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From: Augustus Saunders (infinite_8_monkey_at_[hidden])
Date: 2003-05-01 20:29:45

Earlier, I renamed this thread to include coding styles and
maintenance in the subject because I think that the proponents of
this idea are ultimately trying to improve coding styles and ease of
maintenance. Boost is, if I understand correctly, primarily
concerned with writing libraries. We are interested, of course, in
having good coding style in the libaries themselves (Boost has its
own style guidelines, even), and of course we want the libraries to
be maintainable code. Additionally, we obviously want use of our
libraries to ease maintenance and be stylistically consistent. We
can ease maintenance for the same reasons as any standard library:
familiarity, quality, robustness against corner-cases, etc.

Thanks to C++, we can enforce more correct usage than say the Java
standard libraries can, but ultimately we cannot prevent pathalogical
uses of library constructs. So all of the discussion about needing
to retrofit old code and about getting programmers to consistently
use this idiom in new code are relevent to us in only a couple of

1) IF somebody does decide to retrofit all of their code, is the
benefit as advertised?

2) Is writing new code with the idiom or updating old code as easy as
the language possibly allows? In other words, is the proposed
solution the best available?

Whether or not somebody else actually uses the tool is not exactly
our problem. We can make sure that Boost libraries themselves use
this idiom anyplace that in/out parameters are called for (aside from
previously mentioned idiomatic usage in some operators) and guaruntee
correct, consistent use. Conceivably, this idiom could be useful
only for our own use, not even as a facitlity that we offer to
library users. But then again, there seems no reason to withhold it
if we use it internally. People will benefit to whatever extent they
use it, which is fine by me. My question, then:

Is it easy enough? Does it work as advertised?

Like another poster pointed out, these probably require some actual
usage to answer. But I don't think that a lack of global usage
guaruntees hinders the potential usefulness of the idea.


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