Wonder if it will get on Safari?
Is this anything but a copy of some web site? I've seen several
comments recently about books being published which were basically
wikipedia pages, etc.
The link goes to the official page of the publisher: Packt Publishing
for the book. It is also listed on Amazon (but they do not have it for
sale yet). Details are:
Language : English
Paperback : 236 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : February 2011
ISBN : 1849512981
ISBN 13 : 978-1-84951-298-5
Author(s) : Bert Wheeler
Also available as PDF.
Packt is a legitimate publisher; I know authors who feel Packt treated
them fairly. I have no knowledge of this specific book.
The book is original content, but I don't think it's good at all. I'm
afraid that someone completely new to Tcl who reads this book will
walk away thinking Tcl is very difficult, inconsistent and
In the preface it claims the book is "written for both the beginning
developer... to the experienced Tcl/Tk programmer looking to sharpen
their skills". There is absolutely nothing at all in this book for an
intermediate or advanced Tcl/Tk programmer. I don't think it's good
for a beginner either, unfortunately.
I had high hopes for this book, but it falls far short of the mark
IMO. My advice: don't waste your money, and if you're given a copy,
don't pass it down to someone you think would like to learn Tcl
because it will only confuse them.
If it's not so good, why does the following page have a link to it?
I'm not disputing that it may not be good. Rather I'm questioning
whether the tcl.tk site should be pointing at it if it is not so
good. For instance, the tcl.tk site does *not* have a link to the
2007 book "Tcl and Tk Programming for the Absolute Beginner"
For those who have read the new book, maybe they should review it on
Amazon? I'm being approached by the publisher PackT to review it
because I gave a favorable review to Tcl 8.5 Network Programming. I'm
wondering, is it even worth my time to read, to provide a review, if
it is that bad, and I'd love to read other reviews beforehand to help
Bryan, if you could possibly provide more detail as to precisely *how"
the new book "falls far short of the mark"
I was also contacted by Packt (because I reviewed the book of
I first doubted too.
IMHO the book is not soo bad. And I apreciate the two reviewers, I
don't know the author which I will apreciate to, anyway.
Here is my review on UK Amazon. I took 10 minuites and I did it for
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
I am missing namespaces and themed tk on the Tk side.
By the way, if you also get asked to review the book "Tcl 8.5 Network
Programming", I really like this one !
There are many things wrong with the book in my opinion. For one, it
seems unfocused. It says it's a cookbook but it spends the first
chapter covering the syntax of the expr command in detail (even though
the title of the chapter is "The Tcl Shell"). It also has a whole
chapter on dictionaries, yet it gives virtually no mention of quoting
except in the context of the expr command. It also never mentions the
proc command, though sometimes uses it in some examples.
What it does say about quoting is IMO misleading. For example,
"Strings contained within double quotes may be passed with no need to
include backslash, variable, or command substitution" (I'm not even
sure what that means). He also says more than once "Tcl commands must
be enclosed within square braces".
Each "recipe" has a "how it works" section, but more often than not it
boils down to something like "we ran the command, and it worked". One
example, quoted in its entirety: "The set command returns 3 to confirm
that the value was set correctly." I don't see how that gives any
useful information to the user. It could at least have mentioned that
before the set there was no variable of the given name, but then the
set created a new variable and gave it the value 3.
The author uses the phrase "looping with if", and lumps "if" in a
section on looping. In the section "nested looping" the example has
an if statement inside a while statement as if that's a good example
of a nested loop.
The author uses non-standard terminology which I think will serve to
confuse anyone who later tries to read a man page. For example, the
body of an if statement is called a procedure (or maybe he changed it
to "action", I forget). In a discussion of variables he writes "for
example myVariable is a named variable whereas $myVariable is the
referenced variable". "Referenced variable"? How about "variable
name" and "variable value"?
The author has tables which show commands and their arguments, but
they aren't canonical. For example, he shows the synopsis of the unset
command as "unset var var var" with no visual clues to suggest that
any of the "var"s are optional (though the description does say it
takes 'one or more'")
In the tk section he gives tables of command options which include the
option database names, but nowhere does he mention the distinction.
So, readers given the impression that "-activebackground",
"activeBackground" and "Background" are all valid options.
I could give dozens of other examples but I don't think that's useful
I had very high hopes for this book but I think the loose wording will
serve to confuse someone new to the language, and there's simply
nothing at all in the book useful for advanced users. I was originally
one of the technical reviewers but my advice seemed to be falling on
deaf ears and I eventually asked to be removed from the list of
Thanks Bryan, I can sympathize, I've been a pre-publication peer
reviewer for several (non-Tcl) books.
Sounds like the reviewer might have been better suited to be the
That is too bad. Tcl/Tk has few books and rather smallish market. You
think more thought would go into any new books that come out. :(
Yes, I would love "Practical Programming in Tcl and Tk" with Ttk and
FWIW, the review on the Wiki is much more positive.
It was William J. Gidding who wrote the review and put it on the Wiki.
What's the link, please
Thanks. That review is exceedingly vague especially compared to Bryan
Oakley's criticisms. In light of the latter, I certainly don't think
the book warrants inclusion on the tcl.tk site at http://www.tcl.tk/doc/
It seems like it could give less than the desired impression of a
language that already has an image problem. Considering that image I
don't think the maxim "any publicity (including bad), is good
I will be reviewing it as well. Just had a copy sent to me.
There are much more dubious entries on the wiki that have less to do
with Tcl/Tk than an actual book that *does* actually deal with Tcl/Tk
whether it is "good" or not.