alited, a lite editor

alited v1.8.4 stands for "a lite editor".

alited v1.8 is supposedly the final version in the sense that there will be no 1.9 nor 2.0 versions. Only bug fixings and polishings. The alited provides the rich and comprehensive set of features, some are unique. It needs no multiplying the entities without necessity.

The main features of alited are:

  • structured code
  • easy access to the code
  • born for Tcl/Tk development only

It satisfies most requirements of Tcl Editors, adding its own features. It pretends to be the best of the Tcl Editors.

Edited by alited are Tcl/Tk files. The C/C++ code is another target of alited, still for Tcl/Tk development only all the same.

alited facilitates the development and the maintenance of Tcl/Tk code, particularly because of the unit tree being a sort of documentation.

alited is suspected of being very good with large Tcl/Tk projects, i.e. when, in one session, you deal with 30-40-50... Tcl/Tk scripts, to say nothing of others.

It's quick at starting.

It's quick at switching projects.

It's quick at organizing Tcl/Tk code.

It's quick at navigating Tcl/Tk code.

It's quick at searching Tcl/Tk code.

It's quick at writing Tcl/Tk code.

It's quick at testing Tcl/Tk code.

It's quick at saving Tcl/Tk code.

It's quick at maintaining Tcl/Tk code.

Briefly, alited is totally quick, being at that a pure Tcl/Tk application.

For a quick acquaintance of alited, a few of its demos are available.

For a quick installation of alited, just run an installer of alited .


Inevitable blah-blah

The alited project started 1 March 2021.

In fact, alited has been developed by its own v0.2 since 24 April 2021. Inspite of permanent overheads of this way, it turned out to be amazingly productive, more and more in the course of time.

When developing a weekend or small Tcl project, you can nicely do it with Geany or Kate or something else. The situation becomes not so nice with middle and large Tcl/Tk projects, however good and smart those editors are (they are indeed).

What is the large Tcl project? The poApps by Paul Obermeier may be considered the canonical large Tcl project. Its main source directories (poApplib, poTcllib, poTklib) contain about 70 Tcl scripts of size 2.5 Mb (total about 150 files, 5 Mb). Also, alited by itself is rather large project containing about 60 main Tcl scripts of size 1.7 Mb (total about 1150 files, 5 Mb), so that no wonder its editing session includes 70-80 files.

It is with the middle and large Tcl projects that alited reveals all its best, while it has 0 Kb of dependencies for developing Tcl/Tk 8.6.10+ and is in no way a half gigabyte monster.

The cause is obvious: those other editors aren't Tclish, while alited is. It is intended specifically for developing Tcl/Tk projects, not for being a universal plug to every hole. Going its own way, of course. Don't forget that it has been coded in Tcl/Tk.

By the way, sometimes I still return to the good old Geany or Pluma (when my alited is busy with an open dialogue) - just to confirm once more how good alited is.

One just becomes more productive with alited at developing Tcl code. Just so simple.

Typical story

One day I decided to change e_menu's data format because the old .mnu files seemed to be too complex. The e_menu project had started long ago, when I was an active user of Geany. As a result, its main scripts (e_menu.tcl and e_addon.tcl) were seen as chaotic mixtures of procedures - no structure, no consistency, no order.

I tried and tried to implement the format change, getting in the real trouble with the task that seemed to be so hard...

Finally, in one moment, I decided to rearrange my scripts by alited's means, i.e. to make a proper unit tree and to place the code units in their proper branches.

It was only after the radical rearrangement of e_menu.tcl and e_addon.tcl that I felt the format change can be easily implemented. I did it in two days instead of two weeks as it seemed to be at first.

Along the way, I got two nice unit trees of code. Being two nice pieces of documentation too.

In other words, alited is a sort of code architect and documentation generator that organizes and documents Tcl code "on fly" along with the coding.

The alited's unit tree is so good that it by itself can drastically improve Tcl code and enhance a Tcler's productivity. Not to say about other sweets of alited.


Below is a screenshot of alited, just to glance at it (though a bit outdated, as well as its demos ):


... and its localized and themed variant:


... and its themed variant on Windows 10:


… and its 1.6.5 version installed on ancient x86 machine with Linux v2.6.32, Debian v6.0, GNOME v2.30.2:


... and its most tricky (nearly impossible) variant which confirms once more the incredible cross-platform nature of Tcl/Tk:

.. with Windows console started by alited and with Linux console started by Linux Mint :


tma 2021-12-30: Under Windows 'alited' creates a directory '.config' in the users home directory with every start. Application config files should be in APPDATA=C:\Users\<UserName>\AppData\Roaming\<AppName>.

HE 2021-12-30: Alited looks promising but directly after starting I found one or better, two issues which let me directly stop my experiments.

Opening a ticket on github is only possible for registered users so this is not a possible way for me to inform the author.

Therefore, I added a Discussion section to provide what I found.

Alited opens a server socket on by using the package comm. This is not possible to change without changing the code. Neither the used port nor that the port is opened for listening.

This is an issue in a couple of cases:

  • The port is used for some reason other than alited. Alited will never show itself on the GUI. Moreover, there is no warning what went wrong and a look into the task list shows that alited is still running.
    That means it hangs forever. Or, at least for a couple of minutes before I killed these processes.
    Reason is a missing timeout when using "::comm::comm send $comm_port" to test if the task using the port is a alited instance. There is no guarantee that a listener port is answering the connection attempt. And then alited hangs.
  • It is not possible to use two instances of alited in parallel. For example, I'm often working on different programs at the same time using different virtual work spaces. In such cases I want different instances.
    Reason is that the used port is not configurable. We can use more than one configuration file but, they use always the same port.
  • This open port is a security thread because it allows other users on the same machine to send commands to a running alited instance. I tried:
                Two user foo and foo1.
                foo starts alited.
                foo1 starts tclsh and executes the following:
                        package require comm
                        comm::comm send 51837 exec touch ~/securityIssue.txt
                        comm::comm send 51837 exit

This created a new text file and than closed the alited instance of foo. To make it clear, this allows everything to be executed by foo1 in context of foo what exec accepts. So you can destroy all the data foo can reach.

I don't understand the need to use comm with -listener 1 for alited. The documentation does not describe a use case for it. At least I doesn't find it.

To remote control an application to be tested, the listener mode of comm is not needed in alited.

To check for another running instance of the user also can be done in a different way. For example, assuming a local installation of the user with a lock file.

Perhaps one can explain the reason for using comm in listener mode?

aplsimple - 2021-12-31 01:55:17

Happy New Year for all of you!


Hopefully, in the upcoming 2022 Bill (or anyone who'd be after him) will not change his mind and the Roaming directory will not turn to some RoamingNeverSayNever.

alited might finely do without the starting question on .config, still it's one of its nice features - to have as much configuration directories as you need. Somewhere in the docs I mention this, it seems to be First start section.

Starting from v1.3.0, alited remembers the last used configuration directory, so that no need to pass it alited as its first argument. And no happy year similar to this one.


Hi Holger,

Why don't register in Github? Making so nice analysis on comm and two instances of alited - and so averting from Github? The Git and Github aren't wild beasts, they don't bite:) Still the issues of Github would allow guys to get the troubles immediately on the mail, the feature alas they have not with Wiki's Comments and Chiselapp's Tickets.

That said, alited is more about Tcl/Tk development than those entourage things. The alited is better than Geany and TKE. Imho much better. You might see it in its demos .

HE 2021-12-31: Hello Alex,

Thanks for the fast answer. That means at least that you now knows about the security issue in alited. So, my way worked even without to be registered in Github.

By the way, Github is software and it can't bite without hardware. So I'm pretty sure before your comment that Github don't byte ;-)
But, I don't want to register in all the different platforms only to open a ticket. At the end I have to remember all the accounts and passwords for one ticket every n years.

Tcl and Tk for example you can open a ticket without having an account. For sure you have to give an email address but, this is okay because it is not public shown.

And you don't need to advertise alited again. I would be more interested what you want to do with the listed cases.

As you can see I made an analysis with two instances of alited, two users and also some steps showing possibly dangerous commands.
And I documented it here for all potential users.
I also tried a quick search through the provided documentation why alited needs that listener port beside to find out that an instance is still running.

I can change the behavior that it would fit my needs but I can't provide you a patch for that, because I don't know why you programmed it in this way or what is the use case behind it.

And it makes no sense to create a patch to make the port configurable if the only use case is to detect a running instance of alited. Because in that case I would use a different approach.

And it makes also no sense to make a deep dive into the comm package for me. The mechanism has that possible security issue. Perhaps it can be solved by using tls and certificates. But, this is behind my current experience and far to much effort to make a foreign program running safely. I'm even not sure if there is an easy way by using sockets.

Keep in mind that I simply wanted to try alited.

aplsimple - 2021-12-31 07:30:34

Okay, let the port be a preference option, its empty value would mean no watching it and multiple aliteds allowed to be run. By default, its combobox value will be empty.

Thank you for your remarks. If you don't mind I'd ask you for sending me a mail with your code about the port.

As for advertising, it seems you mean my demos, probably a bit (or much, for other taste) boastful stuff. Still I think they are very good as kind of live documentation.

Without advertising here Tcl/Tk things made by tclers, this alited would be impossible, as it uses (often by a direct borrowing!) a lot of Tcl/Tk software made by others. tk_optionCascade by Richard Suchenwirth, scrolled frame by Paul Walton, ttk themes by rdbende... As well as poApps by Paul Obermeier greatly facilitating the development, baltip greatly helped by Csaba Nemethi, loupe tool inspired by Johann Oberdorfer. And so on and on.

What is the wiki if not a site to share with one's own works? It's all for Tcl/Tk's boon, not?

Though, it's probably not a best site to put questions in the hope they would be answered quickly. Some time ago I'd missed a question on my Pave, sort of geometry manager and answered it only too late :(

But mostly you are right and I've made too haste with the publishing this alited here.

HE 2022-01-01: Happy New Year Alex.

Sorry to be not clear enough about advertising. I don't meant advertising in general or this side in general. I only meant advertising as an answer of a comment/message is the wrong place for me.

During code investigation I found out that there is a parameter to use with alited which stops the check for running instances:

alited.tcl NOSEND

For sure it is better to make it other way round for safety reason. Then an unexperienced user doesn't open the listener port by accident. Therefore, I created a version which use SEND. I hope I found all occurence where NOSEND has an effect.

alited.tcl SEND

To make port configurable will not work in the current structure of alited because configuration is loaded after the listener port is opened. At least the configuration array ::alite::al is not filled at that time. Therefore, I not spend additional work on it.

In addition I created de locale. Only a rough translation. Some entries are still looking strange. Beside the help pages in data/help it will be possible to use alited as a German native.

I will send you all changed/new files to you by email.

SEH 2021-01-02 - I've been experimenting with alited over the holiday break, and so far I think it has a lot of potential for making it easier to comprehend and work with multi-file Tcl projects. I hope more people give it a try.

DPG - 2023-01-13 21:47:56

I was also trying this application out and it has a lot of neat ideas , however , can it be that saving a file always asks you to confirm saving over the older version ?

aplsimple - 2023-01-14 13:49:30

Well, it was my mistake to use my own preferences for mapping "Save as" to Ctrl+S and "Save" to F2, with Ctrl+S being a standard de facto for "Save".

I'll change this in v1.3.6, its intermediate variant is already present in chiselapp , with keys remapped.

That said, you can do the remapping youself, using "Setup / Preferences / Keys" settings.