tony baldwin

Tony Baldwin

Translator, and interpreter

(and wannabe hacker.)

My software projects:

A Personal Note to Tcl-ers

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a good programmer, and certainly not a seasoned one.

I am, by trade, a translator and interpreter. I make my living translation patents and contracts and what-have-you, from French, Portuguese and Spanish to English, but I do it using Free/Open Source Software, which is rare in my industry. Logically, I use a FLOSS operating system (Debian Stable at this juncture). I started using GNU/Linux back in 2000, prior to becoming a translator, while I was working as an English and Spanish teacher in public schools. As a testimony to the "user-friendliness" of GNU/Linux systems, the truth is that I used them for a good 6 or 7 years before learning how to do much of anything at all on the command line, much less hacking up a bash script or learning any other programming. Nonetheless, in 2007 I decided that I was spending far too much time dealing with administrative tasks for translation projects that I outsourced to colleagues to justify the meager profit I derived from them. I determined that I could either stop outsourcing and forego those profits all-together, or I could find a more efficient means of dealing with the paperwork. I looked over various project management tools available to the FLOSS community, but found absolutely nothing that really met my needs. Something strange happened. I decided, what the heck!, I'll learn some programming and make my own tool!

And I did. And I did it with tcl/tk. TransProCalc was the result, and it really did cut my project management time investment to about 10% of the prior load. Awesome.

I was able to create this program ONLY because of a couple of things, being namely, this wiki ( ) and the very kind and helpful people on #tcl @freenode.

Now, I've released a few other programs, nothing particularly amazing, really, some blogging tools, a text editor, in tcl/tk. I've gone on to learning bash scripting, and, at this time, am even "translating" the work I did on TransProCalc into php to make an online translation project management platform, TransProCloud . I've also contributed to other FLOSS projects, now, including the friendica project ( ), plugins for, RedMatrix, templates for Dokuwiki, and a few others. Now, those were all php/html/css stuff, but, the thing is, I believe that I never would have learned to write a bash script or a php script or any other script had I not first had some success creating software useful to me (and a good number of my colleagues, now) with tcl/tk. I've written clients to interact with friendica, statusnet, redmatrix, and libertree, plus a few other things in tcl/tk, too.

Now, I find myself constantly looking for new stuff to hack on, trying to translate my rather primitive knowledge of one language (tcl) to others (php, perl, bash, python, lisp...). I find myself losing sleep, and hacking through the night, participating in e-mail lists, helping other n00bs on IRC, contributing little bits of code to FLOSS projects, even playing with a webserver written in 41 lines of tcl... and, it's all YOUR FAULT!

Thanks, Thank you very much, indeed.


Since writing the above, I have now made a few other applications, and have just begun creating a runner's workout logging program with tcl/tk and sqlite, . Most of my tcl hackery is on github at