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Subject: [boost] [Config] Announce: New Build time configuration feature
From: John Maddock (jz.maddock_at_[hidden])
Date: 2014-06-05 14:01:32

In develop only is a new feature to make configuring targets at build
time easier, from the docs:


  There are times when you want to control whether a build target gets
built or not, based on what features the compiler supports. For example,
suppose you have a test file "test_constexpr_128.cpp" which requires
three key features in order to build:

* The constexpr keyword as detected by BOOST_NO_CXX11_CONSTEXPR.
* User defined literals, as detected by
* The __int128 data type, as detected by BOOST_HAS_INT128.

Clearly we know that if these features are not supported by the
compiler, then there's simply no point in even trying to build the test
program. The main advantages being:

* Faster compile times - build configuration uses lightweight tests
the results of which are also cached.
* Less noise in build output - there's no reason to be faced with
pages of template instantiation backtrace if we know the file can never
compile anyway.
* Less noise in the online test results - the test will show up as
blank, rather than as a fail in the online test matrix.
* A better experience for end users building all of Boost, if those
libraries which can not be built for the current target compiler are
simply skipped, rather than generating pages of error output.

Returning to our example, the test case is probably executed in it's
Jamfile via the "run" rule:

    run test_constexpr_128.cpp ;

We now need to make this target conditional on the necessary features.
We can do that by first importing the necessary rule at the start of the

    import path-to-config-lib/checks/config : requires ;

Assuming that the test case is in the usual directory:


then the import rule will actually be:

    import ../../config/checks/config : requires ;

Then add a "requires" rule invocation to the requirements section of the

  run test_constexpr_128.cpp
    : : : #requirements:
    [ requires cxx11_constexpr cxx11_user_defined_literals int128 ] ;

Notice that multiple arguments can be added to the requires rule, and
that these are always the same as the Boost.Config macro name, but in
lower case and with the boost_no_ or boost_has_ prefix removed.

When building the above example, you will see at the start of the build
process the results of the configuration, for example GCC in C++11 mode

- Boost.Config Feature Check: int128 : yes
- Boost.Config Feature Check: cxx11_constexpr : yes
- Boost.Config Feature Check: cxx11_user_defined_literals : yes

That's all there is to this handy feature, should at any time you be
unsure of the feature-test names you can pass to the "requires" rule,
then search for the Boost.Config macro of interest in
libs/config/checks/Jamfiles.v2, and the name of the feature check will
follow it.

And finally, this feature is built around the Boost.Build built in rule
check-target-builds which can be used to perform more generalized
build-time feature testing. The checks in this library are provided as a
convenient shorthand without the need for you to write the test cases


Let me know what you think, and enjoy :-)


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