Robert Kiesling


Tk::Workspace - Persistent, multi-purpose text processor.


   # Create a workspace from the shell prompt:

       mkws "workspace"

   # Open an existing workspace from the shell prompt:

       workspace [-background | -bg <color>] [-textbackground <color>]
                 [-foreground | -fg <color>] [-textforeground <color>]
                 [-font | -fn <fontdesc>] [-importfile <filename>]
                 [-exportfile <filename>] [-dump] [-xrm <pattern>]
                 [-class <Classname>] [-display | -screen <dpyname>]
                 [-title <workspacename>] [-help] [-iconic]
                 [-motif] [-synchronous] [-write] [-quit]

   # Open from a Perl script:

      use Tk;
      use Tk::Workspace;


   # Create workspace object within a Perl script:

      $w = Tk::Workspace -> new( x => 100,
                                 y => 100,
                                 width => 300,
                                 height => 250,
                                 textfont => "*-courier-medium-r-*-*-12-*",
                                 foreground => 'white',
                                 background => 'black',
                                 menuvisible => 'true',
                                 scroll => 'se',
                                 insert => '1.0',
                                 menubarvisible => 'True',
                                 text => 'Text to be inserted',
                                 name => 'workspace' );


Workspace uses a modified Tk::Text widget to create an embedded Perl text editor. The resulting file can be run as a standalone program.


In normal use, common X toolkit options apply to non-text areas, like the window border and menus. Text resources can also be specified, but they often have a lower priority than the Workspace's saved values and user selections. Refer to the section: X RESOURCES, below.

Command line options are described more fully in the Tk::CmdLine manual page.

X Toolkit Options

-foreground | -fg <color>

Foreground color of widgets. -fg is a synonym for -foreground.

-background | -bg <color>

Background color of widgets. -bg is a synonym for -background.

-class <classname>

Name of X Window resource class. In normal use, this is overriden by the Workspace name.

-display | -screen <displayname>

Name of X display. -screen is a synonym for -display.

-font | -fn <fontname>

Font descriptor for widgets. -fn is a synonym for -font.


Start with the window iconfied.


Adhere as closely as possible to Motif look-and-feel standards.

-name <resourcename>

Specifies the name under which X resources can be found. Refer to the section: X RESOURCES, below.


Requests should be sent to the X server synchronously. Mainly useful for debugging.

-title <windowtitle>

Title of the window. This is overridden by the Workspace.

-xrm <resourcestring>

Specifies a resource pattern to override defaults. Refer to the section: X RESOURCES, below.

Workspace Specific Options

-textforeground <color>

Set the color of the text foreground. Overrides the Workspace's own setting.

-textbackground <color>

Set the color of the text background. Overrides the Workspace's own setting.

-importfile <filename>

At startup, import <filename> into the workspace at the cursor position.

-exportfile <filename>

Export the text of the workspace to <filename>.

-title <workspacename>

Set the window title and workspace name.


Save the workspace in its current state. If the window is not yet drawn, use the default geometry of 565x351+100+100 and insertion cursor index of 1.0.


Print the Workspace text to standard output.


Close the Workspace without saving.


In normal use, a workspace's Xresources begin with its name in lower-case letters.

  myworkspace*borderwidth:       3
  myworkspace*relief:            sunken
  myworkspace*takefocus:         true

Top-level options are described in the Tk::Toplevel and Tk::options manual pages.

In addition, several subwidgets have standard names, so properties can easily apply to all Workspaces:

      Widget             Resource Name
      ------             -------------
      Text Editor        workspaceText
      Menu Bar Menus     workspaceMenuBar
      Popup Menus        workspacePopupMenu

Examples of resource settings that apply to all Workspaces:

  *workspaceText*insertwidth:         5
  *workspaceText*spacing1:            20
  *workspaceMenuBar*foreground:       white
  *workspaceMenuBar*background:       darkslategray
  *workspacePopupMenu*foreground:     white
  *workspacePopupMenu*background:     mediumgray

Complete descriptions of the options that each widget recognizes are given in the Tk::Text, Tk::TextUndo, and Tk::Menu manual pages.


A workspace contains a menu bar with File, Edit, Options, and Help menus.

The menus also pop up by pressing the right mouse button (Button-3) over the text area, whether the menu bar is visible or not.

The menu functions are provided by the Tk::Workspace, Tk::TextUndo, Tk::Text, and Tk::Widget modules.

File Menu

Import Text -- Insert the contents of a selected text file at the insertion point.

Export Text -- Write the contents of the workspace to a text file.

The Import and Export Text functions allow saving to files on remote hosts using FTP, if the Perl Net::FTP module is installed. Please refer to the file INSTALL in the distribution archive and the Tk::RemoteFileSelect manual page.

System Command -- Prompts for the name of a command to be executed by the shell, /bin/sh. The output is inserted into the workspace.

For example, to insert a manual page into the workspace, enter:

   man <programname> | colcrt - | col -b

Shell -- Starts an interactive shell. The prompt is the PS1 prompt of the environment where the workspace was started. At present the workspace shell recognizes only a subset of the bash prompt variables, and does not implement command history or setting of environment variables in the subshell.

Due to I/O blocking, results can be unpredictable, especially if the called program causes an eof condition on STDERR. For details refer to the Tk::Shell POD documentation.

Refer to the bash(1) manual page for further information.

Typing 'exit' leaves the shell and returns the workspace to normal text editing mode.

Filter -- Specify a filter and output destination for the text in the Workspace. A ``filter'' is defined as a program that takes its input from standard input, STDIN, and sends its output to standard output, STDOUT. By default, output is inserted into the Workspace at the cursor position. Other destinations are:

  - File--Write output to the file name specified.
  - Terminal--Write output to the Workspace's STDOUT or to a
    character device specified as the output file.
  - New Workspace--Write output to a new Workspace with the
    name specified.

If the Perl Net::FTP module is installed, filter output can be sent to a remote host, using the pathname syntax, hostname:/filepathname .

Save -- Save the workspace to disk.

Quit -- Close the workspace window, optionally saving to disk.

Workspaces are saved with file mode permissions 0700 (read, write, and execute for the owner of the file).

Edit Menu

Undo -- Reverse the next previous change to the text.

Cut -- Delete the selected text and place it on the X clipboard.

Copy -- Copy the selected text to the X clipboard.

Paste -- Insert text from the X clipboard at the insertion point.

Evaluate Selection -- Interpret the selected text as Perl code.

Search & Replace -- Open a dialog box to enter search and/or replace strings. Users can select options for exact upper/lower case matching, regular expression searches, forward or backward searches, and no query on replace. If "Replace without Asking" is selected, then all search matches will be replaced. The default is to prompt before the replacement. Replacements for regular expression matches are not supported.

Goto Line -- Go to the line entered by the user.

Which Line -- Report the line and column position of the insertion point.

Options Menu

Wrap -- Select how the text should wrap at the right margin.

Scroll Bars -- Select from scroll bars at right or left, top or bottom of the text area.

Encoding -- Select the encoding to use when exporting text. Does not affect the Workspace text itself. When importing, the text is mapped into ISO-8859-1, regardless of encoding. This option is only available if the UTF16 libraries are installed on the system. If they aren't, then the Workspace uses the default ISO 8859-1 encoding. Refer to the file INSTALL in the distribution archive for information about the required libraries.

Show/Hide Menubar -- Toggle whether the menubar is visible. A popup version of the menus is always available by pressing the right mouse button (Button 3) over the text area.

Color Editor -- Pops up a Color Editor window. You can select the text attribute that you want to change from the Colors -> Color Attributes menu. If your system libraries have an rgb.txt file, a list of the available colors is displayed on the left-hand side of the window. Double-clicking on a color name, or selecting its color space parameters from the sliders in the middle of the ColorEditor, displays that color in the swatch on the right-hand side of the window. Pressing the Apply... button at the bottom of the Color Editor applies the color selection to the text. The most useful attributes for Workspace text are foreground, background, and insertBackground.

Text Font -- Select text font from list of system fonts.

Help Menu

About -- Report name of workspace and modification time, and version of library.

Help -- Display the POD documentation in a text window formatted by pod2text.


For further information, please refer to the Tk::Text and Tk::bind man pages.

    Alt-Q                 Quit, Optionally Saving Text
    Alt-S                 Save Workspace to Disk
    Alt-I                 Import Text
    Alt-W                 Export Text
    Alt-U                 Undo
    Alt-X                 Copy Selection to Clipboard and Delete
    Alt-C                 Copy Selection to Clipboard
    Alt-V                 Insert Clipboard Contents at Cursor
    Alt-F                 Search & Replace
    Alt-H                 Select Paragraph
    Alt-L                 Fill Paragraph
    Alt-P                 Print

    Right, Ctrl-F         Forward Character
    Left, Ctrl-B          Backward Character
    Up, Ctrl-P            Up One Line
    Down, Ctrl-N          Down One Line
    Shift-Right           Forward Character Extend Selection
    Shift-Left            Backward Character Extend Selection
    Shift-Up              Up One Line, Extend Selection
    Shift-Down            Down One Line, Extend Selection
    Ctrl-Right, Meta-F    Forward Word
    Ctrl-Left, Meta-B     Backward Word
    Ctrl-Up               Up One Paragraph
    Ctrl-Down             Down One Paragraph
    PgUp                  Scroll View Up One Screen
    PgDn                  Scroll View Down One Screen
    Ctrl-PgUp             Scroll View Right
    Ctrl-PgDn             Scroll View Left
    Home, Ctrl-A          Beginning of Line
    End, Ctrl-E           End of Line
    Ctrl-Home, Meta-<     Beginning of Text
    Ctrl-End, Meta->      End of Text
    Ctrl-/                Select All
    Ctrl-\                Clear Selection
    F16, Copy, Meta-W     Copy Selection to Clipboard
    F20, Cut, Ctrl-W      Copy Selection to Clipboard and Delete
    F18, Paste, Ctrl-Y    Paste Clipboard Text at Insertion Point
    Delete, Ctrl-D        Delete Character to Right, or Selection
    Backspace, Ctrl-H     Delete Character to Left, or Selection
    Meta-D                Delete Word to Right
    Meta-Backspace, Meta-Delete
                          Delete Word to Left
    Ctrl-K                Delete from Cursor to End of Line
    Ctrl-O                Open a Blank Line
    Ctrl-X                Clear Selection
    Ctrl-T                Reverse Order of Characters on Either Side
                          of the Cursor
    Ctrl-.                Center the line the insertion cursor is on
                          in the window.

    Mouse Button 1:
    Single Click: Set Insertion Cursor at Mouse Pointer
    Double Click: Select Word Under the Mouse Pointer and Position 
    Cursor at the Beginning of the Word
    Triple Click: Select Line Under the Mouse Pointer and Position 
    Cursor at the Beginning of the Line
    Drag: Define Selection from Insertion Cursor
    Shift-Drag: Extend Selection
    Double Click, Shift-Drag: Extend Selection by Whole Words
    Triple Click, Shift-Drag: Extend Selection by Whole Lines
    Ctrl: Position Insertion Cursor without Affecting Selection

    Mouse Button 2:
    Click: Copy Selection into Text at the Mouse Pointer
    Drag:Shift View

    Mouse Button 3:
    Pop Up Menu Bar

    Meta                  Escape



There is no actual API specification, but Workspaces recognize the following instance methods:

about, bind, close_dialog, cmd_import, commandline, create, custom_args, defaultcursor, do_win_signal_event, dump, editmenu, elementColor, evalselection, exportfile, filemenu, filenotfound, filepath, filter, filter_dialog, filter_text, fontdialogaccept, fontdialogapply, fontdialogclose, geometry, goto_line, havenet, height, helpmenu, importfile, insertionpoint, libname, menubar, menubarvisible, menus, mktmpfile, my_directory, name, new, open, optionsmenu, outputfile, outputmode, parent_ws, popupmenu, postpopupmenu, quit, requirecond, scroll, scrollbar, self_help, set_scroll, text, textbackground, textfont, textforeground, title, togglemenubar, user_import, watchcursor, what_line, width, window, wmgeometry, workspaceobject, wrap, write, write_to_disk, ws_copy, ws_cut, ws_export, ws_font, ws_paste, ws_undo, x, y

The following class methods are available:

new, ScrollMenuItems, WrapMenuItems, workspaceobject.

The 'new' constructor recognizes the settings of the following options, which are used by the :

window, name, textfont, width, height, x, y, foreground, background, textfont, filemenu, editmenu, optionsmenu, wrapmenu, scrollmenu, modemenu, helpmenu, menubar, popupmenu, menubarvisible, scroll, scrollbuttons, insertionpoint, text


Tk::Workspace by (Robert Kiesling)

Perl/Tk by Nick Ing-Simmons. Tk::ColorEditor widget by Steven Lidie. Perl by Larry Wall and many others.


$Id:,v 1.75 2002/08/22 21:10:49 kiesling Exp $


Tk::overview(1), Tk::ColorEditor(1), perl(1) manual pages.