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From: David Abrahams (dave_at_[hidden])
Date: 2006-02-01 09:31:22

"Gennadiy Rozental" <gennadiy.rozental_at_[hidden]> writes:

>> > > and on
>>>> Windows it tends to stand in the way of debugging by "handling"
>>>> crashes as exceptions rather than invoking JIT or the debugger.
>>> And as we discussed this is just a default that could be easily changed
>>> for
>>> manual testing (for example by defining environment variable if you tired
>>> to
>>> pass cla every time).
>> It's just another thing to remember and manage.
> No need to remember anything or mange. Just setup environment
> variable once.

Unless you don't like having your environment cluttered with settings
whose purpose you can't recall. I'm *still* trying to figure out how
to set up environment variables consistently across all the shells on
my *nix systems. Call me incompetent if you like but to get that
worked out requires some investment.

>> And then I have to manage linking with the right library
> Again you either set it up once in your project file

Yes, a small thing to manage, but a thing nonetheless.

> or even better rely on autolinking

Autolinking is nonportable, and you have to set up _some_ kind of path
so that the libraries can be found by the linker.

>> and read the Boost.Test documentation to figure out which calls and macros
>> to use, etc
> I am sorry: you do need to read documentation to use a library. Though I
> believe 2-3 most frequently used tools you would learn quite quickly.

Yes, a small thing to manage, but a thing nonetheless.

>> Oh, and I also have to wait for Boost.Test to build
> Why? You could build library once and reuse it or you could use inlined
> components.

It has to build once for each toolset, and then again each time the
test library changes. Yes, a small inconvenience, but an
inconvenience nonetheless.

>> before I can run my own tests,
> Even if you are using inlined version you still need to wait for it
> to be parsed and compiled. And this is true for Boost.Test as well
> as for any other tool.

Yep. BOOST_ASSERT is small and easily included.

>> and if Boost.Test breaks I am stuck.
> And if Boost.<any other component you depend on> breaks you are not?

I can usually fix those, or workaround the problem. With Boost.Test
my workaround for any problem is to fall back on BOOST_ASSERT and
wonder why I bother.

> Actually Boost.Test is quite stable for a while now.
>> So there are lots of little pitfalls for me.
> It feels like some negative predisposition speaks here.

It's not a predisposition; it's borne of experience. Every time I try
to use the library, thinking it's probably the right thing to do, and
wanting to like it, I find myself wondering what I've gained for my
investment. Until you can hear that and respond accordingly --
instead of dismissing it as the result of predisposition -- Boost.Test
is going to continue to be a losing proposition for me.

>> I'm sure Boost.Test is great for some purposes, but why should I use
>> it when BOOST_ASSERT does everything I need (**)?
> It's just mean that you have very limited testing needs from both
> construction and organization standpoints.

Maybe so; I never claimed otherwise.

> And even in such trivial cases
> Boost.Test would fire better: BOOST_ASSERT stops at first failure
> (is it?) -

Yeah; that's fine for me. Either the test program fails or it passes.

> BOOST_CHECK don't; if expression throw an exception you need to start a
> debugger to figure out what is going on - using Boost.Test in majority of
> the cases it's clear from test output.

It's hard to imagine what test output could allow me to diagnose the
cause of an exception. Normally, the cause is contained in the
context (e.g. backtrace, etc.) and that information is lost during
exception unwinding.

> And I am not talking of much more convenient other tools available.
>> It seems like a lot of little hassles for no particular gain,
> I think it's subjective at best.

Of course it is subjective.

>> and I think that's true for
>> 99% of all Boost regression tests.
> And I think you are seriously mistaken.

That may be so. Maybe you should point me at some Boost regression
tests that benefit heavily from Boost.Test so I can get a feeling for
how it is used effectively.

>> I'd actually love to be convinced otherwise, but I've tried to use
>> it, and it hasn't ever been my experience that it gave me something
>> I couldn't get from lighter-weight facilities.
> Boost.Test was enhanced significantly in last two releases from
> usability standpoint. Would you care to take another look?

I have used it in the past 6 months. It didn't seem to buy me much.
Admittedly, my testing needs were not complicated, but that seems to
be the case much of the time.

>> It's really important that the barrier to entry for testing be very
>> low; you want to make sure there are no disincentives.
> With latest Boost.Test all that you need to start is:
> #include <boost/test/unit_test.hpp>
> {
> // here you go:
> }
> Is this a hi barrier?

It depends. Do I have to link with another library? If so, then add
the lines of the Jamfile (and Jamfile.v2) to what I need to start
with. What about allowing JIT debugging? Will this trap all my
failures or can I get it to launch a debugger?

Dave Abrahams
Boost Consulting

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