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This is the README file for the macOS/Darwin version of Tcl/Tk.

1. Where to go for support

- The tcl-mac mailing list on sourceforge is the best place to ask questions
specific to Tcl & Tk on macOS:
(this page also has a link to searchable archives of the list, please check them
before asking on the list, many questions have already been answered).

- For general Tcl/Tk questions, the newsgroup comp.lang.tcl is your best bet:

- The Tcl'ers Wiki also has many pages dealing with Tcl & Tk on macOS, see

- Please report bugs with Tk on macOS to the tracker:

2. Using Tcl/Tk on macOS

- There are two versions of Tk available on macOS: TkAqua using the native
aqua widgets and look&feel, and TkX11 using the traditional unix X11 widgets.
TkX11 requires an X11 server to be installed, such as XQuartz (available from
TkAqua and TkX11 can be distinguished at runtime via [tk windowingsystem].

- At a minimum, macOS 10.3 is required to run Tcl and TkX11.
TkAqua requires macOS 10.6 or later.

- Unless weak-linking is used, Tcl/Tk built on macOS 10.x will not run on
10.y with y < x; on the other hand Tcl/Tk built on 10.y will always run on 10.x
with y <= x (but without any of the fixes and optimizations that would be
available in a binary built on 10.x).
Weak-linking is available on OS X 10.2 or later, it additionally allows Tcl/Tk
built on 10.x to run on any 10.y with x > y >= z (for a chosen z >= 2).

- Wish checks the Resources/Scripts directory in its application bundle for a
file called AppMain.tcl, if found it is used as the startup script and the
Scripts folder is added to the auto_path. This can be used to emulate the old
OS9 TclTk droplets.

- If standard input is a special file of zero length (e.g. /dev/null), Wish
brings up the Tk console window at startup. This is the case when double
clicking Wish in the Finder (or using 'open' from the Terminal).

- Tcl extensions can be installed in any of:
	$HOME/Library/Tcl /Library/Tcl
	$HOME/Library/Frameworks /Library/Frameworks
	(searched in that order).
Given a potential package directory $pkg, Tcl on OSX checks for the file
$pkg/Resources/Scripts/pkgIndex.tcl as well as the usual $pkg/pkgIndex.tcl.
This allows building extensions as frameworks with all script files contained in
the Resources/Scripts directory of the framework.

- The 'deploy' target of macosx/GNUmakefile installs the html manpages into the
standard documentation location in the Tcl/Tk frameworks:
No nroff manpages are installed by default by the GNUmakefile.

- The Tcl and Tk frameworks can be installed in any of the system's standard
framework directories:
	$HOME/Library/Frameworks /Library/Frameworks

- ${prefix}/bin/wish8.x is a script that calls a copy of 'Wish' contained in

- if 'Wish' is started from the Finder or via 'open', $argv may contain a
"-psn_XXXX" argument. This is the process serial number, you may need to filter
it out for cross platform compatibility of your scripts.

- the env array is different when Wish is started from the Finder (i.e. via
LaunchServices) than when it (or tclsh) is invoked from the Terminal, in
particular PATH may not be what you expect. (Wish started by LaunchServices
inherits loginwindow's environment variables, which are essentially those set in
$HOME/.MacOSX/environment.plist, and are unrelated to those set in your shell).

- TkAqua provides access to native OS X images via the Tk native bitmap facility
(including any image file readable by NSImage). A native bitmap name is
interpreted as follows (in order):
    - predefined builtin 32x32 icon name (stop, caution, document, etc)
    - name defined by [tk::mac::iconBitmap]
    - NSImage named image name
    - NSImage url string
    - 4-char OSType of IconServices icon
the syntax of [tk::mac::iconBitmap] is as follows:
	tk::mac::iconBitmap name width height -kind value
where -kind is one of
    -file	    icon of file at given path
    -fileType	    icon of given file type
    -osType	    icon of given 4-char OSType file type
    -systemType	    icon for given IconServices 4-char OSType
    -namedImage	    named NSImage for given name
    -imageFile	    image at given path
This support was added with the Cocoa-based Tk 8.5.7.

- TkAqua cursor names are interpred as follows (in order):
    - standard or platform-specific Tk cursor name (c.f. cursors.n)
    - @path to any image file readable by NSImage
    - NSImage named image name
Support for the latter two was added with the Cocoa-based Tk 8.5.7.

- The standard Tk dialog commands [tk_getOpenFile], [tk_chooseDirectory],
[tk_getSaveFile] and [tk_messageBox] all take an additional optional -command
parameter on TkAqua. If it is present, the given command prefix is evaluated at
the global level when the dialog closes, with the dialog command's result
appended (the dialog command itself returning an emtpy result). If the -parent
option is also present, the dialog is configured as a modeless (window-modal)
sheet attached to the parent window and the dialog command returns immediately.
Support for -command was added with the Cocoa-based Tk 8.5.7.

- The TkAqua-specific [tk::mac::standardAboutPanel] command brings the standard
Cocoa about panel to the front, with all its information filled in from your
application bundle files (i.e. standard about panel with no options specified).
See Apple Technote TN2179 and the AppKit documentation for -[NSApplication
orderFrontStandardAboutPanelWithOptions:] for details on the Info.plist keys and
app bundle files used by the about panel.
This support was added with the Cocoa-based Tk 8.5.7.

- TkAqua has three special menu names that give access to the standard
Application, Window and Help menus, see menu.n for details.  By default, the
platform-specific standard Help menu item "YourApp Help" performs the default
Cocoa action of showing the Help Book configured in the application's
Info.plist (or displaying an alert if no Help Book is set). This action can be
customized by defining a procedure named [tk::mac::ShowHelp]. If present, this
procedure is invoked instead by the standard Help menu item.  Support for the
Window menu and [tk::mac::ShowHelp] was added with the Cocoa-based Tk 8.5.7.

- The TkAqua-specific command [tk::unsupported::MacWindowStyle style] is used to
get and set macOS-specific toplevel window class and attributes. Note that
the window class and many attributes have to be set before the window is first
mapped for the change to have any effect.
The command has the following syntax:
	tk::unsupported::MacWindowStyle style window ?class? ?attributes?
The 2 argument form returns a list of the current class and attributes for the
given window. The 3 argument form sets the class for the given window using the
default attributes for that class. The 4 argument form sets the class and the
list of attributes for the given window.
Window class names:
    document, modal, floating, utility, toolbar, simple, help, overlay
Window attribute names:
    standardDocument, standardFloating, resizable, fullZoom, horizontalZoom,
    verticalZoom, closeBox, collapseBox, toolbarButton, sideTitlebar,
    noTitleBar, unifiedTitleAndToolbar, metal, hud, noShadow, doesNotCycle,
    noActivates, hideOnSuspend, inWindowMenu, ignoreClicks, doesNotHide,
    canJoinAllSpaces, moveToActiveSpace, nonActivating

Note that not all attributes are valid for all window classes.  Support for the
3 argument form was added with the Cocoa-based Tk 8.5.7, at the same time
support for some legacy Carbon-specific classes and attributes was removed
(they are still accepted by the command but no longer have any effect).

- Another command available in the tk::unsupported::MacWindowStyle namespace is:
  tk::unsupported::MacWindowStyle tabbingid window ?newId?
which can be used to get or set the tabbingIdentifier for the NSWindow
associated with a Tk Window.  See section 3 for details.

- The command:
  tk::unsupported::MacWindowStyle appearance window ?newAppearance?
is available when Tk is built and run on macOS 10.14 (Mojave) or later.  In
that case the Ttk widgets all support the "Dark Mode" appearance which was
introduced in 10.14. The command accepts the following values for the optional
newAppearance option: "aqua", "darkaqua", or "auto".  If the appearance is set
to aqua or darkaqua then the window will be displayed with the corresponding
appearance independent of any preferences settings.  If it is set to "auto"
the appearance will be determined by the preferences.  This command can be
used to opt out of Dark Mode on a per-window basis.  It may be best to run the "update" command before setting the appearance property, to allow the event loop to run.

- To determine the current appearance of a window in macOS 10.14 (Mojave) and
higher, one can use the command:
  tk::unsupported::MacWindowStyle isdark
The boolean return value is true if the window is currently displayed with the
dark appearance.

- If you want to use Remote Debugging with Xcode, you need to set the
environment variable XCNOSTDIN to 1 in the Executable editor for Wish. That will
cause us to force closing stdin & stdout.  Otherwise, given how Xcode launches
Wish remotely, they will be left open and then Wish & gdb will fight for stdin.

3. FullScreen, Split View and Tabbed Windows

Since the release of OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) a steadily expanding sequence of
high level window operations have been added to Apple's window manager.  These
operations are launched by user actions which are handled directly by the
window manager; they are not initiated by the application.  In some, but not
all cases, the application is notified before and after the operations are
carried out.

In OSX releases up to and including 10.6 there were three buttons with
stoplight colors located on the left side of a window's title bar.  The
function of the green button was to "zoom" or "maximize" the window, i.e. to
expand the window so that it fills the entire screen, while preserving the
appearance of the window including its title bar.  The release of OSX 10.7
(Lion) introduced the "FullScreen" window which not only filled the screen but
also hid the window's title bar and the menu bar which normally appears at the
top of the screen. These hidden objects would only become visible when the
mouse hovered near the top of the screen.  FullScreen mode was initiated by
pressing a button showing two outward pointing arrows located on the right side
of the title bar; it was terminated by pressing a similar button with inward
pointing arrows on the right hand side of the menu bar.  In OSX 10.10
(Yosemite) the FullScreen button was removed. The green button was repurposed
to cause a window to become a FullScreen window. To zoom a window the user had
to hold down the option key while pressing the green button.  The release of
OSX 10.11 added a third function to the green button: to create two half-screen
windows with hidden title bars and a hidden menu bar, called Split View
windows.  If the green button is held down for one second its window expands to
fill half of the screen.  It can be moved to one side or the other with the
mouse.  The opposite side shows thumbnail images of other windows.  Selecting
one of the thumbnails expands its window to fill that half of the screen.  The
divider between the two windows can be moved to adjust the percentage of the
screen occupied by each of the two tiles.  In OSX 10.12 (Sierra) Tabbed windows
were introduced.  These allow an application with multiple windows to display
its windows as tabs within a single window frame.  Clicking on a tab brings its
window into view.  Tabs can be rearranged by dragging.  Dragging a tab to the
desktop turns it into a separate window.  Items in the Window menu can be used
to cycle through the tabs, move tabbed windows to separate windows, or merge a
set of separate windows as tabs in the same window frame.

Tk now fully supports all of these high level window operations on any system
where the operation exists.  The FullScreen and Split View windows are handled
automatically with no action required on the part of the programmer.  Tabbed
windows, on the other hand, require some attention from the programmer.
Because many of the operations with tabs are handled through the application's
Window menu, it is essential that an application provide a Windows menu to
avoid presenting a confusing interface to the user. This cannot be ignored, in
part because the systemwide Dock Preferences offers an option to always attempt
to open application windows as tabs. An application which does not provide a
Window menu will necessarily present a confusing interface to any user who has
selected this option.

A further complication is that it is not neccessarily appropriate for all of an
application's windows to be grouped together as tabs in the same frame.  In
fact, the Apple guidelines insist that windows which are grouped together as
tabs should be similar to each other.  The mechanism provided for arranging
this was to assign to each NSwindow a tabbingIdentifier, and to require that
all windows grouped together as tabs in the same window frame must have the
same tabbingIdentifier.  A tabbingIdentifier is implemented as an arbitrary
string, and a system-generated default tabbingIdentifier is provided to all new

Tk provides a means for getting and setting the tabbingIdentifier of
the NSWindow underlying a Tk Window. This is handled by the command

tk::unsupported::MacWindowStyle tabbingid window ?newId?

(This command generates an error if used on OSX 10.11 or earlier, since the
tabbingIdentifier does not exist on those systems.)  The command returns the
tabbingIdentifier which had been assigned to the window prior to execution of
the command.  If the optional newId argument is omitted, the window's
tabbingIdentifier is not changed.  Otherwise it is set to the string specified
by the argument.

Since NSWindows can only be grouped together as tabs if they all have the same
tabbingIdentifier, one can prevent a window from becoming a tab by giving it a
unique tabbingIdentifier. This is independent of any preferences setting. To
ensure that we maintain consistency, changing the tabbingIdentifier of a window
which is already displayed as a tab will also cause it to become a separate

4. Ttk, Dark Mode and semantic colors

With the release of OSX 10.14 (Mojave), Apple introduced the DarkAqua
appearance.  Part of the implementation of the Dark Mode was to make
some of the named NSColors have dynamic values.  Apple calls these
"semantic colors" because the name does not specify a specific color,
but rather refers to the context in which the color should be used.
Tk now provides the following semantic colors as system colors:
systemTextColor, systemTextBackgroundColor, systemSelectedTextColor,
systemSelectedTextBackgroundColor, systemControlTextColor,
systemDisabledControlTextColor, systemLabelColor, systemLinkColor, and
systemControlAccentColor.  All of these except the last three were
present in OSX 10.0 (and those three are simulated in systems where they
do not exist).  The change in 10.14 was that the RGB color value of
these colors became dynamic, meaning that the color value can change
when the application appearance changes.  In particular, when a user
selects Dark Mode in the system preferences these colors change
appearance.  For example systemTextColor is dark in Aqua and light in
DarkAqua.  One additional color, systemSelectedTabTextColor, does not
exist in macOS but is used by Tk to match the different colors used
for Notebook tab text in different OS versions.

The default background and foreground colors of most of the Tk widgets
have been set to semantic colors, which means that the widgets will change
appearance, and remain usable, when Dark Mode is selected in the system
preferences.  However, to get a close match to the native Dark Mode style it
is recommended to use Ttk widgets when possible.

Apple's tab view and GroupBox objects delimit their content by
displaying it within a rounded rectangle with a background color that
contrasts with the background of the containing object.  This means
that the background color of a Ttk widget depends on how deeply it is
nested inside of other widgets that use contrasting backgrounds.  To
support this, there are 8 contrasting system colors named
systemWindowBackgroundColor, and systemWindowBackgroundColor1 - 7.
The systemWindowBackgroundColor is the standard background for a
dialog window and the others match the contrasting background colors
used in ttk::notebooks and ttk::labelframes which are nested to the
corresponding depth.

5. Building Tcl/Tk on macOS

- macOS 10.6 is required to build TkAqua and TkX11.  The XCode application provides everything needed to build Tk, but it is not necessary to install the full XCode.
It suffices to install the Command Line Tools package, which can be done
by running the command:
xcode-select --install

- Tcl/Tk are most easily built as macOS frameworks via GNUmakefile in
tcl/macosx and tk/macosx (see below for details), but can also be built with the
standard unix configure and make buildsystem in tcl/unix resp. tk/unix as on any
other unix platform (indeed, the GNUmakefiles are just wrappers around the unix
The macOS specific configure flags are --enable-aqua, --enable-framework and
--disable-corefoundation (which disables CF and notably reverts to the standard
select based notifier). Note that --enable-aqua is incompatible with
--disable-corefoundation (for both Tcl and Tk configure).

- It was once possible to build with the Xcode IDE via the projects in
tk/macosx, but this has not been tested recently. Take care to use the
project matching your DevTools and OS version:
	Tk.xcode: 		    for Xcode 3.1 on 10.5
	Tk.xcodeproj:		    for Xcode 3.2 on 10.6
These have the following targets:
	Tk:			    calls through to tk/macosx/GNUMakefile,
				    requires a corresponding build of the Tcl
				    target of tcl/macosx/Tcl.xcode.
	tktest:			    static build of TkAqua tktest for debugging.
	tktest-X11:		    static build of TkX11 tktest for debugging.
The following build configurations are available:
	Debug:			    debug build for the active architecture,
				    with Fix & Continue enabled.
	Debug clang:		    use clang compiler.
	Debug llvm-gcc:		    use llvm-gcc compiler.
	Debug gcc40:		    use gcc 4.0 compiler.
	DebugNoGC:		    disable Objective-C garbage collection.
	DebugNoFixAndContinue:      disable Fix & Continue.
	DebugUnthreaded:	    disable threading.
	DebugNoCF:		    disable corefoundation (X11 only).
	DebugNoCFUnthreaded:	    disable corefoundation an threading.
	DebugMemCompile:	    enable memory and bytecode debugging.
	DebugLeaks:		    define PURIFY.
	DebugGCov:		    enable generation of gcov data files.
	Debug64bit:		    configure with --enable-64bit (requires
				    building on a 64bit capable processor).
	Release:		    release build for the active architecture.
	ReleaseUniversal:	    32/64-bit universal build.
	ReleaseUniversal clang:	    use clang compiler.
	ReleaseUniversal llvm-gcc:  use llvm-gcc compiler.
	ReleaseUniversal gcc40:	    use gcc 4.0 compiler.
	ReleaseUniversal10.5SDK:    build against the 10.5 SDK (with 10.5
				    deployment target).
	Note that the non-SDK configurations have their deployment target set to
	10.5 (Tk.xcode) resp. 10.6 (Tk.xcodeproj).
The Xcode projects refer to the toplevel tcl and tk source directories via the
the TCL_SRCROOT and TK_SRCROOT user build settings, by default these are set to
the project-relative paths '../../tcl' and '../../tk', if your source
directories are named differently, e.g. '../../tcl8.6' and '../../tk8.6', you
need to manually change the TCL_SRCROOT and TK_SRCROOT settings by editing your
${USER}.pbxuser file (located inside the Tk.xcodeproj bundle directory) with a
text editor.

- To enable weak-linking, set the MACOSX_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET environment variable
to the minimal OS version the binaries should be able to run on, e.g:
This requires at least gcc 3.1; with gcc 4 or later, set/add to CFLAGS instead:
	export CFLAGS="-mmacosx-version-min=10.6"
Support for weak-linking was added with 8.4.14/8.5a5.

Detailed Instructions for building with macosx/GNUmakefile

- Unpack the Tcl and Tk source release archives and place the tcl and tk source
trees in a common parent directory.
[ If you don't want have the two source trees in one directory, you'll need to ]
[ create the following symbolic link for the build to work as setup by default ]
[      ln -fs /path_to_tcl/build /path_to_tk/build			       ]
[ (where /path_to_{tcl,tk} is the directory containing the tcl resp. tk tree)  ]
[ or you can pass an argument of BUILD_DIR=/somewhere to the tcl and tk make.  ]

- The following instructions assume the Tcl and Tk source trees are named
"tcl${ver}" and "tk${ver}" (where ${ver} is a shell variable containing the
Tcl/Tk version number, e.g. '8.6').
Setup this shell variable as follows:
If you are building from CVS, omit this step (CVS source tree names usually do
not contain a version number).

- Setup environment variables as desired, e.g. for a universal build on 10.5:
	CFLAGS="-arch i386 -arch x86_64 -arch ppc -mmacosx-version-min=10.5"
	export CFLAGS

- Change to the directory containing the Tcl and Tk source trees and build:
	make -C tcl${ver}/macosx
	make -C tk${ver}/macosx

- Install Tcl and Tk onto the root volume (admin password required):
	sudo make -C tcl${ver}/macosx install
	sudo make -C tk${ver}/macosx  install
if you don't have an admin password, you can install into your home directory
instead by passing an INSTALL_ROOT argument to make:
	make -C tcl${ver}/macosx install INSTALL_ROOT="${HOME}/"
	make -C tk${ver}/macosx  install INSTALL_ROOT="${HOME}/"

- The default GNUmakefile targets will build _both_ debug and optimized versions
of the Tcl and Tk frameworks with the standard convention of naming the debug
library Tcl.framework/Tcl_debug resp. Tk.framework/Tk_debug.
This allows switching to the debug libraries at runtime by setting
	export DYLD_IMAGE_SUFFIX=_debug
(c.f. man dyld for more details)

If you only want to build and install the debug or optimized build, use the
'develop' or 'deploy' target variants of the GNUmakefile, respectively.
For example, to build and install only the optimized versions:
	make -C tcl${ver}/macosx deploy
	make -C tk${ver}/macosx deploy
	sudo make -C tcl${ver}/macosx install-deploy
	sudo make -C tk${ver}/macosx  install-deploy

- The GNUmakefile can also build a version of that has the Tcl and Tk
frameworks embedded in its application package. This allows for standalone
deployment of the application with no installation required, e.g. from read-only
media. To build & install in this manner, use the 'embedded' variants of
the GNUmakefile targets.
For example, to build a standalone '' in ./emb/Applications/Utilities:
	make -C tcl${ver}/macosx embedded
	make -C tk${ver}/macosx embedded
	sudo make -C tcl${ver}/macosx install-embedded INSTALL_ROOT=`pwd`/emb/
	sudo make -C tk${ver}/macosx  install-embedded INSTALL_ROOT=`pwd`/emb/
  * if you've already built standard TclTkAqua, building embedded does not
  require any new compiling or linking, so you can skip the first two makes.
  (making relinking unnecessary was added with 8.4.2)
  * the embedded frameworks include only optimized builds and no documentation.
  * the standalone Wish has the directory in its
  auto_path. Thus you can place tcl extensions in this directory (i.e. embed
  them in the app package) and load them with [package require].

- It is possible to build Tk against an installed Tcl.framework; but you will
still need a tcl sourcetree in the location specified in TCL_SRC_DIR in
Tcl.framework/ Also, linking with Tcl.framework has to work exactly
as indicated in TCL_LIB_SPEC in Tcl.framework/
If you used non-default install locations for Tcl.framework, specify them as
make overrides to the tk/macosx GNUmakefile, e.g.
	make -C tk${ver}/macosx \
	    TCL_FRAMEWORK_DIR=$HOME/Library/Frameworks TCLSH_DIR=$HOME/usr/bin
	sudo make -C tk${ver}/macosx install \
	    TCL_FRAMEWORK_DIR=$HOME/Library/Frameworks TCLSH_DIR=$HOME/usr/bin
The Makefile variables TCL_FRAMEWORK_DIR and TCLSH_DIR were added with Tk 8.4.3.

5. Details regarding the macOS port of Tk.

5.1 About the event loop

The main program in a typical OSX application looks like this (see\

    void NSApplicationMain(int argc, char *argv[]) {
        [NSApplication sharedApplication];
        [NSBundle loadNibNamed:@"myMain" owner:NSApp];
        [NSApp run];
Here NSApp is a standard global variable, initialized by the OS, which
points to an object in a subclass of NSApplication (called
TKApplication in the case of the macOS port of Tk).

The [NSApp run] method implements the event loop for a typical Mac
application.  There are three key steps in the run method.  First it
calls [NSApp finishLaunching], which creates the bouncing application
icon and does other mysterious things. Second it creates an
NSAutoreleasePool.  Third, it starts an event loop which drains the
NSAutoreleasePool every time the queue is empty, and replaces the
drained pool with a new one.  This third step is essential to
preventing memory leaks, since the internal methods of Appkit objects
all assume that an autorelease pool is in scope and will be drained
when the event processing cycle ends.

The macOS Tk application does not call the [NSApp run] method at
all.  Instead it uses the event loop built in to Tk.  So the
application must take care to replicate the important features of the
method ourselves.  The way that autorelease pools are handled is
discussed in 5.2 below.  Here we discuss the event handling itself.

The Tcl event loop simply consists of repeated calls to TclDoOneEvent.
Each call to TclDoOneEvent begins by collecting all pending events from
an "event source", converting them to Tcl events and adding them
to the Tcl event queue. For macOS, the event source is the NSApp
object, which maintains an event queue even though its run method
will never be called to process them.  The NSApp provides methods for
inspecting the queue and removing events from it as well as the
[NSApp sendevent] which sends an event to all of the application's
NSWindows which can then send it to subwindows, etc.

The event collection process consists of first calling a platform
specific SetupProc and then a platform specific CheckProc.  In
the macOS port, these are named TkMacOSXEventsSetupProc and

It is important to understand that the Apple window manager does not
have the concept of an expose event.  Their replacement for an expose
event is to have the window manager call the [NSView drawRect] method
in any situation where an expose event for that NSView would be
generated in X11.  The [NSView drawRect] method is a no-op which is
expected to be overridden by any application.  In the case of Tcl, the
replacement [NSView drawRect] method creates a Tcl expose event
for each dirty rectangle of the NSView, and then adds the expose
event to the Tcl queue.

5.2 Autorelease pools

In order to carry out the job of managing autorelease pools, which
would normally be handled by the [NSApp run] method, a private
NSAutoreleasePool* property is added to the TkApplication subclass of
NSApplication. The TkpInit function calls [NSApp _setup] which
initializes this property by creating an NSAutoreleasePool prior to
calling [NSApp finishLaunching].  This mimics the behavior of the
[NSApp run] method, which calls [NSApp finishLaunching] just before
starting the event loop.

Since the CheckProc function gets called for every Tk event, it is an
appropriate place to drain the main NSAutoreleasePool and replace it
with a new pool.  This is done by calling the method [NSApp
_resetAutoreleasePool], where _resetAutoreleasePool is a method which
we define for the subclass.  Unfortunately, by itself this is not
sufficient for safe memory managememt because, as was made painfully
evident with the release of OS X 10.13, it is possible for calls to
TclDoOneEvent, and hence to CheckProc, to be nested.  Draining the
autorelease pool in a nested call leads to crashes as objects in use
by the outer call can get freed by the inner call and then reused later.
One particular situation where this happens is when a modal dialogue
gets posted by a Tk Application.  To address this, the NSApp object
also implements a semaphore to prevent draining the autorelease pool
in nested calls to CheckProc.

One additional minor caveat for developers is that there are several
steps of the Tk initialization which precede the call to TkpInit.
Notably, the font package is initialized first.  Since there is no
NSAutoreleasePool in scope prior to calling TkpInit, the functions
called in these preliminary stages need to create and drain their own
NSAutoreleasePools whenever they call methods of Appkit objects
(e.g. NSFont).

5.3 Clipping regions and "ghost windows"

Another unusual aspect of the macOS port is its use of clipping
regions.  It was part of Daniel Steffen's original design that the
TkWindowPrivate struct maintains three HIShapeRef regions, named
visRgn, aboveVisRgn and drawRgn.  These regions are used as clipping
masks whenever drawing into an NSView.  The visRgn is the bounding box
of the window with a rectangle removed for each subwindow and for each
sibling window at a higher stacking level.  The drawRgn is the
intersection of the visRgn with the clipping rectangle of the
window. (Normally, the clipping rectangle is the same as the bounding
rectangle, but drawing can be clipped to a smaller rectangle by
calling TkpClipDrawableToRect.) The aboveVisRgn is the intersection of
the window's bounding rectangle with the bounding rectangle of the
parent window.  Much of the code in tkMacOSXSubwindows.c is devoted to
rebuilding these clipping regions whenever something changes in the
layout of the windows.  This turns out to be a tricky thing to do and
it is extremely prone to errors which can be difficult to trace.

It is not entirely clear what the original reason for using these
clipping regions was.  But one benefit is that if they are correctly
maintained then it allows windows to be drawn in any order.  You do
not have to draw them in the order of the window hierarchy.  Each
window can draw its entire rectangle through its own mask and never
have to worry about drawing in the wrong place.  It is likely that
the need for using clipping regions arose because, as Apple explicitly
states in the documentation for [NSView subviews],

    "The order of the subviews may be considered as being
    back-to-front, but this does not imply invalidation and drawing

In the early versions of the macOS port, buttons were implemented as
subviews of class TkButton.  This probably exacerbated the likelihood
that Tk windows would need to be drawn in arbitrary order.

The most obvious side effect caused by not maintaining the clipping
regions is the appearance of so-called "ghost windows".  A common
situation where these may arise is when a window containing buttons
is being scrolled.  A user may see two images of the same button on
the screen, one in the pre-scroll location and one in the post-scroll

To see how these 'ghost windows' can arise, think about what happens if
the clipping regions are not maintained correctly.  A window might
have a rectangle missing from its clipping region because that
rectangle is the bounding rectangle for a subwindow, say a button.
The parent should not draw in the missing rectangle since doing so
would trash the button.  The button is responsible for drawing
there. Now imagine that the button gets moved, say by a scroll, but
the missing rectangle in the parent's clipping region does not get
moved correctly, or it gets moved later on, after the parent has
redrawn itself.  The parent would still not be allowed to draw in the
old rectangle, so the user would continue to see the image of the
button in its old location, as well as another image in the new
location.  This is a prototypical example of a "ghost window".
Anytime you see a "ghost window", you should suspect problems with the
updates to the clipping region visRgn.  It is natural to look for
timing issues, race conditions, or other "event loop problems".  But
in fact, the whole design of the code is to make those timing issues
irrelevant.  As long as the clipping regions are correctly maintained
the timing does not matter.  And if they are not correctly maintained
then you will see "ghost windows".

It is worth including a detailed description of one specific place
where the failure to correctly maintain clipping regions caused "ghost
window" artifacts that plagued the macOS port for years.  These
occurred when scrolling a Text widget which contained embedded
subwindows.  It involved some specific differences between the
low-level behavior of Apple's window manager versus those of the other
platforms, and the fix ultimately required changes in the generic Tk
implementation (documented in the comments in the DisplayText

The Text widget attempts to improve perfomance when scrolling by
minimizing the number of text lines which need to be redisplayed.  It
does this by calling the platform-specific TkScrollWindow function
which uses a low-level routine to map one rectangle of the window to
another.  The TkScrollWindow function returns a damage region which is
then used by the Text widget's DisplayText function to determine which
text lines need to be redrawn.  On the unix and win platforms, this
damage region includes bounding rectangles for all embedded windows
inside the Text widget.  The way that this works is system dependent.
On unix, the low level scrolling is done by XCopyRegion, which
generates a GraphicsExpose event for each embedded window.  These
GraphicsExposed events are processsed within TkScrollWindow, using a
special handler which adds the bounding rectangle of each subwindow to
the damage region.  On the win platform the damage region is built by
the low level function ScrollWindowEx, and it also includes bounding
rectangles for all embedded windows.  This is possible because on X11
and Windows every Tk widget is also known to the window manager as a
window.  The situation is different on macOS.  The underlying object
for a top level window on macOS is the NSView.  However, Apple
explicitly warns in its documentation that performance degradation
occurs when an NSView has more than about 100 subviews.  A Text widget
with thousands of lines of text could easily contain more than 100
embedded windows.  In fact, while the original Cocoa port of Tk did
use the NSButton object, which is derived from NSView, as the basis
for its Tk Buttons, that was changed in order to improve performance.
Moreover, the low level routine used for scrolling on macOS, namely
[NSView scrollrect:by], does not provide any damage information.  So
TkScrollWindow needs to work differently on macOS.  Since it would be
inefficient to iterate through all embedded windows in a Text widget,
looking for those which meet the scrolling area, the damage region
constructed by TkScrollWindow contains only the difference between the
source and destination rectangles for the scrolling.  The embedded
windows are redrawn within the DisplayText function by some
conditional code which is only used for macOS.

6.0 Virtual events on 10.14

10.14 supports system appearance changes, and has added a "Dark Mode"
that casts all window frames and menus as black. Tk 8.6.9 has added two
virtual events, <<LightAqua>> and <<DarkAqua>>, to allow you to update
your Tk app's appearance when the system appearance changes. Just bind
your appearance-updating code to these virtual events and you will see
it triggered when the system appearance toggles between dark and light.

7.0 Mac Services

With 8.6.10, Tk supports the Mac's NSServices API, documented at
and in TIP 536 and Tk's man page. Tk presents a simple,
straightforward API to implement the Services functionality.

The Tk implementation of the NSServices API is intended for standalone
applications, such as one wrapped by the standalone version of Wish
and re-named into a different application.  In particular such an
application would specify its own unique CFBundleIdentifier in its
Info.plist file.  During development, however, if Wish itself is being
used as the receiver, it may be necessary to take some care to ensure
that the correct version of is available as a receiver of
NSServices data.

When one macOS app uses NSServices to send data to another app that is
not running, LaunchServices will launch the receiver.  LaunchServices
assumes that the CFBundleIdentifier uniquely identifies an app among
all of the apps installed on a system.  But this may not be the case
for if, for example, you have compiled Tk from source at some
time in the past.  In that case the Tk build directory will contain
its own copy of that will be visible to LaunchServices.  It
may be necessary when testing your app to take some steps to ensure
that LaunchServices is launching the correct  Instructions
for doing this are provided below.

The command line tool which manages the LaunchServices database has
an amazingly unwieldy path name.  So, first, run this command:

alias lsregister='/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister'

Then you can reset the LaunchServices database like this:

$ lsregister -kill
$ lsregister -seed

To find out which versions of have been located by
LaunchServices, run:

$ lsregister -dump | grep path | grep Wish

If more than one version of Wish is showing up in this list, eliminate
all of the unintended targets by running

lsregister -u /path/to/bad/

Continue this until only the correct version of Wish shows up in the