Re: Why Tcl is a Bad Thing

Thomas Funke (
Thu, 6 Oct 1994 20:26:44 GMT

In article <JANSSEN.94Oct3203215@holmes.PARC.Xerox.Com> (Bill Janssen) writes:

> I think that what rms sees in Tcl is what many people with taste see
> (and, apparently, many people without taste don't see); a conjunction
> of two things, which taken together make Tcl despicable.
> The first is that Tcl is just not good enough, for anything. That is,
> for any given task, there is a better extension/scripting language to
> use. Tcl is slow and clumsy with offensive syntax.

Partially right. First, tcl is not a language despite the 'l' in its
name. I guess only few people would use it if there weren't tk. Besides
that the only thing I see some justification for tcl is the use as a
better shell-script. Actually under the unix environment you can do some
nice quick hacks with tcl which would be harder with /bin/sh or so.

> For any given task, python or elisp or perl or awk or ELK scheme
> is a good implementation of a better language.

No. AWK is awful. In Lisp/Scheme string management is not as smooth as in
tcl. And that's the second advantage of TCL: The handling of strings.
Many useful things are done with strings. The strength of tcl is the
paradigm 'everything is a string'. The strength of Lisp 'everything is a
list'. For some tasks you don't need lists, and for other tasks you don't
need strings.

For user interfaces you need strings. Therefore the combination with tk
is useful.

But people forget that tcl is not a language. They do programming in tcl.
That is not what the author has intended. tcl should be seen what it is:
An extension tool to some real language and - in combination with tk -
the easiest way to produce user interfaces under X11. Not more. If you
see it this way, tcl is not a bad thing.

----- Thomas Funke  ----------------------- -----

C++ is to C as Lung Cancer is to Lung