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Subject: Re: [boost] Boost Incubator Status Report
From: Robert Ramey (ramey_at_[hidden])
Date: 2014-11-06 12:39:10

Niall Douglas wrote
> I also think that Wordpress
> is very good at what it does, but anything involving review of other
> people's work it is truly terrible at. It's just not designed for it, ...

I looked a large number of systems and spend significant time in
evaluating at least five. My method was:

- read the explanation - If it wasn't documented - done, if the
wasn't understandable - done
- try installing - if it wasn't easy to install - done
- try using the system, examples, whatever to make a prototype
boost incubator. I probably was willing to spend a couple of hours

I tried making prototypes of the incubator using no less than five
other systems. These systems varied all over the place. Some
simple, some elaborate, some widely supported with add-ons
others not, some well documented, others not. etc. etc..

When wordpress looked like it could be made to do the job - I
got on with the job. I have a love/hate relationship with
wordpress - but I have that relationship with everything.

when the incubator first came out - I got all sorts of suggestions
that it would have been better to use system X, Y, ... . Of course
no one actually volunteered to implement the incubator in them.
So I just pushed on. That's my method - push on.

All that said, my experiences there and my failed Web 2.0 startup in
2011 probably make me unusually familiar with web technologies for a
C++ engineer. And I baulk at the complexity of what you are intending
to do alone

LOL - I'm happy to let someone contribute! But so far that hasn't

and without substantial financial support.

financial support is overrated. This is a holy quest. We need
zealots - not mercenaries. I don't know what I would spend
money on. I originally made the incubator with the idea that
someday boost might want to take it over and make it part
of I still would like to see that - but I don't see how
that would actually help/change anything.

You really
need at least three full time engineers on the Incubator if you
expect to deliver something usable within six months (don't forget
the unit testing! Well designed web services have enormous automated
test suites which probe the website in real time for anything going
wrong, and they run 24/7. Setting those up properly makes writing
comprehensive C++ testing look like a doddle). Good web engineers are
perhaps even more rare than good C++ engineers, plus there is 10x
more web engineers who think themselves god's gift when they are
mediocre at best (more noise to signal). And good web engineers are
expensive, Google pays its about 10% more than programmers for good
reason, not least the shortage of talent.

This is very interesting to me and explains a lot regarding the problems
of modern computer applications - think obamacare website.
I don't doubt that one has to pay developers of web applications
more than C++ programmers. Tax lawyers make more money too.
The problem is that we've created a system which is a giant complex
hack that no one with any respect for logical elegance would waste
his time on without getting paid a lot.

> > 2. The hiring of Wordpress consultancy to advise you where you have
> > been having some struggle.

maybe - I'd appreciate any real help. If someone want's to hire
a web consultancy to do some of the work great. If they do please
let me know as I would like to hire on as a consultant to the
consultants to consult on the requirements and functionality of the system.

Funny you say that actually. Wordpress, compared to the other CMSs,
is very distinctly an anti-pattern - it intentionally chooses a
simple, inflexible design in exchange for reliability, predictability
and security, and it's the only PHP based CMS I know of to have
achieved reasonably good security. In that success the anti-pattern
was a wise choice, but boy is Wordpress inflexible as a result.

You're way too generous - they all suck. If it were up to me I
would do it all in C++. But the need to leverage pre-existing
functionality trumped everything else. My experiments convinced
me that wordpress was/is the best of a bad lot.

But you also get that horrible feeling
of utter ignorance that anyone starting into C++ gets - Plone/Zope is
full of ingenious design patterns, ones which make C++ look fusty and
backward, but due to its maturity there are many islands of such
design patterns none of which entirely fit together well to the
inexperienced. In other words, just like C++, Boost and the STL.

LOL - I never heard of this so I never looked at it. Sounds like
I dodged a bullet.

> c) Actually the incubator has most of the functionality it needs already.
On that we disagree. I don't find the Incubator usable, particularly
the commenting feature. I don't think the threaded commenting
approach works for code review.

That's what we use on the developer list for formal reviews. In my 12
years being involved in boost - no one has ever suggested that the
formal review processes needs this sort of functionality. The incubator
formal review is pretty much identical to the current one - just a little
more form oriented. That's what I was aiming for.

A line or file or issue based
commenting approach is much better, but even then a decent summary
review would be paramount.

Now if you believe that boost should change it's formal review process
in some way - that's fine - but the incubator doesn't aim to to that.

Some voting and scoring system is needed too.

Boost acceptance is not based on voting.
The library incubator has installed a system for voting/rating etc.
(not that it's needed much as there is only one review so far)

As you know, I stand pretty much opposite to you on your vision of
the future for Boost,

We don't disagree on everything. We both agree that Boost has to evolve.

I look at the most successful
open source orgs and what they do and we do not, and I think we
should copy them.

I'm not sure which open source orgs are more successful than boost.
The ones that occur to me like gcc, mysql, etc. Are built around
"products" so I'm not convinced they are good models for us.
Boost has been VERY successful.

That, as you correctly observed, means Boost turns
into a funding acquisition and dispensing machine which
actively promotes its vision of the future of C++ by obtaining
funding and
dispensing funding on the items it thinks will return the most
benefits to its
future. Very different to before of course, it's more of an open
business than anything involving coding and the skills demanded are
managerial and business ones, not engineering. But that's the
marketplace right now, we either have to step up to compete or wither
in the face of competition.

We're 180 degrees apart on this.

I think Boost has to aim to do less, outsource everything it can, become
and more "agile". It has to look less like a "product" where development is
the responsibility of
some sort of concensus procedure and more like a "marketplace" where
the central authority confines itself the to the "rules of the game" and
lets the chips fall where they may.

And the incubator is a manifestation of this. It's not the result of a
and/or compromise in some sort of committee. It's one man's (hopefully)
logically coherent vision of
a feature to be added to boost - which Boost can choose to embrace or

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