Don't let VisualTCL die!

  • Fabricio Rocha

    Fabricio Rocha - 2009-02-17

    I hope someone reads that. For years I have looked for a simple, easy way to Linux programming. Got tired of people talking about writing scripts in Python-GTK as if THIS was RAD (c'mon....). The Gambas project got a nice, steady development, but it lacks portability which lots of people would like to have.

    TCL/TK is quite different from BASIC but always seemed to be easy and, while not exactly visually pleasant, had the portability and a lot of flexibility. I bought a book, kind of confusing, handwritten-scripts method, but OK. Then, recently, the "programming bug" bite again, and I discovered only some days ago VisualTCL. Maybe an answer to my prayers?

    It was strange that it is not in the Debian repositories, but I found that it was very simple to install and use from the sources found here. Ooops - it refuses to start. Google helped to find out that the problem was a part of the scripts which required "-exact" TK 8.4, while mine is 8.5.6. Commented out a line of one script and the thing started, but ooops again -- "upvar won't create a scalar variable bla bla bla"? Hum.... Google. There is the very confusing and messy TCLers Wiki which shows that it's a matter of transition between TCL/TK 8.4 to 8.5. But... was there a way to fix it and have an usable Visual TCL? Then I got a binary pack in a Google Code site which worked. Good.

    After all that fuss and those boring-to-read lines, I could be happy and satisfied. But I am not. While reading about Visual TCL to have it working, I found out that its development seems to be in a crucial state. The latest news we get from the "news window" when the program starts come from 2005. The project's website simply does not work (and it seems to be like that for a long while!). I have read that the once-active developers are now too busy making their lifes (and it's a right of them to do that!) and there are very few people showing interest of maintaining the project and performing some updates -- the latest official version will complete TWO YEARS now!

    Please, guys, don't let Visual TCL die. It is not perfect and even TCL/TK newbies like me can see that it should be better with a lot of new features. But it also seems to be VERY CLOSE to being a killer multiplatform RAD-tool. Only a few miles ahead and it will get there. Why not unite efforts around it? I have a little experience in C/GTK programming which won't help much, but I would proudly like to contribute to the project in some way. Could I ask some open questions to anyone who could answer them?

    1) Who is/are the project leader(s) now?

    2) Who contributes for VisualTCL development currently?

    3) Is there any ongoing work for a new release? When is this planned to happen?

    4) Who maintains (or simply "keeps the keys" for) the VisualTCL site?

    5) Who else actually uses Visual TCL and would like to contribute for its development/distribution/"marketing"?

    6) Apart from the comments in the sourcefiles, is there any documentation about the Visual TCL development (program structure, how it works, what each source file does, how they interact with each other, roadmap, etc)?

    7) Did not SCO cause problems about the VisualTCL brand?

    8) Which features would people like to see in a hypothetical Visual TCL 2.0?

    As I said, I am a newbie in TCL/TK and I won't be able to mess up with Visual TCL code so soon. In fact I am a journalist, not a professional programmer. But I would like to contribute anyway -- first of all by creating or contributing to a new website for the project, as soon as its owner give me the keys. I would also like to propose a roadmap/list of goals for future versions and try to do a public call for TCL/TK developers to contribute. I also candidate for documentation revision/edition as possible, and if needed/desired I could try to organize and coordinate the development goals (with a lot of help of "true" developers, for sure... specially while I don't know TCL/TK enough).

    Sorry if I am sounding too pretensious and picky, folks, but I simply can't accept that a so-needed project which came so far sits abandoned there...

    • Roman Tönshoff

      Roman Tönshoff - 2009-04-27

      Hi Fabricio,

      i am totaly conform with you. For my poor Tcl/Tk-Experience vtcl is NOW a real killer app.
      Iwould appreciate if someone could maintain the source.
      Iwould be happy, if new tcl-versions would be supported. As i can see, there is NO competitor on the field.
      I would contribute too, with my little experience. But i think translations or testing or something like that are helpful too.

      Best regards

  • Nuno Sousa Cerqueira

    I offer my services for this cause. What is the roadmap and what is required?

  • Strykaas

    Strykaas - 2009-11-15

    Hi !
    I'm a Visual TCL developper. I do not think your services will ever be needed. See the news I have posted.


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