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From: Janek Kozicki (janek_listy_at_[hidden])
Date: 2007-01-16 05:02:30

Matthias Schabel said: (by the date of Mon, 15 Jan 2007 21:42:39 -0700)

> As I mention in my previous post, I could easily add a quantity in
> the SI namespace that allows double precision by default and inverts
> the order of the template arguments. I am also not strongly opposed
> to flipping the order in quantity itself, so the value_type is the
> second argument:
> template<class Unit,class Y = double> class quantity;

You can look at Boost.Parameter

It allows to use both argument orders in a single template, I mean:

template<class Unit,class Y = double> class quantity;
template<class Y, class Unit> class quantity;

become the same template. But in fact, maybe following Ockham's razor you should just follow your suggestion and use

template<class Unit,class Y = double> class quantity;

because 'class Unit' *cannot* have a reasonable default. While class
Y=double *can* have a default.

I hope that you have read the reviews of Andy's Little quantity
library, and why it was rejected. Some of the reasones were
considered show-stoppers. I remember few of them, but better you will
read the reviews.

Here's what I remember:

1) support for powers of N (where N is different from 10) in
multipliers: usually people operate using kilo (10^3), mega (10^6).
But sometimes a unit is expressed in different system, like a power
of 2 (harddrive capacity, file size: )

2) try to decouple:
 A) dimension analysis (length,temperature,velocity)
 B) from dimension units (meter,inch,kelvin,fahrenheit,kph)
 C) from dimension multipliers (kilo, mega, kibi)

 A) people might want to use ONLY dimension analysis in their program
without any units at all. During compilation compiler witll check
ONLY if the dimensions of the variable match. For example one
variable is length another is a temperature, and the compiler will
catch an error when someone tries to add them.
  BUT the program will NOT perform any conversions (for example from
inch to meters) because the dimension units are not used.

 B) if someone decides to use them, he agrees that some additional
work is done by the program when converting (implicitly, or
explicitly) from inches to meters.

 C) only those multipliers that are declared either by the user, or
in an included file that contains some predeclared multipliers are
used by the program. Allow the user to chose between explicit and
implicit conversion, when he wants. You don't know if someone wants
to store 1km or 1000m in his variable.

3) Do not eforce SI on anyone:
   Make it easy to declare one's own unit system. This point it is
not about imperial and metric. It is about physics. For instance
parsecs and light-years do not belong to SI. But try to store 100
parsecs with 'double' precision using meters. (or yottameters 10^24
(?)). This is not practical, any calculations that operate on parsecs
must be done in parsecs, or we lose precision.

  Of course you can provide few #include <boost/unit/SI.hpp>,
#include <boost/unit/imperial.hpp>, #include <boost/unit/relativity.hpp>,
etc files. But you never know what kind of unit system will be useful
for somebody.

  It should be equally easy to declare that I will use a meter (1 line)
and a second (1 line, makes 2 lines total) in my program, instead
of including whole SI.hpp (1 line), which I don't need.

  For instance in calculations involving general relativity, the
speed is expressed dimensionless. (because it is always a fraction of

4) Make input/output as decoupled as possible. Basic cout << of the
unit is enough for beginning. Do NOT make it sophisticated in any
way, otherwise you will start writing another library.

5) leave door open for adapting your library into other math
libraries. For example, let's say that I have a 3D vector of meters:

vector<3,quantity<meter> > a,b;
vector<3,quantity<meter*meter> > c;


What is the return type of function dot_product ? Think about it, and
you will see what I mean. Where that function is defined? Well, boost
still has not a small vector library, but you should leave an open door
for making one.

Ok, I don't remember any more. Better you will have a look at that
reviews. I still have them in my inbox, so in fact I can forward them
to you.

Janek Kozicki                                                         |

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