tset.de » ltcltk: a binding to tcl and tk for lua » ltcltk: README



A package that provides bindings for Lua to Tcl and the Tk toolkit.

Author: Gunnar Zötl , 2010, 2011.
Released under MIT/X11 license. See file LICENSE for details.

This has been developed using Tcl/Tk 8.4 and 8.5 on Linux and MacOS X. It should also compile on Windows, the only non ISO-C function used is snprintf().

ltcl is the binding to the Tcl interpreter. It allows to access Tcl variables from Lua, function calls from Lua to Tcl and also from Tcl to Lua, plus the ability to define Tcl functions in Lua. See README_ltcl for details.

ltk is a simple pure-Lua binding to the Tk toolkit that uses ltcl to access the Tk functionality through a Tcl interpreter. All standard Tk functions and widgets from Tk 8.4 and Tk 8.5 are supported, with the ability to provide Lua functions where standard Tk expects Tcl functions or scripts. A few Tcl functions that seemed useful in the context of ltk are also provided. See README_ltk for details.

A few examples are provided for illustration purposes. They reside in the folder samples. The ones whose names start with tk are ported from Tk 8.5 examples.


You need to have the Tcl development files installed. On MacOS these come with Xcode, on Linux you will have to install the appropriate package. If you have both Tcl/Tk 8.4 and 8.5 installed on your system, you may have to change the rockspec file to link to the appropriate version. Normally calling

sudo luarocks install ltcltk

or when you have an unpacked source folder,

sudo luarocks make

should do the right thing.

Known Issues

On MacOS X the ltkimage.lua sample does not terminate. The exit function is not called, I don't know why. That is the main reason why we're not at version 1.0.


  • bugfixes related to functions as arguments to widget commands not having worked in some circumstances
  • a bugfix related to events, where event handlers might have been called multiple times
  • addition of the "tag" widget command for the text widget
  • a slightly modified ltk.addtkwidget() function
  • Also there is a bit of new sample code.
Thanks to Alex Bradbury for bug reports and the suggestion of the additional argument to ltk.addtkwidget().
Initial release