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Subject: Re: [Boost-users] linking and including in visual studio
From: Michael Powell (mwpowellhtx_at_[hidden])
Date: 2016-04-28 14:22:27

On Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 2:04 PM, David Medine <dmedine_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> On 4/27/2016 9:42 PM, Gavin Lambert wrote:
>> On 27/04/2016 08:14, David Medine wrote:
>>> Having learned to write and compile C++ code on Linux, I am always in
>>> the habit of explicitly stating the include and library paths for the
>>> compiler to search for, as well as the libraries themselves that need to
>>> be linked. However, I am revising some Visual Studio projects that use
>>> boost and I realized that the path I gave for 'Additional Library
>>> Directories' is $(BOOST_ROOT)/lib, but my version of boost hasn't got
>>> this directory (it's actually $(BOOST_ROOT)\libs). I then removed all
>>> references to boost from 'Additional Library Directories', and
>>> 'Additional Include Directories' and the application builds and runs
>>> swimmingly.
>>> This leads me to believe, that assigning the BOOST_ROOT environment
>>> variable in Windows is the only step that is needed for VS's auto
>>> linking magic to link correctly to boost. Am I right here, or is there
>>> something I am missing?
>> No, there has to be something somewhere supplying the include and library
>> paths.
>> What VS does have (and GCC does not) is auto-linking, which merely allows
>> you to avoid having to explicitly specify the names of the Boost libraries
>> to link with. But this is just the names, not the paths.
>> There are many places that library paths can hide, however; they can
>> include:
>> * the project settings
>> * property sheets imported by the project
>> * the LIBPATH environment variable
>> * Tools -> Options -> Projects and Solutions -> VC++ Directories (on
>> older versions of VS) or the Microsoft.Win32.Cpp.user.props sheet (on newer
>> versions of VS)

All I know is where the settings have been moved to, ostensibly, and
as they make sense. At some level, they should land in the project
settings, not environment settings, not even VS settings.

>> There might even be a few more than I'm unaware of. :)

Whatever project management plumbing you're using, look forward to
seeing your contributions.

> Thanks for this (and to everyone else contributing to this discussion!)
> For now, I can say with certainty that:
> 1. there is no reference to boost in the property settings of the project,
> 2. I'm not using any inherited property sheets,
> 3. there is no reference to boost in any of my Windows environment variables
> apart from BOOST_ROOT, and
> 4. there is no reference to boost in Tools -> Options -> Projects and
> Solutions -> VC++ Directories.
> I've attached a buidlog and if you open it and search for 'boost' you will
> see that there is indeed no reference in the build commands; and yet, if I
> rename the directory pointed to by BOOST_ROOT, the build will fail to find
> the boost headers included in the source code. All of which, again, leads me
> to believe that (unless I am still missing some evil little arcane setting
> in VS that is working behind my back) setting BOOST_ROOT is all Windows + VS
> (I'm using 2008 by the way) needs in order to include boost headers and link
> to the libraries.
> What I assume is happening is that BOOST_ROOT is a special environment
> variable that Windows knows about and, if it is defined, Windows will put
> the correct directories on the global include search paths. Then, based on
> what headers get included, the autolinker will know what are the right
> libraries to link with and where to find them (e.g. if you include
> <boost/thread.hpp> it will automagically know to link to
> boost_thread-vc90-mt-1_57.lib or whatever the appropriately suffixed binary
> is).
> A way to test this is to set up a fresh Windows machine with no environment
> variables defined, install VS, get the desired version of boost, and try to
> build before and after setting BOOST_ROOT. If it works after those steps
> alone, then it works after those steps alone.
> Cheers,
> David
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