namespace(n)                 Tcl Built-In Commands                namespace(n)


       namespace - create and manipulate contexts for commands and variables

       namespace ?option? ?arg ...?

       The namespace command lets you create, access, and destroy separate
       contexts for commands and variables.  See the section WHAT IS A
       NAMESPACE? below for a brief overview of namespaces.  The legal
       option's are listed below.  Note that you can abbreviate the option's.

       namespace children ?namespace? ?pattern?
              Returns a list of all child namespaces that belong to the
              namespace namespace.  If namespace is not specified, then the
              children are returned for the current namespace.  This command
              returns fully-qualified names, which start with ::.  If the
              optional pattern is given, then this command returns only the
              names that match the glob-style pattern.  The actual pattern
              used is determined as follows: a pattern that starts with :: is
              used directly, otherwise the namespace namespace (or the fully-
              qualified name of the current namespace) is prepended onto the
              the pattern.

       namespace code script
              Captures the current namespace context for later execution of
              the script script.  It returns a new script in which script has
              been wrapped in a namespace code command.  The new script has
              two important properties.  First, it can be evaluated in any
              namespace and will cause script to be evaluated in the current
              namespace (the one where the namespace code command was
              invoked).  Second, additional arguments can be appended to the
              resulting script and they will be passed to script as additional
              arguments.  For example, suppose the command set script
              [namespace code {foo bar}] is invoked in namespace ::a::b.  Then
              eval "$script x y" can be executed in any namespace (assuming
              the value of script has been passed in properly) and will have
              the same effect as the command namespace eval ::a::b {foo bar x
              y}.  This command is needed because extensions like Tk normally
              execute callback scripts in the global namespace.  A scoped
              command captures a command together with its namespace context
              in a way that allows it to be executed properly later.  See the
              section SCOPED VALUES for some examples of how this is used to
              create callback scripts.

       namespace current
              Returns the fully-qualified name for the current namespace.  The
              actual name of the global namespace is ``'' (i.e., an empty
              string), but this command returns :: for the global namespace as
              a convenience to programmers.

       namespace delete ?namespace namespace ...?
              Each namespace namespace is deleted and all variables,
              procedures, and child namespaces contained in the namespace are
              deleted.  If a procedure is currently executing inside the
              namespace, the namespace will be kept alive until the procedure
              returns; however, the namespace is marked to prevent other code
              from looking it up by name.  If a namespace doesn't exist, this
              command returns an error.  If no namespace names are given, this
              command does nothing.

       namespace eval namespace arg ?arg ...?
              Activates a namespace called namespace and evaluates some code
              in that context.  If the namespace does not already exist, it is
              created.  If more than one arg argument is specified, the
              arguments are concatenated together with a space between each
              one in the same fashion as the eval command, and the result is

              If namespace has leading namespace qualifiers and any leading
              namespaces do not exist, they are automatically created.

       namespace export ?-clear? ?pattern pattern ...?
              Specifies which commands are exported from a namespace.  The
              exported commands are those that can be later imported into
              another namespace using a namespace import command.  Both
              commands defined in a namespace and commands the namespace has
              previously imported can be exported by a namespace.  The
              commands do not have to be defined at the time the namespace
              export command is executed.  Each pattern may contain glob-style
              special characters, but it may not include any namespace
              qualifiers.  That is, the pattern can only specify commands in
              the current (exporting) namespace.  Each pattern is appended
              onto the namespace's list of export patterns.  If the -clear
              flag is given, the namespace's export pattern list is reset to
              empty before any pattern arguments are appended.  If no patterns
              are given and the -clear flag isn't given, this command returns
              the namespace's current export list.

       namespace forget ?pattern pattern ...?
              Removes previously imported commands from a namespace.  Each
              pattern is a qualified name such as foo::x or a::b::p*.
              Qualified names contain ::s and qualify a name with the name of
              one or more namespaces.  Each pattern is qualified with the name
              of an exporting namespace and may have glob-style special
              characters in the command name at the end of the qualified name.
              Glob characters may not appear in a namespace name.  This
              command first finds the matching exported commands.  It then
              checks whether any of those those commands were previously
              imported by the current namespace.  If so, this command deletes
              the corresponding imported commands.  In effect, this un-does
              the action of a namespace import command.

       namespace import ?-force? ?pattern pattern ...?
              Imports commands into a namespace.  Each pattern is a qualified
              name like foo::x or a::p*.  That is, it includes the name of an
              exporting namespace and may have glob-style special characters
              in the command name at the end of the qualified name.  Glob
              characters may not appear in a namespace name.  All the commands
              that match a pattern string and which are currently exported
              from their namespace are added to the current namespace.  This
              is done by creating a new command in the current namespace that
              points to the exported command in its original namespace; when
              the new imported command is called, it invokes the exported
              command.  This command normally returns an error if an imported
              command conflicts with an existing command.  However, if the
              -force option is given, imported commands will silently replace
              existing commands.  The namespace import command has snapshot
              semantics: that is, only requested commands that are currently
              defined in the exporting namespace are imported.  In other
              words, you can import only the commands that are in a namespace
              at the time when the namespace import command is executed.  If
              another command is defined and exported in this namespace later
              on, it will not be imported.

       namespace inscope namespace arg ?arg ...?
              Executes a script in the context of a particular namespace.
              This command is not expected to be used directly by programmers;
              calls to it are generated implicitly when applications use
              namespace code commands to create callback scripts that the
              applications then register with, e.g., Tk widgets.  The
              namespace inscope command is much like the namespace eval
              command except that it has lappend semantics and the namespace
              must already exist.  It treats the first argument as a list, and
              appends any arguments after the first onto the end as proper
              list elements.  namespace inscope ::foo a x y z is equivalent to
              namespace eval ::foo [concat a [list x y z]] This lappend
              semantics is important because many callback scripts are
              actually prefixes.

       namespace origin command
              Returns the fully-qualified name of the original command to
              which the imported command command refers.  When a command is
              imported into a namespace, a new command is created in that
              namespace that points to the actual command in the exporting
              namespace.  If a command is imported into a sequence of
              namespaces a, b,...,n where each successive namespace just
              imports the command from the previous namespace, this command
              returns the fully-qualified name of the original command in the
              first namespace, a.  If command does not refer to an imported
              command, the command's own fully-qualified name is returned.

       namespace parent ?namespace?
              Returns the fully-qualified name of the parent namespace for
              namespace namespace.  If namespace is not specified, the fully-
              qualified name of the current namespace's parent is returned.

       namespace qualifiers string
              Returns any leading namespace qualifiers for string.  Qualifiers
              are namespace names separated by ::s.  For the string
              ::foo::bar::x, this command returns ::foo::bar, and for :: it
              returns an empty string.  This command is the complement of the
              namespace tail command.  Note that it does not check whether the
              namespace names are, in fact, the names of currently defined

       namespace tail string
              Returns the simple name at the end of a qualified string.
              Qualifiers are namespace names separated by ::s.  For the string
              ::foo::bar::x, this command returns x, and for :: it returns an
              empty string.  This command is the complement of the namespace
              qualifiers command.  It does not check whether the namespace
              names are, in fact, the names of currently defined namespaces.

       namespace which ?-command? ?-variable? name
              Looks up name as either a command or variable and returns its
              fully-qualified name.  For example, if name does not exist in
              the current namespace but does exist in the global namespace,
              this command returns a fully-qualified name in the global
              namespace.  If the command or variable does not exist, this
              command returns an empty string.  If the variable has been
              created but not defined, such as with the variable command or
              through a trace on the variable, this command will return the
              fully-qualified name of the variable.  If no flag is given, name
              is treated as a command name.  See the section NAME RESOLUTION
              below for an explanation of the rules regarding name resolution.

       A namespace is a collection of commands and variables.  It encapsulates
       the commands and variables to ensure that they won't interfere with the
       commands and variables of other namespaces.  Tcl has always had one
       such collection, which we refer to as the global namespace.  The global
       namespace holds all global variables and commands.  The namespace eval
       command lets you create new namespaces.  For example,
              namespace eval Counter {
                  namespace export bump
                  variable num 0

                  proc bump {} {
                      variable num
                      incr num
       creates a new namespace containing the variable num and the procedure
       bump.  The commands and variables in this namespace are separate from
       other commands and variables in the same program.  If there is a
       command named bump in the global namespace, for example, it will be
       different from the command bump in the Counter namespace.

       Namespace variables resemble global variables in Tcl.  They exist
       outside of the procedures in a namespace but can be accessed in a
       procedure via the variable command, as shown in the example above.

       Namespaces are dynamic.  You can add and delete commands and variables
       at any time, so you can build up the contents of a namespace over time
       using a series of namespace eval commands.  For example, the following
       series of commands has the same effect as the namespace definition
       shown above:
              namespace eval Counter {
                  variable num 0
                  proc bump {} {
                      variable num
                      return [incr num]
              namespace eval Counter {
                  proc test {args} {
                      return $args
              namespace eval Counter {
                  rename test ""
       Note that the test procedure is added to the Counter namespace, and
       later removed via the rename command.

       Namespaces can have other namespaces within them, so they nest
       hierarchically.  A nested namespace is encapsulated inside its parent
       namespace and can not interfere with other namespaces.

       Each namespace has a textual name such as history or ::safe::interp.
       Since namespaces may nest, qualified names are used to refer to
       commands, variables, and child namespaces contained inside namespaces.
       Qualified names are similar to the hierarchical path names for Unix
       files or Tk widgets, except that :: is used as the separator instead of
       / or ..  The topmost or global namespace has the name ``'' (i.e., an
       empty string), although :: is a synonym.  As an example, the name
       ::safe::interp::create refers to the command create in the namespace
       interp that is a child of of namespace ::safe, which in turn is a child
       of the global namespace ::.

       If you want to access commands and variables from another namespace,
       you must use some extra syntax.  Names must be qualified by the
       namespace that contains them.  From the global namespace, we might
       access the Counter procedures like this:
              Counter::bump 5
       We could access the current count like this:
              puts "count = $Counter::num"
       When one namespace contains another, you may need more than one
       qualifier to reach its elements.  If we had a namespace Foo that
       contained the namespace Counter, you could invoke its bump procedure
       from the global namespace like this:
              Foo::Counter::bump 3

       You can also use qualified names when you create and rename commands.
       For example, you could add a procedure to the Foo namespace like this:
              proc Foo::Test {args} {return $args}
       And you could move the same procedure to another namespace like this:
              rename Foo::Test Bar::Test

       There are a few remaining points about qualified names that we should
       cover.  Namespaces have nonempty names except for the global namespace.
       :: is disallowed in simple command, variable, and namespace names
       except as a namespace separator.  Extra :s in a qualified name are
       ignored; that is, two or more :s are treated as a namespace separator.
       A trailing :: in a qualified variable or command name refers to the
       variable or command named {}.  However, a trailing :: in a qualified
       namespace name is ignored.

       In general, all Tcl commands that take variable and command names
       support qualified names.  This means you can give qualified names to
       such commands as set, proc, rename, and interp alias.  If you provide a
       fully-qualified name that starts with a ::, there is no question about
       what command, variable, or namespace you mean.  However, if the name
       does not start with a :: (i.e., is relative), Tcl follows a fixed rule
       for looking it up: Command and variable names are always resolved by
       looking first in the current namespace, and then in the global
       namespace.  Namespace names, on the other hand, are always resolved by
       looking in only the current namespace.

       In the following example,
              set traceLevel 0
              namespace eval Debug {
                  printTrace $traceLevel
       Tcl looks for traceLevel in the namespace Debug and then in the global
       namespace.  It looks up the command printTrace in the same way.  If a
       variable or command name is not found in either context, the name is
       undefined.  To make this point absolutely clear, consider the following
              set traceLevel 0
              namespace eval Foo {
                  variable traceLevel 3

                  namespace eval Debug {
                      printTrace $traceLevel
       Here Tcl looks for traceLevel first in the namespace Foo::Debug.  Since
       it is not found there, Tcl then looks for it in the global namespace.
       The variable Foo::traceLevel is completely ignored during the name
       resolution process.

       You can use the namespace which command to clear up any question about
       name resolution.  For example, the command:
              namespace eval Foo::Debug {namespace which -variable traceLevel}
       returns ::traceLevel.  On the other hand, the command,
              namespace eval Foo {namespace which -variable traceLevel}
       returns ::Foo::traceLevel.

       As mentioned above, namespace names are looked up differently than the
       names of variables and commands.  Namespace names are always resolved
       in the current namespace.  This means, for example, that a namespace
       eval command that creates a new namespace always creates a child of the
       current namespace unless the new namespace name begins with a ::.

       Tcl has no access control to limit what variables, commands, or
       namespaces you can reference.  If you provide a qualified name that
       resolves to an element by the name resolution rule above, you can
       access the element.

       You can access a namespace variable from a procedure in the same
       namespace by using the variable command.  Much like the global command,
       this creates a local link to the namespace variable.  If necessary, it
       also creates the variable in the current namespace and initializes it.
       Note that the global command only creates links to variables in the
       global namespace.  It is not necessary to use a variable command if you
       always refer to the namespace variable using an appropriate qualified

       Namespaces are often used to represent libraries.  Some library
       commands are used so frequently that it is a nuisance to type their
       qualified names.  For example, suppose that all of the commands in a
       package like BLT are contained in a namespace called Blt.  Then you
       might access these commands like this:
              Blt::graph .g -background red
              Blt::table . .g 0,0
       If you use the graph and table commands frequently, you may want to
       access them without the Blt:: prefix.  You can do this by importing the
       commands into the current namespace, like this:
              namespace import Blt::*
       This adds all exported commands from the Blt namespace into the current
       namespace context, so you can write code like this:
              graph .g -background red
              table . .g 0,0
       The namespace import command only imports commands from a namespace
       that that namespace exported with a namespace export command.

       Importing every command from a namespace is generally a bad idea since
       you don't know what you will get.  It is better to import just the
       specific commands you need.  For example, the command
              namespace import Blt::graph Blt::table
       imports only the graph and table commands into the current context.

       If you try to import a command that already exists, you will get an
       error.  This prevents you from importing the same command from two
       different packages.  But from time to time (perhaps when debugging),
       you may want to get around this restriction.  You may want to reissue
       the namespace import command to pick up new commands that have appeared
       in a namespace.  In that case, you can use the -force option, and
       existing commands will be silently overwritten:
              namespace import -force Blt::graph Blt::table
       If for some reason, you want to stop using the imported commands, you
       can remove them with an namespace forget command, like this:
              namespace forget Blt::*
       This searches the current namespace for any commands imported from Blt.
       If it finds any, it removes them.  Otherwise, it does nothing.  After
       this, the Blt commands must be accessed with the Blt:: prefix.

       When you delete a command from the exporting namespace like this:
              rename Blt::graph ""
       the command is automatically removed from all namespaces that import

       You can export commands from a namespace like this:
              namespace eval Counter {
                  namespace export bump reset
                  variable Num 0
                  variable Max 100

                  proc bump {{by 1}} {
                      variable Num
                      incr Num $by
                      return $Num
                  proc reset {} {
                      variable Num
                      set Num 0
                  proc Check {} {
                      variable Num
                      variable Max
                      if {$Num > $Max} {
                          error "too high!"
       The procedures bump and reset are exported, so they are included when
       you import from the Counter namespace, like this:
              namespace import Counter::*
       However, the Check procedure is not exported, so it is ignored by the
       import operation.

       The namespace import command only imports commands that were declared
       as exported by their namespace.  The namespace export command specifies
       what commands may be imported by other namespaces.  If a namespace
       import command specifies a command that is not exported, the command is
       not imported.


       exported, internal, variable

Tcl                                   8.0                         namespace(n)