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.
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