular expressions to
match Japanese or Hindi documents.  I can't even begin to tell you how
often that comes in handy *g*.  Jokes aside, Unicode is a powerful method
of representing international characters and can be used for application
i18n, which is important while Linux continues to gain desktop adoptance.

In fact, there was a Slashdot article earlier today regarding the City of
Munich (Germany) -- a tech hot-spot in Europe similar to the Bay Area or
Bangalore in India -- installing Linux on more than 14,000 desktops in
place of Windows (and spending more financially with SuSE and IBM in the
process).  As adoption of Linux on desktop continues to grow at an
increased rate, Tcl/Tk is a language that can help in quickly developing
applications for the desktop & also application-embedded scripts.  Yes,
Tcl/Tk can be added to existing applications to allow scripting of those
applications -- in both C and Java.  While I remember using Tcl/Tk with
the Eggdrops long ago, I found out just tonight it can be used in Java!

 *  to the first people that ask. I would kindly expect that the people  *
 *  receiving these books would be willing to write a short review that  *
 * we can post on our website -- it's the right thing to do, and I think *
 *  it's more than fair in exchange for keeping this excellent book. :)  *
 *                                                                       *
 *                                                                       *

The book is quite excellent - it's written by an expert who has been using
the language for many many years and at both Berkeley and the Xerox PARC.  
The structural format of the book is such that the first two parts of the
book cover basic Tcl scripting (looping, string operations, file access)
and advanced Tcl scripting (Tcl regexps, reflection & debugging, i18n,
sockets, and threading).  These two parts contain everything one needs to
know to get up to speed on the functional aspects of the language.  The
latter parts of the book cover all aspects of Tk widget programming, with
lots of good info one can use when creating graphical user interfaces for
use on the Linux desktop as well as in cross-platform GUI technologies.

For those wanting to learn CGI web application scripting, there's a <50
line guestbook example, and for those interested in socket programming,
there's a compact <20 line example of fetching a webpage via the net.  
I'm sure one could use this as the codebase for a simple web spider and as
an example when writing a simple FTP client (quite fun indeed, for those
who might be up to the challenge ;).  If anyone decides to write an FTP
client using Tcl/Tk, I'll be glad to provide some personal guidance. :)

Also included is a section on Tcl/Tk programming in C (including some good
information about writing your own Tk widget if that's your cup of tea,
and a changelog detailing the history of recent Tcl/Tk releases up to and
including Tcl/Tk 8.4 (released May 20th -- quite recently, indeed).  A
CDROM also provides Tcl/Tk software packages & examples from the book.

More information from the publisher for those who might be interested:

  -- About the Book --

Practical Programming in Tcl/Tk has been described as the "bible" for Tcl
programmers. It is a guide to the Tcl/Tk programming language and GUI
toolkit. This fourth revision includes substantial updates to cover the
new version 8.4-giving both an overview of the features, as well as
details about every command in the language. The third edition, written on
version 8.2, sold over 30,000 copies.

The book provides a guide to the best ways to use the toolkit.  It not
only gives accurate details, but also includes extensive examples that
demonstrate the best way to use the toolkit.  The expert authors offer
many valuable insights to the readers, as both have developed the
technology and used it to solve problems.

  -- Audience --

Any Tcl programmer who wants up-to-date information on the latest version
of Tcl/Tk.  It is helpful for both novice and expert, because of its
mixture of overview and tutorial information, multiple examples, and
detailed feature descriptions.

Additionally, this book includes the latest versions of the Tcl/Tk
toolkit, as well as a wide selection of Tcl extensions and applications,
including a copy of ActiveTcl distribution from Active State software.

  -- Author Biographies --

Brent Welch is a software architect at Panasas, and former research
engineer at Sun Microsystems and Xerox PARC.  He has been involved in Tcl
and Tk from the early beginnings, and developed major Tcl applications
including the exmh email user interface and the TclHttpd web server.  His
home page is http://www.beedub.com/  Ken Jones is a Silicon Valley Tcl/Tk
instructor and frequent speaker at industry Tcl/Tk conferences.

--          _ 
__ __ ___ _| | William R. Lorenz <wrl at express.org> 
\ V  V / '_| | http://www.clevelandlug.net/ ; "Every revolution was 
 \./\./|_| |_| first a thought in one man's mind." - Ralph Waldo Emerson 

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