Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Wiley-IEEE Computer Society Pr; 1 edition (September 10, 1998)
Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #3,550,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #98 in Books > Computers & Technology > Programming > APIs & Operating Environments > Unix #3925 in Books > Textbooks > Computer Science > Software Design & Engineering #8602 in Books > Computers & Technology > Programming > Software Design, Testing & Engineering > Software Development
I wish I had this book a year ago. Most other Tcl books are the "How to create a Tk app", type of thing, that gloss over the details that have you pulling your hair out later. This book goes through the details of how things work, in detail, with excellent "mini-quizes" that illustrate all the important concepts. If you program in another language and need to do work in Tcl, do yourself a favor, get this book and spend a weekend going through it first.
This book definitely has its pros and cons. The main likable aspect is that Zimmer gets right into the language; no long history or touchy-feely introduction. If you've done some programming and are comfortable with typical flow-of-control structures, expression syntax, and have done some shell programming on Unix platforms, you will quickly get a handle on Tcl with this book.However, Zimmer uses some unusual verbiage (eg., "action families"), and expects the reader to understand quite a bit already. Given that the content organization is a little strange, and that the index is brief, it is difficult to quickly dive in and create useful scripts.Lastly, on any given topic, the book covers the basic concepts then immediately proffers exercises (for which solutions are given at the back of the chapter). If you work thru this book from start to finish and do the exercises, you will value this book. Personally, I despise exercise-based books; I prefer authors who bring the material to me via explanations and well-documented examples. If I wanted to learn strictly by doing, I'd download the spec and figure it out for myself.
Mind you, as the title suggests, this shouldn't be your very first experience programming. It's not a "learn Tcl in 7 days" book. You want to have some other languages under your belt first. It's aimed at someone who will digest a lot of information fairly quickly. The writing is fun and humorous. The very first chapters are essential, as Zimmer does everything he can to explain the nuts and bolts behind braces, quotes and variable substitutions. He uses these core pieces of Tcl in ways you will likely never encounter in actual Tcl/Tk programs, but serves the purpose of breaking them, soliciting head-scratchingly unintuitive results, etc. so that when you start coding yourself, you wil know to be careful with your syntax-- know what the pitfalls are and avoid them. If you are patient enough to go through all of the exercises, you will have a very strong and solid understanding of this fantastically elegant and programmer-friendly language. The only part I don't like is that the index at the back of the book is too brief. The book partly makes up for this by having 2 more indices used to locate specific functions and procedures. I recommend you also invest in the O'Reilly Nutshell or Pocket Guide books, because this book is more tutorial than reference in nature.
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