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Exploring Expect by Don Libes

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Chapter 2. Tcl—Introduction And Overview

Expect does not have its own special-purpose language. Expect uses Tcl, a popular language for embedding in applications. Tcl provides lots of basic commands such as if/then/else, while, and set. Expect extends the language with commands such as expect and interact.

This chapter is an introduction and overview of Tcl. While not covering all of Tcl, this chapter does provide everything that the rest of the book depends on, and this is enough to write virtually any Expect script. Even if you already know Tcl, you may find it helpful to read this chapter. In this chapter, I will emphasize things about Tcl that you may not have thought much about before.

You probably want to get on with using Expect, and I can understand the urge to skip this chapter in the hopes of learning as little Tcl as possible so you can put Expect to work for you now. Please be patient and it will all fit together that much more easily.

If you do skip this chapter and you find yourself wondering about points in the other chapters, turn back to this chapter and read it.

A few concepts will not be covered here but will be explained as they are encountered for the first time in other chapters. The index can help you locate where each command is first defined and used.

I will occasionally mention when a particular Tcl command or feature is similar to C. It is not necessary that you know C in order to use Tcl, but if you do know it, such statements are clues that you can rely on ...

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