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From: David B. Held (dheld_at_[hidden])
Date: 2004-06-02 22:12:49

"Reid Sweatman" <drunkardswalk_at_[hidden]> wrote in message
> [...]
> I'd say (speaking as a soi-disant mathematician) you also need to
> find ways to overcome the perception that "other languages do it
> faster and/or more accurately."
> [...]

And that's not the case I would make in this scenario. I'd say that
it only makes sense to port all that code from other languages if C++
offers compelling reasons to do so. Just because it can be "just as
fast" or "just as accurate" doesn't mean that we should invest all
this time in it. Isn't it possible to call a FORTRAN library from C++?

There are many other languages that offer this feature or that feature
better than C++. But at the end of the day, I have to say that C++ is
the right choice for a lot of projects because of factors other than
speed or size. And by that I mean things like installed code base,
user support, platform support, etc. The fact that people have been
writing scientific code in FORTRAN pretty much since the language
was invented means that there is a huge installed base of tools for
working with it. These are the kinds of factors I have in mind when
I question whether C++ is the most appropriate language for this
type of work. Yes, we surely *can* reinvent the wheel. But is it
cost-effective? And isn't Boost all about *not* having to reinvent
the wheel?

For most libraries in Boost, I can see a clear and obvious benefit
from providing that library in C++. But when it comes to algorithms,
it is much easier to separate the interface from the implementation,
so it seems that we should at least consider simply providing
C++ wrappers for implementations that exist in other languages.
If there are clear benefits from reimplementing everything in C++,
I'm all for it. I just think it's worthwhile to look at all the angles
diving in.


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