The TEA (Tcl Extension Architecture) build system is designed to provide consistency and compiler environment independence to Tcl extension creators and consumers.
This page was revamped on 2007-12-27 by JH. This document describes the step-by-step method to setting yourself up to use TEA. It is targeted primarily for Windows as that is the platform with the fewest default installed build tools, but TEA works consistently across all platforms.
Why not use Tcl to build Tcl extensions? Tcl would appear much better suited to the task, but autoconf's primary benefit is the wealth of cross-platform knowledge that would otherwise need to be replicated in Tcl.
Note that not all extensions make use of TEA, and there may be some which make some use but alter the process to the point of the build process varying from this description.
Msys + Mingw [http://www.mingw.org/download.shtml] http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/tcl/msys_mingw8.zip
This Msys + Mingw download above is the minimal environment needed to build Tcl and extensions under Windows. It includes a shell environment and gcc. The release is designed to make it as easy as possible to build Tcl and extensions.
To install, you just download the zip file and extract the files into a directory (the source one defaults to C:/msys/). The README.TXT file describes how to launch the msys shell, and then run the configure script in the Tcl source tcl/win or extension toplevel directory.
On Windows, I recommend setting this in My Computer -> System Properties -> Environment Variables for persistence. Add C:\msys\1.0\bin and mingw if you installed that in a separate directory.
Changing PATH under Vista is done differently: see http://banagale.com/changing-your-system-path-in-windows-vista.htm for a good explanation.
Autoconf is the program that converts configure.in files into configure scripts. In some cases the CVS repository will only contain configure.in, and the end user must generate configure using autoconf. autoconf may not be installed with msys. You can download it from ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/autoconf/ . You may need to use one of the mirror sites. TEA extensions require 2.57 (2.59+ is recommended).
You'll use configure and make to install autoconf. Unpack the .tar.gz file. WinZip can handle this format, as does tar that comes with msys.
mkdir C:/build-area tar zxf C:/source-area/autoconf-2.60.tar.gz cd C:/build-area/autoconf-2.60 sh configure --prefix=C:/msys/1.0 make make install
The --prefix argument value corresponds to the Cygwin installation directory structure. If you leave out the --prefix, the default value is c:/usr/local. The --prefix flag is explained in more detail in the TEA document. You'll see this sequence of configure and make more when we build Tcl and extensions.
I recommend and document here a clean method of keeping the build and source areas separate. This isn't strictly necessary, but it is useful if you share sources across platforms or build numerous variants from the same sources.
mkdir C:/build-area/tcl8.x.y cd C:/build-area/tcl8.x.y sh /c/source-area/tcl-8.x.y/win/configure --prefix=C:/Tcl --enable-threads make make test ; # you want to know it works, right? make install
The --enable-threads option turns on threading in the Tcl core. Tcl is thread-safe but does not use threads by default. As the next example uses the Thread extension, we want to make sure to enable threads.
It is important to use the /c/... msys pathname style to reference drive C:\... as that prevents issues in the Makefiles (where : can be used as a separator).
mkdir C:/build-area/thread cd C:/build-area/thread # we could use --with-tcl=C:/build-area/tcl8.x.y if it wasn't installed sh /c/source-area/thread2.6/configure --with-tcl=C:/Tcl make make test ; # you want to know it works, right? make install
TEA extensions have their configure and Makefile.ion at the top of their directory structure. These files are shared by all platforms. Run sh autoconf in the top directory if configure.in exists without configure.
First, make sure you have Microsoft VC++ or mingw-gcc installed. You may need to set your CC environment variable to the correct compiler.
For MSVC, if the configure step cannot find the compiler even though it is installed, then your PATH probably does not include BIN directory of Developer Studio (e.g., C:/program files/Microsoft Visual Studio/VC98/Bin). There are a few other environment variables you need, too. You may need to run MSVC's VCVARS32.bat in the command shell before the compiler environment is setup appropriately.
If "make test" generates lots of errors, try running the test suite from a directory on the local hard drive. Many of the file system tests do not work well with remote file systems. If "make install" puts the files into the wrong locations, specify the --prefix and --exec-prefix configure options to set those installation locations properly.
ro: 2008-01-03 I don't understand why there are two links for getting msys+mingw in Step 1. What is an old version of it doing linked off the main Tcl sf project? Well I'm using the Tcl sf version anyhow.
JH: The older one off the Tcl sf project is an older snapshot that includes both msys and mingw, which are separate downloads from the main site. It's just a convenience.
In Step 8 if you do not use --enable-threads to build Tcl, then configure will give this message:
configure: WARNING: --enable-threads requested, but building against a Tcl that is NOT thread-enabled. This is an OK configuration that will also run in a thread-enabled core.
That is because all TEA extensions default to enabling threads, as this method works when you run against either a threaded or non-thread Tcl core. Some extensions (like the Thread extension itself) require a threaded core, but can check at runtime.
DrD: Ive searched the whole internet, there is no proper guide to installing tclxml 3.2 for a beginner, Ive spent 2 days now tryin to install on windows platform, tried everything from TEA to VC++, no luck. COnfiguration if very difficult without a proper guide HaO Similar experience, using tcom now.
HaO: 2010-09-29 Test pilot trying to build tkimg with msvc6 and msys
tkimg configure script uses the command sort and requires the msys version and not the windows version. In a consequence, the msys path must be before the windows system path which might break other windows software. Thus, I install it only temporarely and not system wide as suggested in step 3.
Even if tkImg will be build, prepending tcl and tk builds are necessary to get the tcl/tkConfig.sh files and tclsh85.exe and wish85.exe at the build places. In addition, its parameters set the final install-location.
mkdir c:\test\build-area\tcl8.5.9\win cd c:\test\build-area\tcl8.5.9\win sh /c/test/tcl8.5.9/win/configure --prefix=c:/test/tcl859 --enable-threads
This generates the file c:\test\build-area\tcl8.5.9\win\tclConfig.sh which is needed again. The win subfolder is necessary that the following tk build will find the file.
(It will only be found if the path does not contain spaces. Otherwise, you get a warning: No tclsh found)
mkdir c:\test\build-area\tk8.5.9\win cd c:\test\build-area\tk8.5.9\win sh /c/test/tk8.5.9/win/configure --prefix=c:/test/tcl859 --enable-threads
This generates the file c:\test\build-area\tk8.5.9\win\tclConfig.sh which is needed again.
The configure script states, there is a tclsh85.exe in /c/test/build-area/tcl8.5.9/win, but there is nothing.
tkimg configure script outputs "/c/test/build-area/tcl8.5.9/win/tclsh85.exe" found, but there is nothing. To be shure build it now.
cd c:\test\build-area\tcl8.5.9\win make
tkimg configure script outputs "/c/test/build-area/tk8.5.9/win/wish85.exe" found, but there is nothing -> build it
cd c:\test\build-area\tk8.5.9\win make
Now build it
mkdir c:\test\build-area\tkimg cd c:\test\build-area\tkimg sh /c/test/tkimg/configure --prefix=c:/test/tkimg
-> some "permission denied" on install warnings
make all make install
To test, I also did a make install for tcl and tk. Here are the differences to the makefile.vc method: