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The CTk Toolkit

by Martin Andrews

@(#) $Id: ctk.shar,v 1.50 1996/01/15 14:47:16 andrewm Exp andrewm $

1. Introduction

This directory contains the sources for CTk, a curses port of John
Ousterhout's Tk toolkit for X11.  The information here corresponds to
CTk 4.0.  CTk 4.0 is based on Tk 4.0p3. Like Tk 4.0p3, it is designed
to work with Tcl 7.4p3 and may not work with other releases of Tcl.

Using CTk, applications with a modern GUI-ish interface can be created
for character terminals.  These same applications, without modification,
can provide a real GUI interface by using Tk.  Thus, sites with an
embedded base of character terminals (and a small capital budget) can
smoothly migrate to GUI applications.

2. Documentation

There is a man page for cwish (cwish(1)) explaining execution options
for the CTk shell.  For script writing, the Tk Documentation, along with the
list of differences in section 5 of this document should be enough to get

3. Compiling and installing CTk

CTk requires TCL and a System V curses package (CTk will build
with BSD curses but has at least one display glitch and many
missing features - see porting.notes for more information).
Unlike Tk, you do not need the source for Tcl to build CTk.
Only the Tcl 7.4 library and include file (tcl.h) are necessary.
If your system does not have a System V compatible curses,
there is a free version, ncurses, available in GNU archives
(for instance

CTk builds cleanly on the three systems I have easy access to:

    486 PC running Linux 1.1.54 using gcc 2.58 and ncurses 1.8.5

    HP 9000/835 running HP-UX 9.04 using optional ANSI C compiler and
    ncurses 1.8.6 or using K&R C compiler and hp curses (old system V,
    not very pretty)

    Sun 4c running Sun OS 4.13 using System V compiler (/usr/5bin/cc)
    and System V curses

Perform the following steps to compile and install CTk:

    (a) Type "./configure" in this directory.  This runs a configuration
	script created by GNU autoconf, which configures CTk for your
	system and creates a Makefile.  If you are using ncurses, and
	the library is named "libncurses" instead of "libcurses" give
	the "-with-ncurses" option to configure.  Also, if Tcl or curses
	are not installed in the standard search path, you can use
	"-with-libdirs=" and "-with-incdirs=" to add directories to
	the library and header search path, respectively (use the
	directives once, the argument can be a list of space separated
	directories).  For more details on using configure, check out
	the autoconf documentation (not included here).

    (b) Type "make".  This will create a library archive called "libctk.a"
	and an interpreter application called "cwish" that allows you to type
	Tcl commands interactively or execute script files.

    (c) If the make fails then you'll have to personalize the Makefile
        for your site or possibly modify the distribution in other ways.
	First check the file "porting.notes" to see if there are hints
	for compiling on your system.  If you need to modify Makefile,
	there are comments at the beginning of it that describe the things
	you might want to change and how to change them.
    (d) Type "make install" to install CTk's binaries and script files in
        standard places.  In the default configuration, information will
	be installed in /usr/local so you'll need write permission on
	this directory.  If you'd like to use a default installation
	directory, you can change the "exec_prefix" and "prefix" definitions
	in the Makefile.

    (e) At this point you can play with Tcl by invoking the "cwish"
	program and typing Tcl commands.  However, if you haven't installed
	CTk then you'll first need to set your CTK_LIBRARY environment
	variable to hold the full path name of the "library" subdirectory.

I am interested in receiving information on changes required to
build CTk on your platform.

4. Test suite

Next release.  (Really.)

5. Getting started

It is now easy to run cwish interactively.  If you have not
installed cwish set the CTK_LIBRARY environment variable to
the path of the library directory, then try:


This will start cwish, and then pop-up a command dialog window where
you can enter TCL commands.  You can bring up this dialog at any time
by pressing <Control-C>.

You can also try out a simple demo of the cwish widgets with:

    cwish library/demos/stuff

There are other demos in the library/demos directory including a
crude port of the Tk widget demo (warning it is easy for the focus
to get lost - if so press Ctrl+C to get the command dialog and
type "exit" there).

Key bindings are very nearly the same as for Tk (which is very nearly
the same as Motif).  This may be unfamiliar to people used to common
Unix curses applications (elm, lynx, ..).  I decided to stick with the
Tk binding for two reasons:

1)  Less confusion for users that switch between Tk and CTk
    versions of an application.

2)  Easier to incorporate updates from Tk.

Here is a quick summary of the key bindings for those unfamiliar
with Motif (or Microsoft Windows):

    <Space> activates/selects a widget
    <Tab> moves focus to next the widget
    <Shift-Tab> moves focus to the prior widget
    <Return> activates the default button in a dialog
    Arrow keys move the cursor within a widget
    <F10> moves focus to the first menu
    <Escape> closes a menu without making a selection

Your terminal or terminfo entry may not support all the keys (like
<Shift-Tab>).  See README.TERM for tips on configuring terminfo
entries for CTk.

6. Summary of differences between CTk 4.0b1 and Tk 4.0

The following commands are not available in CTk:


The wm command is severely crippled.

None of the widgets support the scan method.

The text widget does not support tag bindings: "text tag bind".

The text widget does not support embedded windows "text window".

The -tearoff option for menu widgets can create a tearoff entry,
but the entry doesn't work (and I don't know if there is any point
in making it work).

Many configuration options (like -background and -foreground) cannot
be modified.  Attempts to set the unsupported options will silently
be ignored.  Querying the options with cget will return a fixed
?reasonable? value.  The unsupported options are:

    -borderwidth (supported by widgets, not by text tags)

And a lot more I forgot to mention.

7. Support and bug fixes

Send bug reports and suggestions for improvements to:

    Martin Andrews

When reporting bugs, please provide a short cwish script that I can
use to reproduce the bug.  Make sure that the script runs with a
bare-bones cwish and doesn't depend on any extensions.  Also, please
include three additional pieces of information with the script:

    (a) how do I use the script to make the problem happen (e.g.
	what keys do you press, in what order)?
    (b) what happens when you do these things (presumably this is
    (c) what did you expect to happen instead?

For general problems with using Tk or Tcl, try posting to the
comp.lang.tcl Usenet newsgroup.

8. Release organization

Each CTk release is identified by two numbers separated by a dot, e.g.
3.2 or 3.3.  These numbers match the release number of the corresponding
Tk release.  Suffixes for alpha, beta, and patch releases (aX, bX, and pX
respectively) are numbered independent of Tk.