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Subject: Re: [Boost-build]
From: Paul A. Bristow (pbristow_at_[hidden])
Date: 2011-07-18 09:40:04

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Vladimir Prus [mailto:ghost_at_[hidden]]
> Sent: Sunday, July 17, 2011 7:15 PM
> To: boost-build_at_[hidden]
> Subject: Re: [Boost-build]
> On Saturday, July 16, 2011 17:36:34 Paul A. Bristow wrote:
> > Having been a bad boy in the past and not followed the instructions
> > (and got into trouble with bjam version), this time I have tried to do better.
> >
> > (I'm actually trying to build the latest trunk libraries now that 1.47
> > is out, so I need 1.48 version)
> >
> > Getting started says
> >
> > "
> > 5.3.1 Install Boost.Build
> Paul,
> before we discuss what 5.3 say, I have a quick question -- did you try to follow 5.2? If yes, why
did you feel
> compelled to try 5.3? If no, why?

Well I was in the middle of testing something else in trunk, but an update changed the version
number, so the Boost.Test library had the wrong version no and would not link.

So I was in a hurry to fix that :-( (In retrospect, I wish had bodged it by copying the existing
Boost.Test and changing its name but ...)

I had an existing command file that didn't try to build all the libraries - I don't have Python for
example. So it would be quicker, I thought.

So I expected to use existing options, but then thought better of it and decided to set it building
and have lunch.

So I *thought* 5.3 looked what I wanted, but I think I was probably wrong. You are right - I should
have followed 5.2.

But in general, I think these instructions assume a far higher level of basic understanding than I
have. Especially they assume that you are a *nix user and know the conventions of that OS. Probably
I should know more, but I personally feel far too many assumptions are being made (and in a way that
I should not need to know).

Much is driven by the perfectly reasonable and sensible attempt to keep it concise and simple.
However html should allow you to jump out to get more details and explanations without adding too
much to the core text.

 Some things I believe are most important to this.

1 Give examples of every step, perhaps using a hyperlink?

2 Give sample outputs, perhaps using a hyperlink?

3 Provide a way of confirming that the previous step has gone OK. Example >b2.exe -v should show
the version number.

4 Always show piping to a log file.

5 Show explicit file types, so users have more understanding. So use .\b2.exe and boostrap.jam.
The cognoscenti can easily omit the type if they know enough to save a few keystrokes.

(A naïve user might well assume that building the libraries would produce some output - in fact it
will appear to be doing nothing for quite a while. It would be helpful to says that it would take
some hour or more to complete, possibly loading your computer so that it is not very useful for
other tasks.)

I'm sorry to bang on about these instructions, which have much that is good, but from the long list
of people getting into difficult, I worry that some other potential Boost users are giving up.


Paul A. Bristow,
Prizet Farmhouse, Kendal LA8 8AB  UK
+44 1539 561830  07714330204

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