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Subject: [proto] Proto documentation, tutorials, developer guide and general Publis Relations
From: joel falcou (joel.falcou_at_[hidden])
Date: 2010-12-04 10:42:47


recently I have been promoting Proto to a few fellow coworker in some
academic circles as well as in
some industrial contexts. Most of these evangelisation process turned
quite well but I felt a lot of time
that something wasn't clinking as it should and I think it's partially
because of the way proto presents
itself and how the docs examples and tutorials are structured. So here
is a few remarks and some
ideas on how to improve it.

1/ Proto describes itself as "Proto is a framework for building Domain
Specific Embedded Languages in C++. It provides tools for constructing,
type-checking, transforming and executing expression templates". A lot
of people I spoke too where wondering what expression templates were and,
as non-C++ expert, as honestly no clues what it was about. Others jumped
on the fact that "oh it enables some lazy evaluation idiom in C++ ?".
Few were acustomed to the EDSL idom. So, I wonder if we could not touch
more potential users by stating it in a way "lazy evaluation" appears.

2/ What's the long term plan for context classes ? I remember discussign
their removal but will it happen (at least from the doc) ?
I spend quite a time demonstrating and reteaching transform over context
to a lot of people. I'll gladly see them
deprecated in 1.46 and maybe ditched in 1.47 or is there any reson to
keep them ?

3/ The documentation on-going example of the calculator is OK but it
lacks somethign between this and the full fledged, impressive
small lambda or futures sampels at the end. I noticed a huge gap between
the toy calculator and code people have to really write with
proto. On the other hand, the Boost'con 2010 talk examples of map_assign
was a real gem as it was simple enough to be grokkable by
everybody and yet demonstrated a lot. I think it should be in the
documentation instead of as a sample at the end. I remember
thinking "why it is not detaile dlike that in the doc" during your session.

4/ Maybe more diverse examples coudl eb turned into full fledged,
detailed, step by step tutorial. map_assing, some kind of simpel lazy
computation stuff (like the numerical integration sampel form Veldhuizen
paper), a larger example with a transform not tied to the grammar (a lot
of people assumed it could not be done), etc ... Thomas Heller and I
were brainstormign a bit and mayeb we can actually get a list, code it
and write the tutorial over. I can also offer internals of our SIMD code
or even from Quaff for a tutorial on how having proto enabled
intermediate representation is useful or on how to do pattern matchign
on AST.

5/ Finally, this is starting to look like the Spirit site. What about a
proto blog/website where articles liek this or sample code could be
detailed, introspected and published ?

So here is some cents ;)

Food for thought-ly yours


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