TclPro v1.1

This tool suite includes four related tools: debugger, checker, wrapper and compiler.
Documentation and Other Resources

TclPro1.1 comes with a 107-page User's Guide in both hard- and soft-copy formats. The soft copy is in PDF format and requires the Acrobat 3.0+ viewer. Local on-line documentation also includes browser-based help and man pages. Additional information, resources and links are available at http://www.scriptics.com/resources/.

I compared a couple of the User's Guide chapters with the browser's help content. The User's Guide and the local browser-based help content are similar in some respects and also contain some differences. One primary difference is the availability of message IDs within the on-line help.

I did notice a couple of minor things about the browser-based on-line help. The on-line “Using TclPro Checker” topic referred to a nonexistent example. I did find the same topic and example in the User's Guide. On the other hand, I attempted to use an example command from the book and it failed. The command usage error messages and the on-line help quickly pointed out the book's error.

Licensing

At the time of this writing, Scriptics' web site and other literature indicated TclPro is licensed to a named individual and not the platform. No clear indication was given as to how licenses could be reallocated within an organization if a personnel turnover were to occur. Licensing relief may be on the horizon. The next release of TclPro will offer a UNIX-based network license package. A five-user license will be the smallest available network license.

Support

A 30-day e-mail installation and evaluation support service is included. As mentioned above, my experience with this support was quite positive. Scriptics also offers three levels of fee-based support. The lowest level is an annual product update service. This level of support provides only product updates. The two other levels of support, Gold and Platinum, go beyond product updates and are sold on a per-user basis. At the time of this review, the product update service is a prerequisite for either the Gold or Platinum support levels—not an unreasonable condition. I feel some of the other conditions on support need to be rethought. For example, the Gold-level support required purchasing support for a minimum of five users. This is rather expensive if you own only one or two licenses.

Minimum Platform

I was unable to find recommended minimum system requirements in the documentation or on the web site. This product's command-line tools run on a 486/66 platform with 24MB of RAM. I do not recommend running the debugger on this class machine unless you do not mind waiting several minutes. TclPro1.1 runs quite nicely on a 300MHz Pentium II with 64MB of RAM.

Conclusion

I found TclPro Version 1.1 easy to learn and found value in each of the four TclPro tools. I feel the product is definitely worth the download and evaluation. The User's Guide very adeptly describes TclPro: “TclPro is an evolving piece of software. We will continually improve TclPro according to the user feedback and the needs of the Tcl community.” Let Scriptics know if it does not meet your needs.

Note that a beta release of TclPro Version 1.2 was made available shortly before this article was submitted for publication.

Daniel Lazenby (dlazenby@ix.netcom.com) holds a BS in Decision Sciences. He first encountered UNIX in 1983 and discovered Linux in 1994. Today he provides support for a range of platforms running Linux, AIX and HP-UX.

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