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Done development, and time to ship your code?

Deploying applications written in scripting languages often means getting your users to download the script language interpreter, the extensions your app needs, then your scripts (editing them if necessary to adjust paths, etc.). Most languages also offer some sort of tool to compile all your scripts plus the language interpreter into a single executable.

Deploying applications in Tcl, whether commercial or open source, simply blows away what you can easily do in other dynamic languages, in terms of power, flexibility and convenience.

Starkits. One key deployment technology is a Starkit. Starkits are a single file deployment mechanism for delivering self-contained, installation-free Tcl/Tk applications.

A Starkit creates the illusion of a "file system in a file" — to the end user it's a single file, yet the application code continues to see a complete directory of scripts, extensions, packages, images and whatever other files your application needs. So your end users just need to copy your application and effectively get your whole development environment on their machine — no special installation needed.

Cross-platform. Even better, Starkits can be cross-platform; you can include compiled code for multiple platforms and the correct version will be automatically used when the Starkit is run. And you can build Starkits on just about any platform, for delivery on any platform.

Want even more? Check out a few more cool things about Starkits:

  • Tclkit, the platform-specific runtime for Starkits, is typically well under 2 megabytes in size — which includes a complete Tcl/Tk installation (compare that to a Java virtual machine!)
  • Ship as a cross-platform Starkit or bundle the interpreter to create a single-file platform specific executable — your choice
  • No need to have different source and binary releases; developers can unpack your Starkit, modify files, and update it
  • Starkits integrate seamlessly with the Tcl Dev Kit compiler, allowing commercial developers to fully protect their source code
  • Starkits are built using a fully transacted database, so doing things like software updates is easy and safe

It sounds too good to be true, but Starkits are now widely used within the Tcl/Tk world for delivering a wide variety of applications, both free/open source and commercial; web-based, GUI and server.

As Tcl luminary Donal Fellows has noted: "in the option of what seems to be the majority of the Tcl community, Starkits are cooler than a beach holiday in East Antartica."

Want to know more? Visit the Starkit page for more information.