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Portable Common Tool Environment (PCTE) - Abstract specification

4th edition, December 1997

This Ecma Standard specifies PCTE in abstract, programming-language-independent, terms. It specifies the interface supported by any conforming implementation as a set of abstract operation specifications, together with the types of their parameters and results. It is supported by a number of standard bindings, i.e. representations of the interface in standard programming languages.

The scope of this Ecma Standard is restricted to a single PCTE installation. It does not specify the means of communication between PCTE installations, nor between a PCTE installation and another system.

A number of features are not completely defined in this Ecma Standard, some freedom being allowed to the implementor.  Some of these are implementation limits, for which constraints are defined (see clause 24).  The other implementation-dependent and implementation-defined features are specified in the appropriate places in this Standard.

PCTE is an interface to a set of facilities that forms the basis for constructing environments supporting systems engineering projects.  These facilities are designed particularly to provide an infrastructure for programs which may be part of such environments.  Such programs, which are used as aids to systems development, are often referred to as tools.

This Ecma Standard also includes (in annex B) a language standard for the PCTE Data Description Language (DDL), suitable for writing PCTE schema definition sets.

Download this standard


CategorySoftware engineering and interfaces


Technical CommitteeTC33 (this TC is no longer active)

ISO/IEC number13719-1


  • ECMA, 1st edition, December 1990No file available
  • ECMA, 2nd edition, June 1993No file available
  • ECMA, 3rd edition, December 1994No file available