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Subject: [Boost-build] The future of B2?
From: Rene Rivera (grafikrobot_at_[hidden])
Date: 2016-09-26 20:32:53

Recently I've been doing some cmake, yes I said cmake, for work. And this
recent experience, and a quick survey of other current build systems, has
convinced me that there's still nothing like b2. And by that I mean nothing
that solves the same set of problems with a good set of abstractions.
Although there are one or two that are moving in our direction. But alas,
b2 is not widely used. And I can name many reasons as to why that might be.
But I'd rather discuss where I want b2 to be in the future. And hopefully
get us moving in a direction that will make b2 widely used.

Let me start with something rather simple sounding.. What I want to be able
to do with b2 in my day to day work & play-work (note that this is a royal
"I" as I'm projecting what others have expressed over the years):

* I want to be able to launch my IDE of choice and be able to build, debug,
analyze, deploy, etc with b2 as my build system.. And to do that without
the need to look at a command line.

* I want to be able to use my choice of library package manager and be able
to consume packages directly in b2.

* I want to be able to use b2 to produce, i.e. specify, build, and deploy
packages for my choice of package manager entirely in b2.

* I want to be able to use my IDE of choice to configure all aspects of my
b2 based project with zero or minimal reading of documentation.. And
especially zero reading of b2 code!

* I want to be able to use current language features as soon as they are
available, or shortly thereafter, without having to did into toolset
command flags.

* I want to be able to easily consume and produce b2 extensions.. It should
be possible for me to browse on-line a collection of extensions and
directly use them in my project. It should be possible to write my own
extension and publish it for others to use.

* I want to be able to consult the documentation and quickly find an answer
for what I need to do with steps to follow. Preferably needing to only read
*one* screen full of information.

* I want to be able to manage my poly-language projects uniformly with b2.

And I'm putting this one last intentionally..

* I want all that to perform as expediently as possible when I hit the
build (or whatever button) in my IDE.

By no means is that the end of my possible wish list, but I'll stop there
for the moment. But now for the really important part.. Do you agree that
the above are features we should strive, and plan for? Do you have features
that you think we should strive for in addition to, or instead of the above?

And the really hard question.. What of the current b2 implementation,
design, ecosystem, is getting in the way of reaching the above wishes? And
if you dare.. What should we change to move forward?


PS. Feel free to educate me as to the state of the Python port, deamon
support, and anything else I may (or may not) be cognizant of that may be
relevant. For both my enlightenment and that of others.

PPS. For context, this post was also precipitated by my attempt to
implement some b2 integration for Conan <> and CLion
integration <>.

-- Rene Rivera
-- Grafik - Don't Assume Anything
-- Robot Dreams -
-- rrivera/ (msn) - grafikrobot/aim,yahoo,skype,efnet,gmail

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