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Subject: Re: [boost] [network] cpp-netlib 0.7 ready to be released
From: Dean Michael Berris (mikhailberis_at_[hidden])
Date: 2010-10-15 16:02:38

On Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 10:32 PM, David Abrahams <dave_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> At Thu, 14 Oct 2010 23:15:57 +0800,
> Dean Michael Berris wrote:
>> Hi Guys,
>> I just wanted to give everyone interested a heads up on the progress
>> being made on the cpp-netlib project (which I'm working on full-time
>> at the moment).
> Awesome!  Is someone funding that?

Thanks! :)

Nobody is funding this effort now, I'm in between jobs as I type. :D

>>  * The documentation has been moved from Quickbook to ReStructuredText
>> and generated with Sphinx (and they look really nice if I may say so
>> myself:
> They do!  Having not had very much experience with Quickbook, I would
> be very curious as to what prompted the switch.

Well, not to knock too much on Quickbook, but here are some reasons:

1. Lack of syntax highlighting support on major editors. I use ViM
almost exclusively to edit the C++ and the documentation, and it's
really hard to work on Quickbook docs without the visual cues for
instant gratification. Of course it's just a matter of writing the
syntax files, but...

2. Because of the syntax, it's really hard to write the syntax
descriptions. I think a real EBNF grammar would work, but regex and
the syntax files don't do so well. I've tried and gave up multiple
times in this regard, having contributed syntax highlighting for Kate
a loooong time ago. I think it's as much a problem with ViM as it is
with the (nice, but unique) syntax of quickbook documents.

3. The toolchain is really pretty obscure. If you want to get anywhere
near changing the layout you're going to have to learn XSLT which is
so far removed from HTML that it's discouraging. Then there's FOP for
the PDF, there's BoostBook which are the extension to DocBook, and ...
well, compared to RST which is very well supported by just the
docutils package in Python, there's just much less intellectual and
toolchain baggage to deal with.

4. RST looks good stand-alone. Quickbook is a lot like a markup
language, and the documentation tends to look like a program of sorts.
Sure there's automatic indentation, automatic paragraphs, blurb
support, the works... but when you read an RST document, you don't
need it rendered to get the visual cues as to what the structure of
the document is like.

So I guess I did knock on Quickbook quite a bit. :D

> I also think you should know that there's a
> slightly-crude-but-very-effective literate programming system for ReST
> in Boost, under boost/tools/litre/.  You can see it in use for the
> Boost.Parameter library.  We also used that to check all the code in
> the C++TMP book.

Ooooooh, nice! I'll definitely check this out, thanks for the pointer Dave!

>> This impending 0.7 release also uses more template metaprogramming
>> tools from Boost.MPL to implement the tag dispatch mechanism to modify
>> behaviors of the classes based on these tags.
> Does that show up in the library's interface?

Not one bit. :)

The tag dispatch mechanism is an internal mechanism used by the
library, similar to how Fusion uses tag dispatch for customization and
extension. In cpp-netlib though, this is everywhere except in the user

Without looking at the internals of cpp-netlib, users shouldn't care
whether it uses Boost.MPL. It actually didn't for a while until 0.7,
which is going to come out real soon now. :)

>> The development of cpp-netlib targets an end-of-year submission to the
>> Boost Library, and hopefully those interested in the project can go
>> ahead and try it out now so that I and the other developers can work
>> on feature requests before that time -- and so that early evaluations
>> can guide the direction of the development before December.
>> Thanks everyone and I look forward to hearing from you!
>> Note: You can find the documentation for cpp-netlib (which I presented
>> at BoostCon 2010) at
> Having something like this in Boost is long overdue, so I'm really
> looking forward to the results!

Cool, thanks Dave. I'll keep everyone updated as I make progress. :)

Dean Michael Berris

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