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Subject: Re: [boost] CMake Announcement from Boost Steering Committee
From: Tom Westerhout (kot.tom97_at_[hidden])
Date: 2017-07-18 22:52:25

On Jul 19, 2017 12:00 AM, "Robert Ramey via Boost" <boost_at_[hidden]>
> On 7/18/17 2:18 PM, Ion Gaztañaga via Boost wrote:
>> On 18/07/2017 20:08, Louis Dionne via Boost wrote:
>>> (2) Prospective Boost developpers are sometimes driven away from
>>> submitting because they would have to use Boost's build system, which
>>> they don't know.
>> I don't think a C++ programmer with a programming level to write a
>> Boost library would have any problem to write a Jamfile copy-pasting
>> from any library.
> LOL - as such a programmer I can tell you you're wrong! I don't think
> you can make a working Jamfile by cutting and pasting. I have to go
> back to the bjam documentation and then almost always post a question on
> the list. Bjam may have it's advantages - but simplicity, transparency
> and ease of use are not among them.

I'm just a GSoC student, so I don't really fit the "Boost library
developer" profile... Anyway, I had to use either CMake or Boost.Build to
build and run some tests, and because I had no experience with either, and
Boost.Build seemed more boost'y, I went for it. So I've just had an
experience learning to write Jamfiles, and I'd argue that it's not that
difficult, for a _basic_ case. I.e. as long as you don't need to your own
target types and generators, you're fine.

It all goes wrong when you need more "advanced" stuff. I think it's cost
me approximately 30 hours in total of browsing through docs and source
code before I've begun to understand how things work. I still don't
understand the pro topics though.

It seems to me like there's just not enough documentation/examples. And I
understand that it's terribly boring for advanced users to write the docs
because this stuff is obvious for them, and impossible for newcomers
because they don't understand it themselves. But, I guess, it's a quite
common situation. And, as usually, the efforts should be combined, i.e.
someone tries to learn Boost.Build, writes down all his questions while
gurus help him find and write down the answers. And we obtain nice docs in
the end. I'd even be willing to volunteer for the padawan's position
(after GSoC though).

The point I'm trying to make here is that some non-radical changes might
be enough to solve the problems Louis has outlined (second one at the very
least, and as some people have indicated CMake might not help with the
first one either). And trying them out will probably take much less time
than the transition to CMake, so why not try the fast & easy path first?


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