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Subject: [boost] Dark Commentary on Programming (was: Re: Boost Incubator Status Report)
From: Niall Douglas (s_sourceforge_at_[hidden])
Date: 2014-11-11 09:40:36

On 11 Nov 2014 at 5:33, Rob Stewart wrote:

> On November 10, 2014 3:09:48 PM EST, Niall Douglas <s_sourceforge_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> [snip dark commentary on programming]
> I'm glad I've not had much experience in the programming world you
> describe our have been too dense to recognize it.

Ivan Illich and Herbert Marcuse described the same thing a long time
ago, and their predictions of how now would turn out were pretty much
spot on, right down to Illich predicting the common uses today of the
modern internet. Most people just don't see it, but then most
programmers are not reading Illich or Bourdieu or watching
documentaries by Adam Curtis. A consequence of taking a degree in
Management I guess.

> For me, finding a library that solves my problems is valuable.
> Documentation is a big part of that. Usability and packaging are
> important, but I can deal with issues in those areas when the value is
> high enough.

I've noticed us old timers don't immediately jump into coding
prototypes to test ideas as much as younger engineers which I assume
is a Silicon Valley thing. They literally try to hack together
something which might work using whatever libraries pop out from the
first page of google results. This works well with webby and
interpreted languages as you don't really need a build system. I'm
betting, as my C++ Now 2014 paper explained, that the future of C++
tooling is as-if all header include compilation, and with that
needing build systems mostly goes away as the Modules database of
precompiled ASTs making up the link layer is basically the build
system. In other words, C++ Modules may make build systems merely
compatibility shims.

Obviously this is a 2020s forecast, and anything may happen between
now and then. It's still a good bet, given present trends.

And it would be neat to be able to prototype a whole C++ application
by visiting a web page with an online C++ compiler, ticking the Boost
libraries you want which assembles them internally into a single
precompiled header, and prototyping your solution right there and
then in the web browser.

> Documentation that caters to Joe Programmer should increase the odds
> that search engines find Boost libraries, and that such programmers
> pursue using them once found.

Sure. Though until C++ plays much nicer with other languages, I think
C will remain the systems language of choice.


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