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Subject: Re: [Boost-build] The future of B2?
From: PJB (darthpjb_at_[hidden])
Date: 2016-10-04 04:23:34

On 4 October 2016 at 00:16, Rene Rivera <grafikrobot_at_[hidden]> wrote:

> * It attempts to minimize the amount of compiler/toolset knowledge a
> programmer needs to know to get most things done portably.
> * It attempts to minimize the amount of work a programmer does to build
> variations of the same code.
> * It attempts to "bake" the knowledge of tools and systems from experts so
> that non-experts can use those tools and systems.
> * And it attempts to do all that by modeling what a programmer is building
> instead of how to do that building.

​Rene, this to me is exactly while Boost-Build is such a wonderful idea -
take for example the current state of cross-platform Mobile development.
The reality facing most small to medium programming houses is "use
Xanmarin", for something like game development (or in my case, graphics
software development), that just isn't an option.

Despite my very best arguments to the contrary, the company I work for
ended up using a third-party framework called Marmalade, (and with no
disrespect to the developers of that project intended-) it was an 'effing
nightmare! Especially when we ended up needing Bluetooth support.
We are now porting our code to rely entirely on SDL and native C++
implementations - something I advocated in the first place. The problem we
are facing at the moment is the same reason my proposals where rejected,
there is *currently no easy to use build system for C++ mobile development.*

So I'm going to forgo reality for a moment, and enter into fantasy.

*Imagine if you will, the near future, Windows-8-metro has returned (and
assimilated) and Windows-11 entirely uses LCARS interfaces.. as does the
latest Visual-studio 17-&-1/5"On a freshly installed computer I load
Visual-studio, I click "New Boost Project" having installed but a single
extension, Boost-build downloads and assembles itself in a few moments, I
add a blank cpp file, add a 'void Main()' (mostly to annoy my co-workers),
then change my build targets - adding Android and Mac-OSX.I press build,
the relevant open-source toolchains are downloaded, installed, and the
build begins. A few minutes later, I'm debugging my program on windows,
confident it will work as well on Android and OSX - Saving myself (and my
company) weeks of hair-pulling chaos compared to the previous methods.*
Now, I realize this statement is a *HUGE *abstraction of the underlying
mechanisms, requiring not only a new boost-build, but massive amounts of
Visual-studio plugin development and a fair amount of package-management
that is beyond the scope of this discussion.
However, it is absolutely possible - given a build system capable of
handling it, I have no doubt the package-systems and plugins to make said
vision a reality would be very, very close behind (mostly because I would
be trying to create them!).

To someone who has never partaken in these kinds of cross-platform
developments before, this may seem like a "simple" or "obvious" proposal -
however in the current state of development (particularly C++ development)
It's just not possible, or realistic.


1. A new Build system should endeavor to be as capable for IDE-development
as for terminal-development - Obviously.
2. It's my opinion that such a system should be geared toward solving
today's real-world problem with cross-platform development (especially on
mobile devices).
3. I'm *not suggesting *that Build should be a complex mobile-development
framework - what I'm suggesting is a build system that can easily be
automatically configured, to build (*and debug*) someone else's
mobile-development framework.
4. Debugging - it may seem strange, especially to avid terminal-adb users;
however simply building something does not mean one can debug it. Indeed,
most developers today *literally cannot use a debugger if it is not
integrated into an IDE*.

A. My apprentice completed a three year programming course at a respected
English university, Gaining a Distinction grade (the only person in his
class to do so) - He did not know how to use the Debugger built into Visual
Studio, He could not read Hexadecimal or Binary, He did not understand the
meaning of "Stack Overflow". This is the generation to-which we will hand
our creations - as dismal a fortune as that may be.

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