Tcl and Tk 8.5 out

Actually, they were out a few weeks ago, but I’ve been on vacation at the in-laws’ near Monselice, Italy. The release announcement is here:

http://www.tcl.tk/software/tcltk/8.5.tml

It’s worth writing about, because it’s been a long time in the making, and contains a number of improvements. Particularly noteworthy in my opinion are ‘real’ hash tables (dicts), an even better sandbox model (Tcl and Java have the best sandboxes that I know of), and a theme engine for Tk that, in the right hands, significantly improves how it looks.

In the fickle world of language fads, Tcl doesn’t get the respect that it should these days. Like anything, it has problems, but what doesn’t, when examined up close? It’s ironic that for years it has gotten things right like Unicode support, and OS-level threading, that are currently being worked on in Ruby.

Hecl obviously owes a great deal to Tcl, but since it’s a new language (more or less necessitated by cell phone limitations), we’re free to take a stab at improving things that Tcl doesn’t get right.

In any case, Tcl is worth a look if you want to play with something that’s fundamentally different from a lot of popular languages, and the core team has put a lot of work into the latest release, so give it a whirl (perhaps using tkcon instead of the readline-less tclsh executable) with an open mind, and see if you don’t learn something new.

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