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From: Michael Caisse (boost_at_[hidden])
Date: 2007-05-09 16:23:13

I've been following the threads about building with boost and user
experiences very carefully for the past couple months at least. Correct
me if I am wrong... but the situation boils down to two items:

    o User Experience - first time users reaction out-of-the-tgz/zip
    o Library Author Experience - The ability for Boost library
       developers/testers to do what they need

User Experience -
I have read many people respond with the whole autoconfig familiarity
for *nix developers. I would agree 100% 10 years ago, but today I think we
are all trained to open the tar-ball and look for the INSTALL file to see
what needs to be typed. To that end... I don't really care what I have to
type, as long as it is installed on my machine. bjam was not installed on
my machine, but I found a binary easily enough and was happy. The end
result as a user... I had a "library" that I could include/link against
using whatever build tool I was using. I also develop for win32 and several
other targets and unlike *nix, there is no singular *norm* such as
'configure' or 'make install'. As such, I'm always having to look for the
README file (or whatever the group decided to call it). As a win32 developer
I was nearly ecstatic to find that I didn't have to load a VC project nor did
I have to try getting the nmake file to work on my machine. I typed the
bjam command as given in the documentation and it just worked... I was
surprisingly shocked.

All this to say... I don't care as a user how it builds as long as it is
easy to do.

Library Author Experience -
All I can comment here is that I don't see a lot of complaints that bjam
and Boost.Build don't do what people need. I see complaints that people
have to learn another build tool or that the current tool is under-documented.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but my own experience for both library and
application development (including writing custom generators) has been that
the Boost.Build system is more than capable. I am sure this didn't come overnight
and that there has been enormous thought and iteration to create such a system.
So now that there is one... what is the effort to maintain it?

As far as CMake... I suspect the above two considerations
ultimately need to be measured. I clearly have no vote in this matter; however,
it appears such a great effort has gone into creating a tool that works for
the needs of the Boost community. I would hate to see great effort in switching
if the source of the complaints are from a user group that would also have
trouble getting Apache's Xerces-C going.

Best Regards -

Michael Caisse
Object Modeling Designs

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