When we sat down to plan a class at MIT on Web service design and implementation, our first thought was to give the students our favorite commercial Tcl book: Brent Welch's Practical Programming in Tcl and Tk. At 630 pages, nobody can accuse Prentice-Hall of shortchanging the reader on information. Sadly, however, for the Web nerd most of this information is useless. Two-thirds of the book is devoted to Tk, a toolkit for constructing graphical user interfaces. On the Internet, the user interface is a Web browser. If you're programming a Web service, all you care about is using Tcl to produce some HTML that gets sent to the client.
Another problem with using Welch's book for our class is that he is unable to assume that his readers are primarily interested in building Web applications. So his examples have to be extremely generic.
A final and crushing problem with the book is that it isn't available on the Web. Even if our students can afford to pony up $40 or $50 for a 630-page book, they probably can't afford the physical therapy and orthopedic surgery they'd require after lugging it around from class to class.
What about Tcl for Web Nerds then? We hope that a professional programmer or MIT student can breeze through it in one evening. By the end of the evening, that person should have learned Tcl, learned a little something about the Web, and not have been bored.
It is available on the Web at a permanent URL. If you don't like it,
the authors will happily refund your purchase price. :-)
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