tkcon: Getting Started SourceForge Logo
Documentation Purpose & Features Limitations To Do License
Online Demo (requires Tk plugin) Using TkCon with other Tk Languages
Getting Started Special Bindings Procedures Screenshot
dump tkcon idebug observe

Resource File:

TkCon will search for a resource file in "$env(HOME)/.tkconrc" (Unix), "$env(HOME)/tkcon.cfg" (Windows) or "$env(PREF_FOLDER)/tkcon.cfg" (Macintosh). On DOS machines, "$env(HOME)" usually refers to "C:\". TkCon never sources the "~/.wishrc" file. The resource file is sourced by each new instance of the console. An example resource file is provided below.

Command Line Arguments

Except for -rcfile, command line arguments are handled after the TkCon resource file is sourced, but before the slave interpreter or the TkCon user interface is initialized. -rcfile is handled right before it would be sourced, allowing you to specify any alternate file. Command line arguments are passed to each new console and will be evaluated by each. To prevent this from happening, you have to say tkcon main set argv {}; tkcon main set argc 0.

For these options, any unique substring is allowed.

-argv (also --)
Causes TkCon to stop evaluating arguments and set the remaining args to be argv/argc (with -- prepended). This carries over for any further consoles. This is meant only for wrapping TkCon around programs that require their own arguments.
-color-<color> color
Sets the requested color type to the specified color for tkcon. See the Variables section for the recognized <color> names.
-eval (also -main or -e)
A tcl script to eval in each main interpreter. This is evaluated after the resource file is loaded and the slave interpreter is created. Multiple -eval switches will be recognized (in order).
-exec slavename
Sets the named slave that tkcon operates in. In general, this is only useful to set to "" (empty), indicating to tkcon to avoid the multi-interpreter model and operate in the main environment. When this is empty, any further arguments will be only used in the first tkcon console and not passed onto further new consoles. This is useful when using tkcon as a console for extended wish executables that don't load there commands into slave interpreters.
-font font
Sets the font that tkcon uses for its text windows. If this isn't a fixed width font, tkcon will override it.
Sets ::tkcon::OPT(nontcl) to TCL_BOOLEAN. Needed when attaching to non-Tcl interpreters.
-package package_name (also -load)
Packages to automatically load into the slave interpreters (ie - "Tk").
-rcfile filename
Specify an alternate tkcon resource file name.
-root widgetname
Makes the named widget the root name of all consoles (ie - .tkcon).
-slave tcl_script
A tcl script to eval in each slave interpreter. This will append the one specified in the tkcon resource file, if any.
Some examples of tkcon command line startup situations:
megawish tkcon.tcl -exec "" -root .tkcon mainfile.tcl
Use tkcon as a console for your megawish application. You can avoid starting the line with megawish if that is the default wish that tkcon would use. The -root ensures that tkcon will not conflict with the
tkcon.tcl -font "Courier 12" -load Tk
Use the courier font for tkcon and always load Tk in slave interpreters at startup.
tkcon.tcl -rcfile ~/.wishrc -color,bg white
Use the ~/.wishrc file as the resource file, and a white background for tkcon's text widgets.


Certain variables in TkCon can be modified to suit your needs. It's easiest to do this in the resource file, but you can do it when time the program is running (and some can be changed via the Prefs menu). All these are part of the master interpreter's ::tkcon namespace. The modifiable array variables are ::tkcon::COLOR and ::tkcon::OPT. You can call 'tkcon set ::tkcon::COLOR' when the program is running to check its state. Here is an explanation of certain variables you might change or use:
The background color for tkcon text widgets. Defaults to the operating system default (determined at startup).
The background color of the electric brace highlighting, if on. Defaults to yellow.
The background color for the insertion cursor in tkcon. Defaults to black.
The foreground color for disabled menu items. Defaults to dark grey.
The foreground color of a recognized proc, if command highlighting is on. Defaults to dark green.
The background color of a recognized var, if command highlighting is on. Defaults to pink.
The foreground color of the prompt as output in the console. Defaults to brown.
The foreground color of the stdin for the console. Defaults to black.
The foreground color of the stdout as output in the console. Defaults to blue.
The foreground color of stderr as output in the console. Defaults to red.

Packages to automatically load into the slave interpreter (ie - 'Tk'). This is a list. Defaults to {} (none).
The amount of time (in millisecs) that braced sections should blink for. Defaults to 500 (.5 secs), must be at least 100.
Whether to blink the entire range for electric brace matching or to just blink the actual matching braces (respectively 1 or 0, defaults to 1).
The size of the console scroll buffer (in lines). Defaults to 512.
Whether to allow expr commands to be run at the command line without prefixing them with expr (just a convenience).
Number of columns for the console to start out with. Defaults to 80.
What to do with dead connected interpreters. If dead is leave, TkCon automatically exits the dead interpreter. If dead is ignore then it remains attached waiting for the interpreter to reappear. Otherwise TkCon will prompt you.
This corresponds to the -exec option above
Font to use for tkcon text widgets (also specified with -font). Defaults to the system default, or a fixed width equivalent.
Controls whether tkcon will overload the gets command to work with tkcon. The valid values are: congets (the default), which will redirect stdin requests to the tkcon window; gets, which will pop up a dialog to get input; and {} (empty string) which tells tkcon not to overload gets. This value must be set at startup to alter tkcon's behavior.
The size of the history list to keep. Defaults to 48.
Whether hot errors are enabled or not. When enabled, errors that are returned to the console are marked with a link to the error info that will pop up in an minimal editor. This requires more memory because each error that occurs will maintain bindings for this feature, as long as the error is in the text widget. Defaults to on.
The path to any tcl library directories (these are appended to the auto_path when the after the resource file is loaded in).
Whether to use the brace highlighting feature or not (respectively 1 or 0, defaults to 1).
Whether to use the command highlighting feature or not (respectively 1 or 0, defaults to 1).
A tcl script to execute in the main interpreter after the slave interpreter is created and the user interface is initialized.
A number that specifies the limit of long result lines. True result is still captured in $_ (and 'puts $_' works). Defaults to 0 (unlimited).
A number that specifies the maximum number of packages to show vertically in the Interp->Packages menu before breaking into another column. Defaults to 15.
For those who might be using non-Tcl based Tk attachments, set this to 1. It prevents TkCon from trying to evaluate its own Tcl code in an attached interpreter. Also see my notes for non-Tcl based Tk interpreters.
Like tcl_prompt1, except it doesn't require you use 'puts'. No equivalent for tcl_prompt2 is available (it's unnecessary IMHO).
Defaults to {([file tail [pwd]]) [history nextid] % }.
Number of rows for the console to start out with. Defaults to 20.
Y scrollbar position. Valid values are left or right. Defaults to left.
Show the menubar on startup (1 or 0, defaults to 1).
Show multiple matches for path/proc/var name expansion (1 or 0, defaults to 1).
A tcl script to execute in each slave interpreter right after it's created. This allows the user to have user defined info always available in a slave. Example:
	set ::tkcon::OPT(slaveeval) {
		proc foo args { puts $args }
		lappend auto_path .
Allows the prevention of exit in slaves from exitting the entire application. If it is equal to exit, exit will exit as usual, otherwise it will just close down that interpreter (and any children). Defaults to close.
Allow history substitution to occur (0 or 1, defaults to 1). The history list is maintained in a single interpreter per TkCon console instance. Thus you have history which can range over a series of attached interpreters.

An example TkCon resource file might look like:

## My TkCon Resource File
# Use a fixed default font
#tkcon font fixed; # valid on unix
#tkcon font systemfixed; # valid on win
tkcon font Courier 12; # valid everywhere

# Keep 50 commands in history
set ::tkcon::OPT(history) 50

# Use a pink prompt
set ::tkcon::COLOR(prompt) pink

© Jeffrey Hobbs