What on-line resources do Tclers want?

Table of contents


At The Fifth Tcl/Tk Workshop '97, attendees had the opportunity to submit written cards describing ideas for enriching the on-line resources available for learning and using Tcl and its extensions. This page transcribes and annotates those submissions. All entries appear verbatim, with the exception that participants' names and e-mail addresses are not visible (although generally available on request).

The cards

The majority of these cards came from a broad spectrum of the attendees at Tuesday night's BoF; a few more appeared at Wednesday's poster session.

The software archives

Software archived reorganised to better convey what is present and what is missing. [CL: I agree that there has been considerable dissatisfaction in the past--even the recent past--with the official Tcl archives. However, a couple of new initiatives, which I'll explain soon in this space, should address most of the concerns and deficiencies.]

A contrib archive sorted by TclTkversion (because lots of stuff in the current archive is 3+ years old ...) [CL: More on this subject, soon.]

FAQ formatting

FAQs access by some search technology so that only what matches keywords is returned

Newbie FAQ to be mailed to first time posters to comp.lang.tcl [CL: Certainly there are several other newsgroups that have automated this successfully.]

How To: http://sunsite.unc.edu/mdw/HOWTO

[CL: This is a good list, in the sense that questions on these topics certainly recur in comp.lang.tcl; however, it's also true that information on most of these is already available online--more on that, later--so perhaps the fault is simply one of advertising what exists now.]
[LVW: I think the idea is that even though most of the info is available elsewhere , building a set of HOWTO documents, which then can either be referenced, or bun dled with one's software, makes things easier for the provider of software.]

FAQs rewritten to use Tcl FAQ Format, enabling various output formats

FAQs rewritten to use Linux SGML DTD [CL: I've called this the QWERTZ system at times, because there's a line of descent there, but I now see that that relation is really of only historical interest; the Linux DTD is on its own developmental pathway] allowing high-quality output [CL: So how do we decide between these alternatives?]

Software catalog converted to use Linux .lsm format

Index the documents with WAIS. KL offers to provide the software to CL.

CGI.Tcl FAQ is http://expect.nisg.gov/cgi.tcl/FAQ.html [CL: The point here is that this entry has been missing from Larry Virden's otherwise-comprehensive comp.lang.tcl FAQ launcher.]

Other ideas

I think it would be very useful if there was a list of known bugs in tcl/tk. [CL: I strongly agree--in fact, I think this is paramount. These sorts of management tasks that no one particularly relishes inevitably have enormously beneficial results, in my experience. The natural home for this chore seems to be with the team at Sun, but perhaps Jan Nijtmans is closer to making it real.]

Use Collaborative Filtering! Share your Knowledge! GroupLens

Last time I looked the on-web man pages [CL: presumably those the entropy liberation front maintains at elf.org] didn't include namespace.

Man pages in French.

Summary paragraphs on Expect sample programs [CL: That is, it'd be much appreciated if someone would volunteer to document these otherwise quite pleasing demonstrations. Someone did, we believe, at the BoF, but our notes from that evening haven't surfaced yet.]

"Another interesting idea was that of creating a sort of 'road map' for a new developer in expect. This would guide the reader thru the masses of information so that they can find the most useful place to begin reading."

Brent Welch's generously provides sample chapters of his second edition intro to Tcl, covering many useful topics.

Administrative details

Larry Virden and Cameron Laird collected these suggestions at a BOF and a poster (appearing as panels one, two, and three) session they sponsored at the Conference.

The organization and annotation of the entries will continue to change quite a bit in the summer of 1997, and probably through the end of the year. If there's anything above that's unclear, or missing a reference that you'd find useful, please let me know; I'll generally turn around such requests within twenty-four hours. In fact, I'm eager to add new ideas; they don't have to have been mentioned at the Workshop.

Cameron Laird maintains this page/claird@phaseit.net