Notes on the Tk implementation. General TkTop represents a top-level window. It holds pointers to the widgets created in that window: windows gives a list of all windows (this includes "." and any menu widgets) root the list of all widgets, whether packed or not. Each Tk widget holds pointers to the widgets packed inside it, its slaves. Widgets that do their own child widget management (canvas and text) do not use the slaves list, but store pointers to them in their own data structures. Each Tk widget, w, holds a pointer to the widget it's packed or stored inside. w->master if it's packed or stored in a grid w->parent if it's a child widget of a canvas or text widget. A widget type is operated on through functions referred to in its TkMethod structure, defined in that widget type's source file, and pointed to by the method dispatch table, tkmethod, defined in xdata.c. utils.c contains the master table holding the built-in commands (e.g. widget creation, focus, grab, etc) with their associated functions. xdata.c holds the method table (tkmethod) mapping from widget type to the method functions supported by individual widgets. Coordinates: A widget requests a particular size allocation by setting its req.width and req.height fields. The packer (or its parent) determines the actual size allocation, and position and sets act.x, act.y, act.width and act.height appropriately. The requested width and height do not include the borderwidth, which is factored in additionally. Coordinates as delivered by the %x and %y verbs provided by bind(9) are relative to the top left of the widget, inside its border. I'll call this the "widget's coordinate system". The draw method of each widget type is provided with an "origin" argument. (origin.x + act.x + borderwidth, origin.y + act.y + borderwidth) gives the screen coordinate of (0, 0) in the widget coordinate system. Dirtiness Each widget has a "dirty" rectangle, the bounding box of any changes that it needs to make visible. This is in the widget's coordinate system. A widget does not have to update everything in the dirty rectangle, unless the Tkrefresh flag is set, in which case it must. A widget never has to draw anything outside of its dirty rectangle. Locking Mostly, Tk is non-reentrant because the interpreter is held when a call to, e.g. Tk_cmd, is made. However, when the display is remote, any access of the display (drawing, stringsize, etc) can do a release() and therefore let another thread access tk. The drawing code itself locks the display, so code invoked from within a widgets draw() method is guaranteed non-reentrant. If access to the draw device is required during code executed in a non-drawing context (e.g. to calculate the size of a string), care must be taken to lock the draw device appropriately. Tk provides some convenience functions to do this (e.g. tkstringsize).