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Beyond the C++ Standard Library: An Introduction to Boost

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Beyond the C++ Standard Library: An Introduction to Boost


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  • Copyright 2006
  • Dimensions: 7-3/8" x 9-1/4"
  • Pages: 432
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-13354-4
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-13354-0

Introducing the Boost libraries: the next breakthrough in C++ programming

Boost takes you far beyond the C++ Standard Library, making C++ programming more elegant, robust, and productive. Now, for the first time, a leading Boost expert systematically introduces the broad set of Boost libraries and teaches best practices for their use.

Writing for intermediate-to-advanced C++ developers, Björn Karlsson briefly outlines all 58 Boost libraries, and then presents comprehensive coverage of 12 libraries you're likely to find especially useful. Karlsson's topics range from smart pointers and conversions to containers and data structures, explaining exactly how using each library can improve your code. He offers detailed coverage of higher-order function objects that enable you to write code that is more concise, expressive, and readable. He even takes you "behind the scenes" with Boost, revealing tools and techniques for creating your own generic libraries.

Coverage includes

  • Smart pointers that provide automatic lifetime management of objects and simplify resource sharing
  • Consistent, best-practice solutions for performing type conversions and lexical conversions
  • Utility classes that make programming simpler and clearer
  • Flexible container libraries that solve common problems not covered by the C++ Standard Library
  • Powerful support for regular expressions with Boost.Regex
  • Function objects defined at the call site with Boost.Bind and Boost.Lambda
  • More flexible callbacks with Boost.Function
  • Managed signals and slots (a.k.a. the Observer pattern) with Boost.Signals

The Boost libraries are proving so useful that many of them are planned for inclusion in the next version of the C++ Standard Library. Get your head start now, with Beyond the C++ Standard Library.

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How the Boost Bind Library Can Improve Your C++ Programs

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Table of Contents




About the Author.

Organization of This Book.

Introduction to Boost.

    String and Text Processing

    Data Structures, Containers, Iterators, and Algorithms

    Function Objects and Higher-Order Programming

    Generic Programming and Template Metaprogramming

    Math and Numerics




Library 1: Smart_ptr.

    How Does the Smart_ptr Library Improve Your Programs?

    When Do We Need Smart Pointers?

    How Does Smart_ptr Fit with the Standard Library?







    Smart_ptr Summary

Library 2: Conversion.

    How Does the Conversion Library Improve Your Programs?





    Conversion Summary

Library 3: Utility.

    How Does the Utility Library Improve Your Programs?






    Utility Summary

Library 4: Operators.

    How Does the Operators Library Improve Your Programs?



    Operators Summary

Library 5: Regex.

    How Does the Regex Library Improve Your Programs?

    How Does Regex Fit with the Standard Library?



    Regex Summary


Library 6: Any.

    How Does the Any Library Improve Your Programs?

    How Does Any Fit with the Standard Library?



    Any Summary

Library 7: Variant.

    How Does the Variant Library Improve Your Programs?

    How Does Variant Fit with the Standard Library?



    Variant Summary

Library 8: Tuple.

    How Does the Tuple Library Improve Your Programs?

    How Does the Tuple Library Fit with the Standard Library?



    Tuple Summary


Library 9: Bind.

    How Does the Bind Library Improve Your Programs?

    How Does Bind Fit with the Standard Library?



    Bind Summary

Library 10: Lambda.

    How Does the Lambda Library Improve Your Programs?

    How Does Lambda Fit with the Standard Library?



    Lambda Summary

Library 11: Function.

    How Does the Function Library Improve Your Programs?

    How Does Function Fit with the Standard Library?



    Function Summary

Library 12: Signals.

    How Does the Signals Library Improve Your Programs?

    How Does Signals Fit with the Standard Library?



    Signals Summary




Untitled Document Dear Reader,

Welcome to Beyond the C++ Standard Library: An Introduction to Boost.

If you are interested in generic programming, library design, and the C++ Standard Library, this book is for you. Because the intended audience for the book is intermediate to advanced C++ programmers, there is little coverage of basic C++ concepts. As the title suggests, the focus of this book is on the Boost libraries—general usage, best practices, implementation techniques, and design rationale.

Almost from the day I discovered Boost, the people behind it, and the extraordinary libraries in it, I've wanted to write this book. It is amazing that a language as mature as C++ still offers room for exploration into higher-level abstractions as well as technical detail, all without requiring changes to the language. Of course, this is what sets C++ apart from many other programming languages: It is specifically and intentionally designed for extension, and the language's facilities for generic constructs are extremely powerful. This exploration is at the core of the Boost libraries and the Boost community itself. Boost is about making programming in C++ more elegant, more robust, and more productive. As discoveries are made and best practices are shaped, a great challenge faces the C++ community; to share this knowledge with others. In isolation, there is limited value to these remarkable findings, but when exposed to a larger audience, a whole industry will evolve.

This book shows how to use a selection of the wonderfully useful Boost libraries, teaches best practices for their use, and even goes behind the scenes to see how they actually work. The Boost libraries' license grants permission to copy, use, and modify the software for any use (commercial and non-commercial), so all you need to do is visit www.boost.org and download the latest version.

For all the C++ Standard Library aficionados out there, it is well known that a new revision of the Standard Library is in progress. From a standardization point of view, there are three primary areas where the C++ Standard Library is likely to change:

  • Fixing broken libraries
  • Augmenting missing features to existing libraries
  • Adding libraries that provide functionality that is missing in the Standard Library

The Boost libraries address all of these areas in one way or another. Of the 12 libraries covered in this book, six have already been accepted for inclusion in the upcoming Library Technical Report, which means that they will most likely be part of the next version of the Standard Library. Thus, learning about these libraries has excellent long-term value. I hope that you will find this book to be a valuable tool for using, understanding, and extending the Boost libraries. From that vantage, you'll want to incorporate those libraries and the knowledge enshrined within them into your own designs and implementations. That's what I call reuse.

Thank you for reading.

Björn Karlsson


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