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Practical Programming in Tcl & Tk, Third Edition
By Brent B. Welch

Table of Contents
Chapter 14.  Namespaces


Importing and Exporting Procedures

Commands can be imported from namespaces to make it easier to name them. An imported command can be used without its namespace qualifier. Each namespace specifies exported procedures that can be the target of an import. Variables cannot be imported. Note that importing is only a convenience; you can always use qualified names to access any procedure. As a matter of style, I avoid importing names, so I know what package a command belongs to when I'm reading code.

The namespace export command goes inside the namespace block, and it specifies what procedures a namespace exports. The specification is a list of string match patterns that are compared against the set of commands defined in a namespace. The export list can be defined before the procedures being exported. You can do more than one namespace export to add more procedures, or patterns, to the export list for a namespace. Use the -clear flag if you need to reset the export list.

namespace export ?-clear? ?pat? ?pat? ...

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Only exported names appear in package indexes.


When you create the pkgIndex.tcl package index file with pkg_mkIndex, which is described Chapter 12, you should be aware that only exported names appear in the index. Because of this, I often resort to exporting everything. I never plan to import the names, but I do rely on automatic code loading based on the index files. This exports everything:

namespace export *

The namespace import command makes commands in another namespace visible in the current namespace. An import can cause conflicts with commands in the current namespace. The namespace import command raises an error if there is a conflict. You can override this with the -force option. The general form of the command is:

namespace import ?-force? namespace::pat ?namespace::pat?...

The pat is a string match type pattern that is matched against exported commands defined in namespace. You cannot use patterns to match namespace. The namespace can be a fully or partially qualified name of a namespace.

If you are lazy, you can import all procedures from a namespace:

namespace import random::*

The drawback of this approach is that random exports an init procedure, which might conflict with another module you import in the same way. It is safer to import just the procedures you plan on using:

namespace import random::random random::range

A namespace import takes a snapshot.


If the set of procedures in a namespace changes, or if its export list changes, then this has no effect on any imports that have already occurred from that namespace.


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