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Subject: Re: [boost] What Should we do About Boost.Test?
From: Paul A. Bristow (pbristow_at_[hidden])
Date: 2012-09-27 07:43:33

> -----Original Message-----
> From: boost-bounces_at_[hidden] [mailto:boost-bounces_at_[hidden]] On Behalf Of Dave
> Abrahams
> Sent: Monday, September 17, 2012 3:41 PM
> To: boost; Gennadiy Rozental
> Subject: [boost] What Should we do About Boost.Test?
> I was just going through Boost.Test to try to figure out how to teach it, and while it looks to >
have substantial value, it is also in quite a mess.

I've always thought this and, in retrospect, I'm surprised it was accepted at review. I found the
design and documentation bewildering (and Gennady obviously found my bewilderment bewildering!). I
disliked the MACROphilia. But expectations were lower then, and we very badly needed a test system.

And Boost.Test has proved immensely useful - our joint investment in testing with it is so massive
that I think we are stuck with it for many years hence. I would go so far as to say that the
success of Boost is partly due to its testing system (including of course the battery of testers).

For many people, the documentation can be ignored in favour of copying someone else's examples, and
most often, IT JUST WORKS.

So the idea that we can just deprecate it is madness.

It seems significant to me that nobody has strongly claimed to have a better system.

I'd like some changes (output layout is annoying), but I accept that even minor modifications to any
testing system is almost certain to cause trouble (as I have found to my, and others, cost for an
apparently trivial change to Boost.Test output).

As also with bjam/b2, we need a better mechanism to flag up loudly that a change has been made that
may well cause trouble, and to fix it pronto.

I would prefer a Boost.Test2 that was much more lightweight and preferably header-only.

And I think that any replacement will fail to catch unless it has some automation of the upgrade
path. The prospect of changing all BOOST_CHECK_* macros appals me.

My 2p.


I'm willing to help with documentation (having 'mastered' the Quickbook toolchain for Boost.Math
etc) but I don't think that is really the main issue.

Paul A. Bristow,
Prizet Farmhouse, Kendal LA8 8AB  UK
+44 1539 561830  07714330204

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