Boost logo

Boost :

From: Phil Endecott (spam_from_boost_dev_at_[hidden])
Date: 2008-01-15 17:08:30

Barend Gehrels wrote:
> Is there any interest in a template geometry library?

There certainly is. My particular interest is in efficient containers
for points (and perhaps lines) with iterators over 2D ranges; have you
done anything like that?

Some random thoughts:

Of course you're aware of the GTL proposal from a group at Intel last
year. Here is my recollection of a couple of aspects of that discussion:

- It turned out that their implementation uses a cast from a base class
to a derived class, which works because the derived class has the same
layout as the base class in all known compilers. This is a pragmatic
choice, but it's not the sort of thing that's going to be popular with
Boost people as the list discussions revealed. Unfortunately, because
their library is complete and in use, they're too far down the road to
change something as fundamental as that. When I read "We at Geodan are
developing our library since 1995", I was immediately worried that your
library would also turn out to have some unpopular feature at its core,
now impossible to change. So letting us see the code ASAP is
definitely a good idea.

- A feature of GTL is that it can accommodate arbitrary point types by
means of suitable adapters. I had mixed feelings about this. On one
hand, this makes it possible to apply their algorithms to legacy data
structures. On the other hand, I think that it would add an extra
layer of complexity for new users who have no legacy to worry about
(and library learning-curve steepness is something that I give a lot of
weight to). Compare this to the standard library: using maps I often
find myself writing "first" and "second" when I'd prefer to be writing
"key" and "value" or "customer_number" and "address". If std::map
could be adapted to work with arbitrary structs, rather than std::pair,
that would be a good thing. So maybe we do need this extra layer.
Except that it might make coding the libraries more complex, and my
space-filling-curve point-set was at the limits of my C++ ability
already! Indecision.

Considering GTL, this library, GIL, and even CGAL, how much commonality
is there? Are there shared concepts between all of these libraries?
Can we extract some common concepts or patterns from the different libraries?

Perhaps something that's also worth asking is whether Boost is the
right place for such a library. Getting releases out has not been a
smooth process over the last couple of years, and I can't imagine that
adding more libraries makes it any easier. Maybe Boost ought to focus
more on things that are close to the standard library, and let other
code find a home elsewhere.

Regards, Phil.

Boost list run by bdawes at, gregod at, cpdaniel at, john at