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From: Kevlin Henney (kevlin_at_[hidden])
Date: 2000-07-14 07:48:18

In message <[hidden]>, Beman
Dawes <beman_at_[hidden]> writes
>There is a distinction between a feature model as a software engineering
>tool, and using a feature model to create a formal classification or

Good point.

>C&E propose feature models as software engineering tools to aid in the
>design of deliverable software. Thus the boost feature model for smart
>pointers would probably not include iterators since (I'm assuming, possibly
>incorrectly) the boost smart pointer generator will not generate something
>you would call an iterator. That would be true regardless of whether boost
>uses just template magic for generation, or also uses an HTML or other
>wizard. If it turns out that 100% of the boost smart pointers
>configurations are memory management smart pointers, maybe we should rename
>the concept memory-management-smart-pointer or similar, or at least make
>that clear in the docs.


>What you are in effect saying, I think, is that the same feature model
>approach could also be used to create formal classifications. There the
>aim is better understanding, explanation, and communication rather than
>actual working code.

I tend to view the two as intertwined, but essentially yes.

>But for the boost SP feature model, we should only include the feature if
>some real configurations will include it, even if only in version 2. That
>might well apply to user-supplied-locking or
>pointer-isnt-already-owned-checking, for example. But iterators or other
>navigation smart pointers may be outside the scope, and if so wouldn't be

I think a stable iterative and incremental approach to definition sounds
as good as any. If we start with the kernel you have suggested and work
with and from it, it will be probably be more immediate and workable
than a grand unified theorem of indirection.

  Kevlin Henney phone: +44 117 942 2990
  Curbralan Ltd mobile: +44 7801 073 508
  kevlin_at_[hidden] fax: +44 870 052 2289

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