Wilfred Hansen

Date of Original Version



Technical Report

Abstract or Description

The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) was called on recently to examine a system, hereafter called SYS, written entirely in the Tool Control Language/Toolkit (Tcl/Tk) language. In response to some negative comments in the SEI's report, the developers presented a list of systems purported to demonstrate the viability of Tcl/Tk as a development tool. A review of the 67 listed systems found that Tcl/Tk is indeed practical for developing large systems.

Small systems written in the language often follow a paradigm of "classic Tcl/Tk windows." SYS embraced this approach to the extent of involving hundreds of windows. The review showed that no other large system written in Tcl/Tk has anywhere near as many such windows. User interviews suggested that the number of different windows was indeed a problem. SYS should consider an alternative design, perhaps a Web-based approach. Some design criteria are described at the end of the report.