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Subject: Re: [boost] usage of auto in tutorials
From: Andrzej Krzemienski (akrzemi1_at_[hidden])
Date: 2019-03-19 15:49:21

wt., 19 mar 2019 o 16:37 mike via Boost <boost_at_[hidden]> napisał(a):

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Boost <boost-bounces_at_[hidden]> On Behalf Of Stephan Menzel
> via Boost
> My personal rule of thumb for tutorial and demos is similar to how
> you handle abbreviations in written text:
> First time you e.g. use a function, you explicitly show what the
> function returns. Afterwards I use auto where it makes sense
> (And yes, I know there are conflicting opinions about
> "where it makes sense").
> With respect to the specific examples:
> - Trailing return types in function declarations:
> If the style guide doesn't say something different, I only use
> them for very long type names and when they are needed.
> None of this applies here, so I don't see the benefit,
> but also not any harm. I'd say it is personal/project preference.
> - The auto inside the if:
> The return type of the function is shown just two lines above.
> Again, personal opinion, but I'd claim it even increases
> readability, because it is less visual noise.
> \rant on
> > [...]
> >
> > But for some people this looks very unusual. For example, because they
> are
> > not aware of this new syntax or they have not applied it and still write
> > functions the old fashioned way.
> As I wrote, I rarely use trailing return types and I'm generally
> no advocate of using auto everywhere, but this "new" syntax has
> been valid c++ for more than half a decade now. If a professional
> c++ programmer is still unfamiliar with this, then maybe more
> exposure to it is actually a good thing and if boost doesn't spread
> the word who does?

There two sides to it. Yes, it is good to highlight new language features,
and how they can be used.
But it may conflict with the objectives of a tutorial, especially the
initial page: the potential user should get the picture how (s)he will be
using the library, as fast as possible. This may be the matter of seconds.
If we put off the potential user too much in this step, (s)he is likely to
drop our library and go to the competition or go to manually write a
similar (but lower quality) tool because determining whether our library
does what is needed took too long.

> Also, where does this end? Should tutorials stay away from
> rang based for loops? Smart pointers? Templates? Namespaces?
> C++ features all together?
> I know I'm exaggerating a bit, but I think it is a valid question.
> From the perspective of a c programmer, all those things are "new".
> However, outcome is a c++14 library so using c++14 features "where
> they are usefull" should not be avoided, but embraced.
> Again, I'm not suggestion auto should be used everywhere, because it really
> can decrease readability significantly, but imho example code (regardless
> of
> the context) should reflect current best practice and not based on
> guesswork
> about what language the users might be most familiar with.

I wonder what others in this group think? Maybe we could come up with some
guidelines for documentation writers.


> Don't be afraid of change.
> \ rant off
> Mike
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