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Subject: Re: [boost] Proposal: Add Loki Library's SafeFormat to Boost:
From: Edd Dawson (lists_at_[hidden])
Date: 2009-01-04 20:57:58

Joel de Guzman wrote:
> Robert Ramey wrote:
>> Hartmut Kaiser wrote:

>> I wish you guys could appreciate how all this name changing makes
>> things much more difficult for us poor library users.
>> The fact that names are in no way descriptive is another huge time
>> waster.
> Just curious. How much time did you waste before you realize
> that Boost.Spirit was a parser? Can you explain why it is a
> "huge time waster"? IMO, it takes a second to know, while
> browsing, that Spirit is a parser.

I'll just chip in my 2 cents.

If I may be so bold, I think a lot of the discussion about "descriptive names"
is looking at things in a somewhat backwards fashion. It's rare that I see a
library name and then look up what it does (I'd have to be pretty bored). What
is more commonly the case for me as boost user is that I need to find a library
to perform a specific task.

After using boost for a number of years, I know what most libraries are for. But
when I first started using it, I often had thoughts along the following lines:

"Hmm, I'm about to do some parsing here"
"Boost *must* have some libraries for this kind of thing"
[Points browser at]
[Skim-reads list of libraries]
"Format might be useful too..."
"Regex, perhaps?"
"Tokenizer might be handy..."
"That's about it."

It is from this point that I'll read more about the libraries that I've
identified as being relevant (from their names).

I admit the example is somewhat contrived and I'm only picking on Spirit because
it is already part of this discussion, but it isn't in my list because I
wouldn't have guessed from its name that it does parsing. So I solider on,
writing some kind of ad-hoc parser out of these libraries. Now there's *a lot*
of (hypothetical) time wasted there.

With all that said, I personally have absolutely nothing against "cute" library
names. But I am in full agreement with those that have already have highlighted
the removal/hiding of a categorization page as a bad thing. If I can search for
libraries by the task they perform, I couldn't care less what they're called.

In summary:

1. descriptive names can help
2. but they wouldn't matter if I could find libraries based on task.
3. I like Spirit :)

FWIW, I would prefer a tag cloud/list over flat or even hierarchical
categorization of libraries e.g.

Kind regards,


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