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critcl_devguide(n) 3.1.16 doc "C Runtime In Tcl (CriTcl)"

Name

critcl_devguide - Critcl - The Developer's Guide

Table Of Contents

Description

Welcome to the C Runtime In Tcl, CriTcl for short, a system to build C extension packages for Tcl on the fly, from C code embedded within Tcl scripts, for all who wish to make their code go faster.

This document is a guide for developers working on Critcl, i.e. maintainers fixing bugs, extending the package's functionality, etc.

Please read

  1. Critcl - License,

  2. Critcl - How To Get The Sources, and

  3. Critcl - The Installer's Guide

first, if that was not done already.

Here we assume that the sources are already available in a directory of your choice, and that you not only know how to build and install them, but also have all the necessary requisites to actually do so. The guide to the sources in particular also explains which source code management system is used, where to find it, how to set it up, etc.

Playing with Critcl

The sources of Critcl, should you have gotten them, contain several larger examples show-casing various aspects of the system. These demonstration packages can all be found in the sub-directory "examples/" of the sources.

Lots of smaller examples can be found in the document Using CriTcl, an introduction to Critcl by way of a of examples. These focus more on specific critcl commands than the overall picture shown by the large examples mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Developing for Critcl

Architecture & Concepts

The system consists of two main layers, as seen in the figure below, plus a support layer containing general packages the system uses during operation.

architecture

  1. At the top we have an application built on top of the core packages, providing command line access to the second and third usage modes, i.e. Generate Package and Generate TEA Package.

    critcl
    critcl::app
  2. Below that is the core package providing the essential functionality of the system, plus various utility packages which make common tasks more convenient.

    critcl
    critcl::util
  3. Lastly a layer of supporting packages, mostly external to critcl.

    md5

    For this pure-Tcl package to be fast users should get one of several possible accelerator packages:

    1. tcllibc

    2. Trf

    3. md5c

    cmdline
    platform
    stubs::container
    stubs::reader
    stubs::writer
    stubs::gen
    stubs::gen::init
    stubs::gen::header
    stubs::gen::decl
    stubs::gen::macro
    stubs::gen::slot
    stubs::gen::lib

Requirements

To develop for critcl the following packages and applications must be available in the environment. These are all used by the build.tcl helper application.

dtplite

A Tcl application provided by Tcllib, for the validation and conversion of doctools-formatted text.

dia

A Tcl application provided by Tklib, for the validation and conversion of diagram-formatted figures into raster images.

Do not confuse this with the Gnome dia application, which is a graphical editor for figures and diagrams, and completely unrelated.

fileutil

A Tcl package provided by Tcllib, providing file system utilities.

vfs::mk4, vfs

Tcl packages written in C providing access to Tcl's VFS facilities, required for the generation of critcl starkits and starpacks.

Directory structure

Helpers
"build.tcl"

This helper application provides various operations needed by a developer for critcl, like regenerating the documentation, the figures, building and installing critcl, etc.

Running the command like

	./build.tcl help

will provide more details about the available operations and their arguments.

Documentation
"doc/"

This directory contains the documentation sources, for both the text, and the figures. The texts are written in doctools format, whereas the figures are written for tklib's dia(gram) package and application.

"embedded/"

This directory contains the documentation converted to regular manpages (nroff) and HTML. It is called embedded because these files, while derived, are part of the git repository, i.e. embedded into it. This enables us to place these files where they are visible when serving the prject's web interface.

Testsuite
"test/all.tcl"
"test/testutilities.tcl"
"test/*.test"

These files are a standard testsuite based on Tcl's tcltest package, with some utility code snarfed from Tcllib.

This currently tests only some of the stubs::* packages.

"test/*.tcl"

These files (but not "all.tcl", and "testutilities.tcl") are example files (Tcl with embedded C) which can be run through critcl for testing.

TODO: These should be converted into a proper test suite.

Package Code, General structure
Package Code, Per Package
critcl
"lib/critcl/critcl.tcl"

The Tcl code implementing the package.

"lib/critcl/Config"

The configuration file for the standard targets and their settings.

"lib/critcl/critcl_c/"

Various C code snippets used by the package. This directory also contains the copies of the Tcl header files used to compile the assembled C code, for the major brnaches of Tcl, i.e. 8.4, 8.5, and 8.6.

critcl::util
"lib/critcl-util/util.tcl"

The Tcl code implementing the package.

critcl::app
"lib/app-critcl/critcl.tcl"

The Tcl code implementing the package.

critcl::iassoc
"lib/critcl-iassoc/iassoc.tcl"

The Tcl code implementing the package.

"lib/critcl-iassoc/iassoc.h"

C code template used by the package.

critcl::class
"lib/critcl-class/class.tcl"

The Tcl code implementing the package.

"lib/critcl-class/class.h"

C code template used by the package.

dict84
lassign84
"lib/util84/dict.tcl"
"lib/util84/lassign.tcl"

These are two packages implementing forward compatibility emulations of the dict and lassign commands introduced with Tcl 8.5. These are used automatically when critcl is run by Tcl 8.4.

stubs::*
"lib/stubs/*"

A set of non-public (still) packages which provide read and write access to and represent Tcl stubs tables. These were created by taking the "genStubs.tcl" helper application coming with the Tcl core sources apart along its internal logical lines.

critclf
"lib/critclf/"

Arjen Markus' work on a critcl/Fortran. The code is outdated and has not been adapted to the changes in critcl version 3 yet.

autoscroll
cmdline
md5
md5c
platform
snit
snitbutton
wikit

These are all external packages whose code has been inlined in the repository for easier development (less dependencies to pull), and quicker deployment from the repository (generation of starkit and -pack).

The packages autoscroll, snit, snitbutton, and wikit are for the support of the Wikit GUI accessible from starkit and -pack when the application functionality (critcl::app) is run with an empty command line.

TODO: These should all be checked against their origin for updates and changes since they were inlined.

Authors

Jean Claude Wippler, Steve Landers, Andreas Kupries

Bugs, Ideas, Feedback

This document, and the package it describes, will undoubtedly contain bugs and other problems. Please report them at https://github.com/andreas-kupries/critcl/issues. Ideas for enhancements you may have for either package, application, and/or the documentation are also very welcome and should be reported at https://github.com/andreas-kupries/critcl/issues as well.

Keywords

C code, Embedded C Code, code generator, compile & run, compiler, dynamic code generation, dynamic compilation, generate package, linker, on demand compilation, on-the-fly compilation

Category

Glueing/Embedded C code