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From: Andrey Melnikov (melnikov_at_[hidden])
Date: 2005-08-11 13:14:18

David Abrahams wrote:
> Andrey Melnikov <melnikov_at_[hidden]> writes:

> In the next week I have to prepare a
> presentation about building and testing Boost, and I'm going to need
> to review and understand all the documentation. Maybe we can work
> together to whip it into shape.


>>What is /usr/share/boost-build? Did this path came from the
>>environment variables? It looks just like the default BB search path
>>on Unix. If it's the default location, the message should be
> This is due to the unfortunate exposure of an impelementation detail
> to users.
> explains.

I didn't understand that message.

>>Also we could direct users directly to
> That's a good idea. Would you like CVS write privileges?

Yes. Do you need my SF username? My SF username is nimnul.

What is the right way to submit the changes? Do we have multiple
branches in CVS? I actually never used CVS, only Clearcase and Perforce.

>>The documentation is in three places again:
> This describes the low-level behavior of the bjam tool; we don't
> really want that exposed in the regular documentation.

Are we going to have 3 documentation levels:
- Brief Tutorial/Getting Started/FAQ documentation
- User reference
- Developer/extender reference.

> Also, I think we may be doing a few too many "smart" things at
> startup.

I don't understand you here.

> At least we can throw out the BOOST_ROOT business.

Do you mean to remove all references to Boost from BB documentation?

How we are going to separate BB in the future? Do we want it to remain
in main Boost distribution? I think it would be better to ship BB as a
separate package or at least not inside BOOST_ROOT.

> That's the right documentation for users of BBv2.
> IMO it's perfectly appropriate to have some repetition of this
> information here, in a tutorial about installing BB.

I agree.

>>Should be merged into bbv2
>>documentation tree some day?
> Probably not.

I meant into bbv2 developer/extender reference. Not into user reference.
Now it's outside of bb documentation tree.

> We want to move off of the jam substrate onto a rewrite
> based on Python as soon as BBv2 can replace BBv1.
> If any of the
> documentation at
> is still relevant after the Python translation is done, then by all
> means, let's move it.

I don't know anything about these translation plans. Are they
documented somewhere? Do we want to cancel Jam language and rewrite BB
in Python? Or we want Jam interpreter to be written in Python?

>>Some comments regarding doc/html/bbv2/reference.html#bbv2.reference.init
>> > bjam's first job upon startup is to load the Jam code that implements
>> > the build system. To do this, it searches for a file called
>> > boost-build.jam, first in the invocation directory, then in its
>>parent > and so forth up to the filesystem root, and finally in the
>>directories > specified by the environment variable BOOST_BUILD_PATH.
>>What is "invocation directory"? Is this the current directory,
> Yes, the current directory at the time bjam was invoked. I thought
> that would be clearer than "current" since some people might be
> confused by that term.

"The current directory at the time bjam was invoked" sounds better to
me. I think we can expect that all BB users know what "current
directory" is. I think any C++ developer knows it. It isn't a shell
term. I can program for Windows without knowledge about cmd.exe, but I
cannot if I don't know what is current directory. It's important during
interpertation of relative paths, and its very hard not to understand
how relative paths work and be a developer.

>> > When found, the file is interpreted, and should specify the build
>> > system location by calling the boost-build rule:
>> >
>> > rule boost-build ( location ? )
>>This is boost-build rule declaration syntax. Users don't need to declare
>>a new boost-build rule. They even don't need to know the declaration
>>syntax. They only need to know what to put into boost-build.jam. So we
>>should have just
>> boost-build /usr/share/boost-build/kernel
> Indeed.
> boost-build <replaceable>path/to/boost-build</replaceable> ;
> would be more appropriate, though. Many people don't end up with
> Boost.Build in that directory.

This isn't perfect either because <replaceable> looks like a feature. I
think we should highlight path/to/boost-build using italics or something
like this and provide an example besides general syntax.

I have no idea what is the best convention to specify syntax. I think we
should add such a convention to the documentation and use it everywhere
for consistency.

>>there. The last /kernel part isn't obvious.
> It isn't right either.
> boost-build /usr/share/boost-build ;
> would be correct for an installation of BBv2 in
> /usr/share/boost-build.
>>We should mention in the documentaion that the path isn't to bb
>>installation root, but to kernel directory where bootstrap.jam can
>>be found. Should BOOST_BUILD_PATH point to /kernel too?
> Nope and nope. I understand why you were misled by the
> boost-build.jam in the top BBv2 directory.

Do you mean that despite /usr/share/boost-build/kernel works, it's
conceptually incorrect and shouldn't be used by users?

>>Also, what is the reason to have so many boost-build.jam files? I think
>>we can live just with the file located at root.
> Which ones are you talking about? The one in the root of BBv2 is used
> to forward its work on to the one in kernel/

Take a look at all these boost-build.jam found in Boost CVS:


1) Are all these files really required?
2) Does all these files point to the right place?

Not only boost-build in the top directory is misleading. For example,
why boost\tools\build\v2\example\boost-build.jam points to ../kernel,
and not to ..?

Also, why do we have build-system.jam bootstrap.jam boost-build.jam in
the top directory? Can we put them into kernel/ folder, so the top
folder isn't cluttered with files useless for an end user?

Should we move other such useless files to a new subfolder?

Should we separate
- bb core (kernel, build, toolsets, options, util)
- documentation/examples
- internal bb developer stuff (debian new notes python test)
- user-modified settings and user extensions?

>> > In this case, running bjam anywhere in the project tree will
>> > automatically find the build system.
>>This sentense is misleading. It sounds like boost-build.jam was
>>designed for per-project configuration, and user will have to have
>>boost-build.jam in all her projects.
> That's one acceptable way to do it.

Yes, it's acceptable. But it's not the recommended way. It's useful only
in complex scenarios. In simple cases so many files introduce
complexity, and complexity scare potential users. The documentation
should show that BB is simpler than other tools. That it scales up and
down very well according to real user needs and users won't need to
create 100 files just to compile "hello world".

>> > Locations where those files a search are summarized below:
>> >
>> > Table 26.1. Search paths for configuration files
>>The shell is rarely used on Windows. %% syntax is uncommon to most of
>>the users. Recommended way to set per-user or per-site environment
>>variables is through GUI. Most users know only basic shell syntax and
>>won't be able to guess that %HOMEDRIVE%%HOMEPATH% is a string
>>concatenation and really their profile directory is meant.
> That may be true, but 26.1 isn't the tutorial anymore. Most people
> shouldn't be reading this section of the documentation unless they
> need to understand the low-level details of the build system. We want
> the information to be complete and precise enough for people who want
> to understand exactly which directory is being referred to. Can you
> think of a better rephrasing for that audience?

I'll think about this.

One more problem I see with this table is that it's not clear that
%BOOST_BUILD_PATH% isn't getenv(BOOST_BUILD_PATH) because the path can
also be autodetected using boost-build.jam.

>>%SystemRoot% is <drive>:\WINDOWS or <drive>:\WINNT. Do you really
>>suggest to put something into windows system folders? Or actually
>>%SystemDrive%\ is meant?
> According to the code, it's SystemRoot
> path = [ modules.peek : SystemRoot ] $(user-path) ;
> Is there a better default place for a site-wide configuration on
> Windows?

I think that even %SystemDrive%\ is still better that %SystemRoot%.

The recommended place is SHGetFolderPath(CSIDL_COMMON_APPDATA). We can
approximate that call with
Folders\Common Appdata or with %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data

>> > Boost.Build comes with default versions of those files, which can
>> > serve as templates for customized versions.
>>The files aren't "default" because they cannot be used as is.
> Sure they can. You can create just a user-config and allow the
> system's site-config to take effect. What problem are you referring
> to?

I must edit user-config before I can use it.

Also, what are the reasons to have toolsets configured in user-config,
and not in site-config? I don't see any scenarios when users would like
to have different toolset configurations. The only thing which should be
configured by each user separately is maybe the default toolset. Also
there are performance reasons. Are there other problems with moving
toolset configuration into site-config?



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