TclHelp

What is TclHelp? One occurence is a Tk application interfacing to the TclX help system. However, another is:

The file named e.g. tcl83.hlp that comes with Windows installations of Tcl, a Win-specific-formatted bag of all Tcl/Tk manpages. A shortcut to it is installed in the start menu as "Tcl Help" and beats man on bash quite heavily - even if I'm developing on Sun, I prefer to check that hlp file - decent layout, hyperlinks, etc. Must have been part of Scriptics installations (but Windows only) since 8.0 or so.

Where does one get it? For the Tk app, download, configure, build, and install TclX.

What does it contain? The Tk app appears to be just a GUI interface to TclX's help. This help facility is a textification to the man pages for Tcl, plus a structure where an extension COULD, if one so wanted, add their own help information. Perhaps some Windows user can discuss the tcl winhelp contents?

For what platforms is it available? Any place that Tk, Tcl, and TclX is available for building.

See also Tkman which is even better, in some ways, in that it hyperlinks any man page in the user's MANPATH.

EE: Does anyone have a unix-based (or tcl-based) viewer of WinHelp files?

See if you can find something called SGML-Tools, which appears to be able to translate SGML files into html, DVI, postscript, latex, PDF, LyX, GNU info, RTF, text, Unix nroff man macro, and MS WinHelp formats. Unfortunately, http://www.sgmltools.org/ doesn't appear to be working right now...

Bristol at one time had a commercial product called HyperHelp [1 ] which supposedly maintained a single source for help across Windows, Linux, and other Unix systems.

2004-04-24: See Microsoft .chm Help Format for several MS WinHelp links, including a viewer of .chm files on X-Windows.


LES 2004-04-24: Speaking of that, I just started using Tcllib. I love typing command gobbledygook in Tkcon and getting that very nice tip about what commands and parameters I can use, but the Tcllib commands are not available until you package require them. That's bad because sometimes I am not really sure of what Tcllib command I want to indulge myself with. I wish I could pick from a menu and make my pick. Looking at that menu very often will slowly build a more complete knowledge of what is available the next time I consider my possibilities and let me know beforehand just what I need.

I got tired of looking up Tcllib commands in a separate HTML page, so I started building a script that will give me a nice command-line based help system. I find this solution better than everything else because:

  • it's completely cross-platform (there are no man pages in Windows)
  • it's more convenient and is supposed to be more straight to the point
  • I find man pages boring and long-winded
  • it can include help for any Tcl-related command, even extensions that are foreign to the core - the script can even check and tell you if you have the extension, and maybe provide a URL from where it can be obtained or, heck, the script can download the extension for you (see Tcl Standard Library Specification for a related concept).

For the time being, that last item is just a plan for the distant future.

The format I am using is totally inspired by the help system so commonly available in IRC channels:

/help ftp

returns all possible ::ftp::[*] commands

/help ftp open

returns syntax, parameters and a brief explanation of ::ftp::Open.

The worst part of the idea is that every Tcl command is a switch option, which can also have its own switch options, and a puts command with the information, so I have a lot of typing ahead. I hardly ever have any free time lately, so don't hold your breath.

Suggestions welcome.

An entirely different Tclhelp: #Tcl [does "#Tcl" need its own page?], where is written: "We've added a new feature! You can now paste by flushing raw data down out socket. Examples:

cat scripts/file.tcl | netcat -q 2 tclhelp.net 55555 
(cat scripts/file.tcl && sleep 2) | telnet tclhelp.net 55555 "