Wrap: Standalone executables with Tcl/Tk8.2.1

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references since December 16, 2000

Did you ever wondered why Tcl/Tk standalone executables need to be so big? When you use tcl2c, Freewrap or Mktclapp, generally the resulting executables are larger than 1 MByte. Here is the proof that they can be made much smaller: The Wrap 0.3 binary distribution contains two fully functionally standalone executables with the Memchan and Metakit extensions and everything to create your own standalone executables. Still everything together fits on a single floppy:

The Wrap binary distribution has the following features:

How to create your own standalone executables

The trick is that the standalone executables in reality are zip-files as well. Thus they can be handled with the standard zip-utility.. The supplied "zip.exe" in reality is nothing more than zip 2.2 ported to Windows (using gcc-2.95, mingw variant). The most important part of Wrap is the handling of zip-entries; being able to uncompress them and handle them on-the-fly in various ways.

Now - as a demonstration - let's create our first standalone executable. Assume we have a "hello.tcl" script, which we want to wrap up in an executable

  # hello.tcl
  button .b -text button -command exit
  pack .b

The procedure to do this from the DOS command line is:

  > copy wish82s.exe hello.exe
  > zip -9 -A hello.exe hello.tcl

That's all. The "-9" option (recommended) selects maximum compression and the "-A" option (obligatory) corrects for the non-standard zip-header. Now assume you want to add a GIF-file to the button, which should be wrapped in the executable as well:

  # hello.tcl
  set f [wrap::open hello.gif]
  fconfigure $f -translation binary
  set hello [read $f]; close $f
  [image create photo hello] put $hello
  button .b -image hello -command exit
  pack .b

You can wrap both the script and the GIF-file in the executable by:

  > copy wish82s.exe hello.exe
  > zip -9 -A hello.exe hello.tcl hello.gif

See how simple it really is: If you want to read data from the executable, just use wrap::open in stead of open and off you go. In the same way Wrap provides the wrap::source and wrap::load commands, which you can use according to your own fantasy.


ToDo:

Acknowledgement.

Jean-Claude Wippler
This package is for a great deal inspired by the useful discussions I had with him about software installation issues. Let's hope this partial implementation gives inspiration for more ideas.
Matt Newman
Gave many very useful suggestions, supplied the initial VC++ makefiles and the date/time handling.

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Written by: Updated: February 19, 2001
Jan Nijtmans
CMG (Computer Management Group) Arnhem B.V.
email:
j.nijtmans@chello.nl (private)
jan.nijtmans@cmg.nl (work)
url:
http://purl.oclc.org/net/nijtmans/