Google native code browser plug-in gets tickled
Ferrieux, the man who moved the language to Native Client, provides a demonstration of Tcl directly accessing the HTML5 canvas element.
Some have claimed that this is the first scripting language running on Native Client, but other languages have made the move as well, including OCaml and Lua. But this is the first language that fits so nicely with Google's wonderfully geeky naming conventions. Some have called this NaTcl. From sodium chloride to, well, sodium tetrachloride.
At one point, Google built a Native Client compiler for Go, its New Age programming language that provides extreme concurrency while running at speeds similar to C. But Go co-creator Rob Pike tells us that the Native Client Go work is now on hold, due to the rapid changes the Native Client team were making to the plug-in.
Originally developed in the late '80s at the University of California Berkeley as the Tool Command Language, Tcl is essentially a scrubbed and enhanced Unix shell. "It dwells in the same area as Lisp and Scheme, in that it has an extremely simple and regular syntax, with next to zero reserved keywords, very few special characters, and a very simple semantics based on a never-violated principle: 'Everything Is a String'," Ferrieux says. "That allows humans to reason about programs with certainty without any knowledge of the implementation details."
Now that Tcl – pronounced "tickle" – is up and running on Native Client, Ferrieux intends to move the accompanying Tk graphical user interface tool kit to the platform as well. "Another important thing from the standpoint of a Tcler with a Tk background, is that thanks to the exquisite flexibility of the language, there's very little more to learn [to make the switch to Native Client]," he says. "Indeed, the complete emulation of Tk's most useful idioms at a syntactic level is possible, and will be completed shortly."
Well, you do have to learn your HTML5. ®