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From: Beman Dawes (bdawes_at_[hidden])
Date: 2002-07-26 06:16:18

At 04:46 PM 7/25/2002, David Abrahams wrote:

>However, enough people have had problems approaching this library that I
>thought it would be useful to ask about what would make a gentle
>introductory example. Beman recently sent me the enclosed, but it seems
>define such an oddball toy iterator that I'm not sure it would be a very
>good motivating example.

ia_experiment.cpp is definitely oddball and definitely a toy. It was
written to help me understand why I was getting compile errors from a real

Someone else can probably come up with an introductory example which is
less oddball.

But I'd like to defend the general principle of "toy" introductory

When someone knows nothing about a topic, a toy example is the best
introduction. It is "known good", and can be used to verify that
compilations using the library work as expected. It can be modified to see
the effect of changes. Because it is a toy, it is totally
non-threatening. It makes the reader feel superior, rather than like a

The "C Programming Language" and "C++ Programming Language" books both
started with a little "hello, world" program, very much a toy. Although
simple, it starts the ball rolling with something that works and is
understandable almost every reader.

In the case of ia_experiment.cpp, it illustrates the relationship between
the finished iterator, the Base class, and the Policies class with greater
clarity IMO than documentation in any form other than C++ code.


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