Boost logo

Boost :

Subject: Re: [boost] [Boost Library Incubator] Unable to submit library
From: Robert Ramey (ramey_at_[hidden])
Date: 2014-07-21 11:09:46

Nat Goodspeed-2 wrote
> On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 7:02 AM, Paul A. Bristow
> <

> pbristow_at_.u-net

> > wrote:
> Speaking from the viewpoint of "a little knowledge" (in other words,
> beware!) I read through parts of the Boost.Build documentation a few
> weeks ago and was a bit ashamed of the unkind remarks I myself have
> made about it from time to time. It seems to me that it wouldn't be
> too unreasonable to post a few cookbook Jamfile.v2 files for a
> hypothetical simple Boost.Foo library, then for a somewhat less simple
> Boost.Bar library: code and tests and documentation. (Let's just
> stipulate that as your library's build requirements grow in
> complexity, you must eventually bite the bullet and learn Boost.Build
> yourself.)

I've been using Safe Numerics as a canonical example to illustrate
how I've envisioned that authors use this site. For this purpose
I've used CMake as described in the Simple Tools section of the
website. After years of dealing with Boost Build, I believe the
CMake solution is far superior on this context.

However, there is absolutely no reason that one can't include
JAM files in the site as well. This would permit those interested
in using Boost Build to test Safe Numerics to do so. But more
important it would provide a simple canonical example for
library authors who want to use Boost Build. If you or anyone
else want's to provide some such files (with lots of comments!)
I'll gladly include them along with updated text in the website
to refer to them.

> But a new library author, whose requirements are presumably
> still pretty straightforward, could copy, tweak, iterate and ask
> questions until s/he gets results.

Again, I wouldn't recommend this to new submitters - but if that
works for them - I'm all for it.

Now we enter the realm of fantasy. ... <snip>

The above speculation is intended to address the question: how could
we provide online test results and documentation for a candidate
library that uses Boost.Build, without having to commit generated
files to the repository? Consider it an existence proof: there does
seem to be at least one way.

My view is that boost testing doesn't scale.

When it was conceived there were far fewer libraries than there
are now. Testing takes longer than it used to. But we have faster
machines so things have managed to keep up. But, still, I feel reluctant
to add more tests (for example portable binary archives) for fear of
slowing down the system even more. How could we get to 500
libraries with the current system?

So my vision is entirely different. In my world, each user tests the
libraries he's going to use on his own machine and posts the results
to a common dashboard - one per library. The advantages are

a) it scales without limit
b) it doesn't require any boost infrastructure.
c) it automatically tests the platforms/os that users actually use
rather than having special boost testers select the platforms they
want to test with.
d) It doesn't waste time testing platforms/os combinations that no
one is actually using.
c) there is already free infrastructure available - CDash and several
CI websites.
d) It's ready to start using now and in fact. the incubator is already using

Were boost to evolve to use this approach, the only thing we would
need would be a website listing all the links to the dashboards.
(Hmmm - that's what the incubator is).

Robert Ramey

View this message in context:
Sent from the Boost - Dev mailing list archive at

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