tclsh(1) Tcl Applications tclsh(1)
tclsh - Simple shell containing Tcl interpreter
tclsh ?fileName arg arg ...?
Tclsh is a shell-like application that reads Tcl commands from its
standard input or from a file and evaluates them. If invoked with no
arguments then it runs interactively, reading Tcl commands from stan-
dard input and printing command results and error messages to standard
output. It runs until the exit command is invoked or until it reaches
end-of-file on its standard input. If there exists a file .tclshrc (or
tclshrc.tcl on the Windows platforms) in the home directory of the
user, tclsh evaluates the file as a Tcl script just before reading the
first command from standard input.
If tclsh is invoked with arguments then the first argument is the name
of a script file and any additional arguments are made available to the
script as variables (see below). Instead of reading commands from
standard input tclsh will read Tcl commands from the named file; tclsh
will exit when it reaches the end of the file. The end of the file may │
be marked either by the physical end of the medium, or by the charac- │
ter, ’\032’ (’\u001a’, control-Z). If this character is present in the │
file, the tclsh application will read text up to but not including the │
character. An application that requires this character in the file may │
safely encode it as ‘‘\032’’, ‘‘\x1a’’, or ‘‘\u001a’’; or may generate │
it by use of commands such as format or binary. There is no automatic
evaluation of .tclshrc when the name of a script file is presented on
the tclsh command line, but the script file can always source it if
If you create a Tcl script in a file whose first line is
then you can invoke the script file directly from your shell if you
mark the file as executable. This assumes that tclsh has been
installed in the default location in /usr/local/bin; if it’s installed
somewhere else then you’ll have to modify the above line to match.
Many UNIX systems do not allow the #! line to exceed about 30 charac-
ters in length, so be sure that the tclsh executable can be accessed
with a short file name.
An even better approach is to start your script files with the follow-
ing three lines:
# the next line restarts using tclsh \
exec tclsh "$0" "$@"
This approach has three advantages over the approach in the previous
paragraph. First, the location of the tclsh binary doesn’t have to be
hard-wired into the script: it can be anywhere in your shell search
path. Second, it gets around the 30-character file name limit in the
previous approach. Third, this approach will work even if tclsh is
itself a shell script (this is done on some systems in order to handle
multiple architectures or operating systems: the tclsh script selects
one of several binaries to run). The three lines cause both sh and
tclsh to process the script, but the exec is only executed by sh. sh
processes the script first; it treats the second line as a comment and
executes the third line. The exec statement cause the shell to stop
processing and instead to start up tclsh to reprocess the entire
script. When tclsh starts up, it treats all three lines as comments,
since the backslash at the end of the second line causes the third line
to be treated as part of the comment on the second line.
You should note that it is also common practise to install tclsh with │
its version number as part of the name. This has the advantage of │
allowing multiple versions of Tcl to exist on the same system at once, │
but also the disadvantage of making it harder to write scripts that │
start up uniformly across different versions of Tcl.
Tclsh sets the following Tcl variables:
argc Contains a count of the number of arg arguments (0 if
none), not including the name of the script file.
argv Contains a Tcl list whose elements are the arg argu-
ments, in order, or an empty string if there are no arg
argv0 Contains fileName if it was specified. Otherwise, con-
tains the name by which tclsh was invoked.
Contains 1 if tclsh is running interactively (no file-
Name was specified and standard input is a terminal-like
device), 0 otherwise.
When tclsh is invoked interactively it normally prompts for each com-
mand with ‘‘% ’’. You can change the prompt by setting the variables
tcl_prompt1 and tcl_prompt2. If variable tcl_prompt1 exists then it
must consist of a Tcl script to output a prompt; instead of outputting
a prompt tclsh will evaluate the script in tcl_prompt1. The variable
tcl_prompt2 is used in a similar way when a newline is typed but the
current command isn’t yet complete; if tcl_prompt2 isn’t set then no
prompt is output for incomplete commands.
See Tcl_StandardChannels for more explanations.
argument, interpreter, prompt, script file, shell
Man(1) output converted with