Tcl - Overview


Tcl is shortened form of Tool Command Language. John Ousterhout of the University of California, Berkeley, designed it. It is a combination of a scripting language and its own interpreter that gets embedded to the application, we develop with it.

Tcl was developed initially for Unix. It was then ported to Windows, DOS, OS/2, and Mac OSX. Tcl is much similar to other unix shell languages like Bourne Shell (Sh), the C Shell (csh), the Korn Shell (sh), and Perl.

It aims at providing ability for programs to interact with other programs and also for acting as an embeddable interpreter. Even though, the original aim was to enable programs to interact, you can find full-fledged applications written in Tcl/Tk.

Features of Tcl

The features of Tcl are as follows −

  • Reduced development time.

  • Powerful and simple user interface kit with integration of TK.

  • Write once, run anywhere. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and almost on every Unix platform.

  • Quite easy to get started for experienced programmers; since, the language is so simple that they can learn Tcl in a few hours or days.

  • You can easily extend existing applications with Tcl. Also, it is possible to include Tcl in C, C++, or Java to Tcl or vice versa.

  • Have a powerful set of networking functions.

  • Finally, it's an open source, free, and can be used for commercial applications without any limit.


Tcl is a general-purpose language and you can find Tcl everywhere. It includes,

  • Scalable websites that are often backed by databases.
  • High performance web servers build with TclHttpd.
  • Tcl with CGI based websites.
  • Desktop GUI applications.
  • Embedded applications.