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From: Allen (yaozhen_at_[hidden])
Date: 2005-04-23 01:28:21

Dear All Boosters,

I am glad to read about Buildbot on the boost.devel group. It is
definitely important for improving the regession test of Boost.

However, A question comes into my mind then. As we all known, Boost is a
pre-standard versatile C++ library for C++ programmers. Obviously all
the Boost libraries are written in C++ themselves. However, for tools
used in Boost (such as the Boost.Jam, Boost.Build, Boost.Book, etc.),
the point is not clear, for they are not intended to be included or
invoked by C++ programs directly. I saw that Buildbot is written almost
completely in Python, for example.

I am confused that shall we consist of writing all the Boost tools in
C++? Or they can be written in any other languages such as shell
scripts, Perl, Python, or even Java, C# or whatever convenient?

I must declare that I am not a C++ purist or monomania.:) I have no
intent to depreciate any of the languages other than C++, nor depreciate
any of the valuable work done by Boosters. I just *wonder* what is the
distinction between Boost libraries and tools exactly, and whether there
is a rule we should follow for the development of Boost tools.

For example, we now use the Boost.Jam and Boost.Build for our "official"
build system. I believe that the goal of the Boost.Jam and Boost.Build
is to provide a convenient, best and "standard" way for building C++
programs. However, as a *tool* (which is different from a *library*),
one may not care about what language the Boost.Jam itself is written in.
Nevertheless, suppose we were using Java Ant for building later, will it
be acceptable? (of course, take Java Ant as an example here may be

The obvious two attitudes I can imagine are:

(1) Prohibit *extensive* use of other programming languages in Boost
tools, for example writing a complex tool in Python completely.
(Convenient and small scripts are acceptable.) For we are establishing
the Best Practice *in* C++ and *for* C++. In addition, the tools can be
extensible and reusable with an API for C++ programmers as *developers*
not just as *end-users*.

(2) Allow extensive use of any convenient and reasonable programming
languages in Boost tools. Maybe there should be a list for acceptable
languages other than C++, for example shell scripts, Perl, Python, Ruby,
etc. For they are just *tools*, not C++ *libraries*. They are just black
boxes to C++ programmers, and we do *not* provide the tools as an
extensible tool platform/framework with API for C++
developers/programmers for further extension or reuse.

I tend to support (1), it seems to me more attractive. Boost.Wave is a
good example in my opinion. It is both a practical *tool* related to C++
and an excellent extensible and reusable C++ *library*.

I know that we should do the correct thing using the appropriate tool.
There is no one language can rule them all.:) I am not crazy to imagine
rewriting everything using C++. However, I do believe that we should
concentrate on developing C++ libraries and *C++ tools* in our C++ Boost

As for Buildbot for example, maybe it is unwise to seek for a C++
replacement for it (for interpreted languages / scripts may be the
correct choice), however I worry about that it has nothing to do with
C++ or most Boost C++ programmers except that it is used by Boost
Regression Test.

Any comments are welcome, but NO flames or language-wars pls.:)

Best regards,


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