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Learning Perl/Tk: Graphical User Interfaces with Perl (O'Reilly Nutshell)

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By combining the rough-and-ready Perl language with the graphical user interface (GUI) capabilities of the Tk toolkit, Perl/Tk makes it easy to write event-based GUI applications quickly--once you know what you're doing. Learning Perl/Tk shows you how to build GUIs with everyone's favorite public-domain programming language. This book focuses only on GUIs--it leaves in-depth exploration of the Perl language to other books. (Learning Perl is the best of that genre.)

Assuming only a basic familiarity with Perl, Learning Perl/Tk shows you what you need to know to create graphical front ends for Perl programs. Author Nancy Walsh starts with a quick orientation, showing you how to set up Perl/Tk and giving you some simple examples of what GUI source code looks like. Then, she details the use and functions of geometry managers, which the Tk module uses to arrange interface elements. From there, she explores each widget individually, showing how to use buttons, checkbuttons, radiobuttons, labels, entries, and more. She also addresses event handlers. Her discussion of each widget is clear and liberally sprinkled with examples.

One appendix lists the default values of the Tk widgets in tabular form; another spotlights the differences among versions of Perl and Tk for various operating systems. A final appendix explores the font-management capabilities of Tk 8.0. This book doesn't come with a companion disk, and it would be nice to have the examples available locally. However, the publisher maintains a library of related files on its Web site. --David Wall

Learning Perl/Tk is a tutorial for Perl/Tk, the extension to Perl for creating graphical user interfaces. With Tk, Perl programs can be window-based rather than command-line based, with buttons, entry fields, listboxes, menus, and scrollbars. Originally developed for the Tcl language, the Perl port of the Tk toolkit liberates Perl programmers from the world of command-line options, STDIN, and STDOUT, allowing them to build graphical, event-driven applications for both Windows and UNIX.

This book is aimed at Perl novices and experts alike. It explains the reasoning behind event-driven applications and drills in guidelines on how to best design graphical applications. It teaches how to implement and configure each of the Perl/Tk graphical elements step-by-step. Special attention is given to the geometry managers, which are needed to position each button, menu, label and listbox in the window frame.

Although this book does not teach basic Perl, anyone who has written even the simplest Perl program should be able to learn Tk from this book. The writing is breezy and informal, and gets right to the point of what you need to know and why. The book is rife with illustrations that demonstrate how each element is drawn and how its configuration options affect its presentation.

Learning Perl/Tk is for every Perl programmer who would like to implement simple, easy-to-use graphical interfaces.

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