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

Table of Contents
Part II.  Advanced Tcl


Chapter 20. Safe-Tk and the Browser Plugin

This chapter describes Safe-Tk that lets untrusted scripts display and manipulate graphical user interfaces. The main application of Safe-Tk is the Tcl/Tk plugin for Web browsers like Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer.

Safe-Tk supports network applets that display user interfaces. The main vehicle for Safe-Tk is a plugin for Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. The plugin supports Tcl applets, or Tclets, that are downloaded from the Web server and execute inside a window in a Web browser. For the most part Tcl/Tk applications can run unchanged in the plugin. However, security policies place some restrictions on Tclets. The plugin supports multiple security policies, so Tclets can do a variety of interesting things in a safe manner.

The current version of the plugin uses Tcl/Tk 8.0. You can configure the plugin to use an existing wish application to host the Tcl applets, or the plugin can load the Tcl/Tk shared libraries and everything runs in the browser process. You can use a custom wish that has extensions built in or dynamically loaded. This gives intranet applications of the plugin the ability to access databases and other services that are not provided by the Tcl/Tk core. With the security policy mechanism you can still provide mediated access to these resources. This chapter describes how to set up the plugin.

The source code of the plugin is freely available. You can recompile the plugin against newer versions of Tcl/Tk, or build custom plugins that have your own Tcl extensions built in. One particularly active plugin user is NASA, which maintains and distributes an enhanced version of the plugin. You can find them from the main plugin Web site at:

http://www.scriptics.com/plugin/


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