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From: Thomas Xkey (xkey_at_[hidden])
Date: 2004-09-02 22:47:15

my 2 cents x 10 - Documentation, moreIO, iostreams,
move_ptr, fsm, boost

Review Periods

I would prefer to see a review period of 10-12 days [i like
12 days from a sunday thru the following weeks friday
perspective.] The present period is just to short. Most of
us are overworked, underpaid, and dont always
care to look at works in progress of others until things
are a bit more "finalized" and "stable" so to speak.
Hence we may not peek early enough at a library to provide
good guiding input but we can toss our 2 cents in
during the final review melee lol :)


Documentation !!!

Please utilize & include more diagrams & examples in your
library documentation!!!!

Compare & contrast with existing implementations that are
State why they are lacking, what they are lacking, with
what the proposed library
implementation presents to fill the missing pieces, how it
is better in some respects
to anything it "replaces", and why it replaces some typical

library code currently in widespread use or fills a gaping


moreIO & IOstreams

Daryls rationales and motivations are completely lacking in
depth and sharpness.
The summarys are so general and non-delineated that they
are no help to me in
discerning the clarity of what he proposes as benefits and
properties of his library.
an example ::
this snippet is from the wrapping streams rationale
"The Standard stream base class templates are designed to
stream buffers with an independent lifetime, and include
for switching what stream buffer is used."

Yes, but are you just reiterating something everyone
already knew, do you feel that is a bad thing
or a good thing? There are no "supporting" remarks no
remarks of impact laden with
design criteria or shortcomings.

Not coming from a circle where I/O is the most
important aspect of my development I am not an "expert" on
streams. So reading the documentation
which purports to support and sing the praises of this
libary was completely useless to me.
I had better luck just looking at the code.

When i think rationale and motivation i think objectivity
must be forefront.
Even a simple outline or summary of design criteria clearly
delineated and put forth
makes it easier to read an overall document of this nature.
Project managers and others working on a project need to
see clarity of thought,
clear cut guidelines, inputs, outputs, and the design that
goes in the middle.

I am sure as most have laid out the design of their
libraries they have ad-hoc flowcharts,
points pro & against certain features. You may wish to
bring some of those out and flesh them
into the documentation so that others can understand the
motivations behind your design.
It would surely make life easier for anyone reviewing the
code to speak to the issues addressed
and/or generated by the code. It would elevate the
efficiency of the process.

Now that isnt to say some fluff isnt nice *grin*

yes. something missing that is necessary. would prefer
though to see it constructed using the concept of sinks &
sources from the
turkanis IO library up for review.

I would vote no on this until it is cleaned up and a better
presented to me.

maybe. you would have to convince me this buys something
in an efficiency concern over the way the standard streams
presently operate.
perhaps give me 2 examples a non-I/O expert such as myself
could "grasp" concretely.

no. the concept would be better implemented again using
turkanis IO lib up for review.

no. this specialized stream doesnt seem
all that beneficial to stuff it in to a library. if the
appl programmer wishes to he can easily
fabricate his own. [u have a value_stream for just a char,
what about for just a user_type, for just a "string" etc
why not a "pair_stream" that would return a pair of values
etc ad nauseum]

 now that isnt to say such a stream cannot be useful on
rare occasion but again it would be fairly
easy to implement using an appropiate set of
"sources/sinks" that could be implemented in turkanis IO

Now having said that it may seem like i'm being a pita and
trying to tear your hard work into pieces,
but i think you have some good "ideas" but perhaps the
implementation should come off differently.
I think if you perhaps had looked into the other IO lib
that jason was developing at the time you 2
coudl have had a meeting of the minds and come up with some
great ideas and both done some things differently.
This library is a software community and with scales ever
growing great ideas shouldnt necessarily be pondered on
by lone rocket scientists squirreled away with their code
and not picking their heads up to look around and talk
(though we all do accept input i'm sure, and even act upon
some of it, it seems more often than not we do not
as much as we should in the "early stages" and leave it all
for the end-game)

Perhaps you 2 should get together and collaborate. [now
there's a concept]
Now my rationale : We all agree a layered/tiered approach
to complex software is the best way to go.
It allows more degrees of freedom, greater re-user, greater
specialization as well, and greater replacement of parts.
It does push or mutate the complexity more from a
particular piece of complex code into the complexity of
"simpler components" with more complex entanglement, more
complex communication and cooperation at times.

This is why i would much prefer with some efficiency
clean-ups & improvements that the turkanis library
be used as a basis(implementation-wise) for any of the
moreIO features accepted.
I like the small raw nature & flexibility of the simpler
"building pieces" at the bottom of this IO pyramid
I can then compose my complex streams on these "sinks &

As to the turkanis library, I have not had as much time to
examine it.
I am not sure the merit of Carlo Woods remarks but from a
1st perusing I think i agree with him.
I also partly agree with Daryl about some efficiency
concerns and bloat concerns but i think with
everyones assistance those can be hammered out or down in

 2 cents on names for manipulators & readability

   These comments are due to the disagreement some seem to
have over
things like newl versus newlines and proliferation of
and whether some should be placed in the library and others
left to appl
developers to produce on their own.

 A) Do not have both a singular and plural version instead
just opt for the
plural version - the singular use could be the default and
is typically understood as much by
viewing code as well.
that is to say dont have a skipline & skiplines instead
just opt for skiplines
skiplines(x) would skip x lines [thus for one line x==1]

B) The use of underscores to break up and make names more
readable for classes, vars & funcs
is a good thing.
Someone tried to bring up the point that the standard
streams library was such n such a way
well that doesnt just mean it was the best way in terms of
its naming schema

C) I prefer slightly longer more meaningful names getting
away from obfuscation
so when it comes to newl or nl i'd really prefer newline.
i think most of us can type sufficiently
fast and we are thinking "newline" in our heads we can type
it with barely any speed difference
nor loss in efficiency but it makes for a lot better
readability than "nl" (my cognitive web sees
"nl" as netherlands these days lol)
now that isnt to say this should be taken to the maximum in
the opposite direction!!
macros/functions like "min" & "max" are plenty

Ok, so that was more like 3 cents on this topic :)


This library seems & acts more like a "simulator" than an
"efficient finite state machine".
There is a very high level functionality tied into
(possibly) a bare-bones base... not properly tiered or
layered approach.
Functionality is wrapped into one library rather than
separated into add-on libraries with
additional functionality.

It doesn't seem to scale well even according to the
(most fsms a computer scientist would deal with encompass
100s to 1000s of states with
as many different transitions possible)

I would strongly urge something more efficient and bare
bones along the lines of
take on the mantle of an "fsm" library in boost upon which
coarse-grained objects can be simulated from

would prefer this 'currently proposed' fsm to take on its
true stance perhaps attaching the nomenclature
of "hlfsm" --> "high level fsm". Due to its greater
abstractions, fluffy aggregations and bulk in nature
it isnt "efficient".
If a library isnt efficient for its purpose or intended
then it will be under-utilized. I could never use this one
as it is evolving away from an efficient
fsm into more of a large coarse simulator. [now if i had
need of that it would be great]
This library seems more intended for simulation at a higher
level than at a more simplistic state/event transition
Yes i am biased coming from an algorithms and mathematical
background; I am
more of a computer scientist who practices softare
engineering than most application programmers
who just want a product out the door and efficiency goes
out the window.

Can we adjust this library conceptually into a cleaner
bare-bones fsm at one layer
and then interject the higher level simulation aspects
along with the ability to
automatically produce code etc.
[Canned automatically generated code is usually not so hot.

In fact it rather bites. Any decent programmer can still
out-optimize todays compilers based on
intimate knowledge of their code & algorithms even on
todays complex processors.
Given that compilers have thousands of man-years of code &
know-how how does one expect this fsm library
to generate decent code or is it intended for someone who
cannot program?]


On the subject of


How about


I must be a freak because "selfish_ptr" grows on me it
says "mine mine all mine i can move through proustian
circles but it is still
my object"

moveptr is something i've seen in untold reams of
computational code along with
leftptr, rightptr, and currptr & variants thereof; so i'm
really hoping someone
comes up with better nomenclature to settle on :)


Lastly an area where I dont want to get into because no one
manages software well lol

The topic of boost - releases, the GABB (gawd almighty
boost book), documentation & structure

1) is it possible to go with both a long-term more flexible
scheme for release-dates along
with a more rigid short-term window as we slide forward
into the future?

Note the famous M$ vaporware long-term software & release
info is not the approach i'm talking about lmao
more like "tentative" long range plans [the reiser
boys(release 4 is out now) have done a good job with their
long term feature
& release targets]
but sticking to your guns short term with branches rather
than how it has been this "special circumstance" time

I think most are of the opinion from the app & devel point
of view that more "dot" releases are better rather than
(of course within reason!)
Presently it seems haphazard with cvs patch check-ins and
outs and then fudging jam files, regression test failures
and ...
seems like by waiting so long between "dot" releases is NOT
buying you any more efficiency or salvation
from bug issues any more than having more frequent releases
would but some of the libs within would be able to rev and
get feedback
The compilation (syntax) issues are one thing but seems
like some of the libs would benefit from hitting the
streets when the
developers have stomped most of their bugs. It becomes time
the hapless consumer of the lib can play their guinea pig
role and
dive into their playground with much zeal.
So i dont see any "good solid" argument as to why releases
are so far apart rather than a bit more "reasonably timely"
[ok well integration testing when a MAJOR lib-wide
wholescale change occurs is one reason why a particular
release would take forever :)]

NOW if it was an end-user , we all know how psychologically
important keeping the release #s down and only coming out
a major rev every few millenia(hic sarcasm hic) is great
for business [hmm IE 6 hmmm how many years b4 IE 7? lolol]
We devels are made of more sterner stuff though :)

2) Is the flippin book going to be available as ps or pdf
since I dont feel the need to kill more trees just to have
book about programming yada yada yada collecting dust on my
most programming books are so light on substance and full
of wasted verbiage they could do without it isnt funny.
[my fave c++ book was the annotated reference can ya tell?
If not, would at least the chapter summaries along with
toc, glossary, and appendices be available for d/l?
I much prefer cutting to the chase to get to information

3) Can someone get the documentation into a more consistent
format along with the information at
/boost-consulting site?

as someone else pointed out the review information at was shall we say "slightly dated"

4) Structure ... oh forget it i've rambled enough on this
random walk


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