Boost Incubator Status Report

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Boost Incubator Status Report

Robert Ramey
Felix Uhl wrote
On 28/10/2014, Rob Stewart wrote:

 >Currently, I am documenting the first version of the library to make it
>available on the Boost Library Incubator website,

I can hear Robert yelling, "Yes!"
Yes!

The experience so far with the incubator is very interesting.  Here are couple of observations.

a) I anticipated more submissions since the process seems so easy and the bar is very low.  As a practical matter the requirements boil down to having code, tests, documentation which implies some examples.  There are no restrictions of format of any of these things.   But if you troll the net looking for libraries very few library ideas fulfill these requirements.  It turns out that fulfilling even these modest (in my view) requirements is more than many people find necessary.

b) The quality of the submissions is a lot better then I had anticipated.  All of them are credible, serious efforts which are worthy of serious consideration for inclusion in Boost.   That's not to say that all would eventually be accepted as I have only given them a cursory examination.

c) There are very few comments on the pages of the website and on the library pages.  So far there is only one formal review.  I'm sort of disappointed in this.  It goes to our problem in getting enough reviews in general.  The one review (boost compute) was from one who downloaded and tested the library, liked it, and included it in production.  Of course the review was very positive.  I would hope to see more of this in the future.

d) To support more reviews, I have on my todo list to keep track of who invokes the download/repo links and match them up with the users email address and send out a gentle reminder that if he spent the time to look at and consider the library, he should either comment or add a formal review.  I would also like to see some of the posting on this list regarding library proposals to moved to the library comments page.  Another alternative would be to link from the library comment page to the developer's list thread(s) which touch upon the library.  In any case, I want to see more activity in this area.  Any of these require good experience with wordpress and some available time - so I don't see these happening soon.

e) I would like to see a little more support from Boost Steering Committee on this effort.  Specifically I would like to see the Announcement that Boost endorses the Boost Library Incubator (www.blincubator) packaged and distributed as press release so that it would show up in places like Dr Dobbs Journal. (http://www.drdobbs.com) and isocpp.org (http://isocpp.org).  It is a great disappointment to me that in spite of a fair amount of effort, I've been unable to get these sites (among others) to announce the Boost endorsement of Boost Library Incubator.

Finally - By next monday, I'll have in place a new facility. This is support on the library page whereby companies which have interest in a particular library will be able to contact the library author in order to offer financial sponsorship for his efforts.   Companies which do this will be able to ask for special features and/or extensions, custom versions, extra support or anything they want.  Authors will have the option of placing sponsors logos and links on their library pages.  This will offer developers of open source the first opportunity in history to be compensated as the rock stars we are.

Thanks for everyone for help so far in promoting the Boost Library Incubator.  Please continue your efforts.

Robert Ramey





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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Marcel Raad
Robert Ramey <ramey <at> rrsd.com> writes:

> c) There are very few comments on the pages of the website and on the
> library pages.

I just noticed that I have to click on "Libraries Listed Alphabetically"
instead of "Libraries Listed by Category" to see any library. Perhaps there
should be a default category for uncategorized libraries so that visitors
don't think there is no library at all.


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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Cherac11
This post has NOT been accepted by the mailing list yet.
In reply to this post by Robert Ramey
Good to hear :-) I'm planning on checking it out this winter, following your guidance.

Hope all is well!
Rachel

On Nov 5, 2014, at 11:42 AM, Robert Ramey [via Boost] <[hidden email]> wrote:

Felix Uhl wrote
On 28/10/2014, Rob Stewart wrote:

 >Currently, I am documenting the first version of the library to make it
>available on the Boost Library Incubator website,

I can hear Robert yelling, "Yes!"
Yes!

The experience so far with the incubator is very interesting.  Here are couple of observations.

a) I anticipated more submissions since the process seems so easy and the bar is very low.  As a practical matter the requirements boil down to having code, tests, documentation which implies some examples.  There are no restrictions of format of any of these things.   But if you troll the net looking for libraries very few library ideas fulfill these requirements.  It turns out that fulfilling even these modest (in my view) requirements is more than many people find necessary.

b) The quality of the submissions is a lot better then I had anticipated.  All of them are credible, serious efforts which are worthy of serious consideration for inclusion in Boost.   That's not to say that all would eventually be accepted as I have only given them a cursory examination.

c) There are very few comments on the pages of the website and on the library pages.  So far there is only one formal review.  I'm sort of disappointed in this.  It goes to our problem in getting enough reviews in general.  The one review (boost compute) was from one who downloaded and tested the library, liked it, and included it in production.  Of course the review was very positive.  I would hope to see more of this in the future.

d) To support more reviews, I have on my todo list to keep track of who invokes the download/repo links and match them up with the users email address and send out a gentle reminder that if he spent the time to look at and consider the library, he should either comment or add a formal review.  I would also like to see some of the posting on this list regarding library proposals to moved to the library comments page.  Another alternative would be to link from the library comment page to the developer's list thread(s) which touch upon the library.  In any case, I want to see more activity in this area.  Any of these require good experience with wordpress and some available time - so I don't see these happening soon.

e) I would like to see a little more support from Boost Steering Committee on this effort.  Specifically I would like to see the Announcement that Boost endorses the Boost Library Incubator (www.blincubator) packaged and distributed as press release so that it would show up in places like Dr Dobbs Journal. (http://www.drdobbs.com) and isocpp.org (http://isocpp.org).  It is a great disappointment to me that in spite of a fair amount of effort, I've been unable to get these sites (among others) to announce the Boost endorsement of Boost Library Incubator.

Finally - By next monday, I'll have in place a new facility. This is support on the library page whereby companies which have interest in a particular library will be able to contact the library author in order to offer financial sponsorship for his efforts.   Companies which do this will be able to ask for special features and/or extensions, custom versions, extra support or anything they want.  Authors will have the option of placing sponsors logos and links on their library pages.  This will offer developers of open source the first opportunity in history to be compensated as the rock stars we are.

Thanks for everyone for help so far in promoting the Boost Library Incubator.  Please continue your efforts.

Robert Ramey








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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Mostafa-6
In reply to this post by Robert Ramey
On Wed, 05 Nov 2014 09:42:07 -0800, Robert Ramey <[hidden email]> wrote:

[snip]

> e) I would like to see a little more support from Boost Steering  
> Committee
> on this effort.

As a starting point, a link from the official Boost home page and Boost  
libraries download page would probably generate more traffic. Of course,  
with the usual caveat that these are not Boost libraries nor endorsed by  
Boost, etc...


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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Rob Conde
I'll say that I checked it out and looked at the category page - it appears that nothing is categorized so it looked like nothing was there.

________________________________________
From: Boost <[hidden email]> on behalf of Mostafa <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, November 5, 2014 3:48 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [boost] Boost Incubator Status Report

On Wed, 05 Nov 2014 09:42:07 -0800, Robert Ramey <[hidden email]> wrote:

[snip]

> e) I would like to see a little more support from Boost Steering
> Committee
> on this effort.

As a starting point, a link from the official Boost home page and Boost
libraries download page would probably generate more traffic. Of course,
with the usual caveat that these are not Boost libraries nor endorsed by
Boost, etc...


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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Niall Douglas
In reply to this post by Robert Ramey
On 5 Nov 2014 at 9:42, Robert Ramey wrote:

> e) I would like to see a little more support from Boost Steering Committee
> on this effort.  Specifically I would like to see the Announcement that
> Boost endorses the Boost Library Incubator (www.blincubator) packaged and
> distributed as press release so that it would show up in places like Dr
> Dobbs Journal. (http://www.drdobbs.com) and isocpp.org (http://isocpp.org).
> It is a great disappointment to me that in spite of a fair amount of effort,
> I've been unable to get these sites (among others) to announce the Boost
> endorsement of Boost Library Incubator.

The lack of SC support for your Incubator came up in private email
recently. It was observed that it was surprising that the SC had not
invested money and allocated bodies in helping to advance your
Incubator, and instead merely given a weak statement of vague support
which got swallowed by noise. It was then observed that no formal
request for anything but a statement of support had been made, and so
therefore nothing more than a statement of support was given. It
could be concluded that if you formally ask for more, you might get
more.

If I were you Robert, I'd make a formal request to the SC for each of
the following:

1. Financial support for the running of the Incubator.

2. The hiring of Wordpress consultancy to advise you where you have
been having some struggle.

3. The hiring of someone to deeply integrate the Incubator into the
Boost website. This could be the consultancy from 2.

4. Begin work on drafting new rules for submitting a new Boost
library to default to the Incubator, the old method of going via the
wizards is removed.

... and see what happens.

Niall

--
ned Productions Limited Consulting
http://www.nedproductions.biz/ 
http://ie.linkedin.com/in/nialldouglas/




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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Robert Ramey
Niall Douglas wrote
On 5 Nov 2014 at 9:42, Robert Ramey wrote:

> e) I would like to see a little more support from Boost Steering Committee
> on this effort.  Specifically I would like to see the Announcement that
> Boost endorses the Boost Library Incubator (www.blincubator) packaged and
> distributed as press release so that it would show up in places like Dr
> Dobbs Journal. (http://www.drdobbs.com) and isocpp.org (http://isocpp.org).
> It is a great disappointment to me that in spite of a fair amount of effort,
> I've been unable to get these sites (among others) to announce the Boost
> endorsement of Boost Library Incubator.

The lack of SC support for your Incubator came up in private email
recently. It was observed that it was surprising that the SC had not
invested money and allocated bodies in helping to advance your
Incubator, and instead merely given a weak statement of vague support
which got swallowed by noise.
FWIW - I'm not asking for money - I'm only asking for a press release and
a little push to get it announced on the isocpp.org website.  I don't think
that that's a lot to ask - especially given the stuff I do see announced there.
It was then observed that no formal request for anything but a statement of
support had been made, and so therefore nothing more than a statement of
support was given.
Great - I got that - now I've been asking for a press release sent under the
official Boost Steering Committee Aegis sent to the appropriate parties
along with a push to get it the announcement and link into the the ioscpp.org
web site.  That doesn't need any money.  I don't think it's an unreasonable
request.
It could be concluded that if you formally ask for more, you might get
more.
LOL - it could also be concluded that if one can't get something that
costs nothing - it's pointless to ask for financial support.
<quote>

If I were you Robert, I'd make a formal request to the SC for each of
the following:

1. Financial support for the running of the Incubator.

2. The hiring of Wordpress consultancy to advise you where you have
been having some struggle.

3. The hiring of someone to deeply integrate the Incubator into the
Boost website. This could be the consultancy from 2.

4. Begin work on drafting new rules for submitting a new Boost
library to default to the Incubator, the old method of going via the
wizards is removed.

... and see what happens.
I really appreciate the advice and the good will in offering it.  But I have
to say I have a whole different way of looking at how the world works.

TL;DR;

1. Financial support for the running of the Incubator.
I honestly don't think financial support would help anything.  I do this in
my spare time and it doesn't take all that amount of time.  The main thing
is that I don't really like making this thing work - it's not my think.  And
a wordpress expert could probably do it in half the time I can...  But
financial support wouldn't create time.
2. The hiring of Wordpress consultancy to advise you where you have
been having some struggle.
Monitoring and managing a wordpress consultancy would probably cost
more time than I currently spend on it.  Ideally I'd like help from a someone
who spends time on this as part of his job.  As an aside I'd say that:
a) Wordpress, like all web design is a pain.
b) Wordpress, like many web design framework delivers huge functionality
for relatively few lines of code.  Its an excellent learning experience for the
hard core C++ programmer.  Its a window on where we're missing the boat
and how far we can and actually must eventually go.  It's an anti-dote to the
narrow perspective that we have from sticking to boost/C++/Standard conferences.
c) Actually the incubator has most of the functionality it needs already.  So
more resources for enhancement would be useful but not urgent.  The
soon to be working "sponsorship" opportunities will also apply to web page
enhancement - so maybe someone will step up just to get free exposure
to all the C++ eyeballs which you guys are going to send to the page.
3. The hiring of someone to deeply integrate the Incubator into the
Boost website. This could be the consultancy from 2.
I think the Boost Website needs an upgrade and re-thinking.  I don't
think anything should be "deeply integrated" into it.  Currently it's
not dynamic enough.  That's why we have a lot of important pages
added to the trac wiki.  Thats why the Boost Steering Committee made
its own website.  Ideally this Boost website should be more of
a "facade" or something more like the Boost Library Incubator is now
where separate pages/posts/components can be composed/re-composed
very easily.  Wordpress is actually very good at this. In this scenario
the Incubator could be just linked into something which looks seamless.
You can see my thinking in the incubator itself.  It's really a seamless facade
over disparate repos, issues, docs, etc to make it look like integrated.
I leveraged on all the other stuff that's out there - and I can drop any
of it in an instant.  This is the way of the future.  Note I didn't even
have to steal or copy anything - I just linked it all.  The time is spent
on figuring out how to link it together.

In this context, "deeply integrating the incubator" disappears as a task.

4. Begin work on drafting new rules for submitting a new Boost
library to default to the Incubator, the old method of going via the
wizards is removed.
What I would like to see is:

a) Those who comment on libraries are encouraged to add them to the
incubator.  This makes them available permanently to anyone
who is interested in a prospective library.

b) Users of libraries in the incubator are encouraged to add
formal reviews.

c) The review wizard states that when time is appropriate for
a review - not in the middle of release or some other fiasco.
There hasn't been a review for a while, and there are worthy
candidates in the review queue,
i) he will select the next library for review giving priority to any
libraries which already have the most number of "pre-reviews"
in the incubator.
2) reviewers are encouraged to post their reviews in the
incubator.

The first time this happens it will be sort of "test run" of the system
which I realize might not be successful.  Even if recognized as
successful, surely it would indicate the need for corrections
and/or enhancements.  (I'm a great believer in evolution vs
intelligent design).

I think there's wide agreement that boost needs to evolve and I see
significant efforts in this direction - modularization, incubator.  This
is a good thing.

It seems that one vision is of boost evolving to a stronger, and better
funded organization and more influential organization with a beefed up
infrastructure.  The idea is that this would permit it to continue to grow
in spite of the increase in costs that this entails.

I disagree with this vision - I think it gets things upside down.  And I think
boost should be looking at ways to shrink infrastructure requirements.  I see
the future boost looking like:

a) Website composed of links to other ideas - much like we've done with
modularized libraries, incubator etc.  

b) I would like to see testing outsourced to users.  That is, when you download
a library, you're encouraged to run the tests and the test results get
posted to the common dashboard.  Boost would be responsible for seeing
that the dashboard works.

c) I would like to see deployment of Boost outsourced so software distributors
like Cygwin, Debian, Microsoft, and who knows who else.  A Boost certified distribution
wouldn't necessarily contain all the libraries.  There might be a subset of graphics
useful ones distributed by CGal and/or Cinder.  There might be a math subset
distributed by CERN. There might be threading one distributed by Intel as
part of TBB. etc.  This would

1) implement an effective way of deprecating libraries.  Out of date/Obsolescent
libraries wouldn't be "de-certified".  It's just that distributors would decline to
include them.

2) Permit Boost to get ever bigger without users having to deal with ever bigger
distributions.  The problem isn't so much the size of the distributions.  The problem
is more that when the distribution get's big, the chances increase that there's
a snafu which inhibits testing/building but isn't really related to the actual
functionality which one is interested in.

3) This would evolve the role of boost from Review, Testing, Deployment to
a role of Review/Certification

d) I would hope that Boost doesn't evolve to a funding organization. This would
be a source of more disputes.  I would prefer to see.

1) encourage of a mechanism where interested parties sponsor more specific
functions/libraries.  Examples,

- How about Lockeed F-35 development organization funding or implementing
the functionality in Safe Numerics.  Can you believe that the actually code this
thing in C++ without some sort of functionality like this?  It would be absolutely
crazy - but I bet they do it.  The could get this functionality for .000000001 %
of what they currently spend.  Alternatively, they could be encouraged to
develop it themselves and make it open source so the rest of can test it,
reject it, certify it and/or debug/improve it.  I've been waiting for a call here,
But so far the phone hasn't rung.

- How about getting ? to sponsor the CMake page in the incubator?  That
would be useful and they could flog there stuff - Actually I'll try to get them
to maintain the page in exchange for including their logo.  Wish me luck.

- How about getting NVidea or ? to sponsor the library Boost Compute.  Anyone
who expresses an interest in SIMD computing can not be subjected to
an NVidea logo and link.  Of course NVidea wouldn't get that for free -they
need to work it out with the author.

- How about getting Toyota and other car makers to support enhancement
of Boost Concept Checking so they diminish unexplained acceleration.

- How about getting US Department of health and human services to
sponsor Boost Test and/or Boost Mock to diminish the Obamacare website
fiascos.  Heck the already spent 500 million $ for the worlds record time
waster - I'm sure the authors of these packages would love to get
a $100,000 check in the mail.

I suppose I belabored the point - oh well.

In short the trick to permuting boost to grow is to expect it to do less!!!!

All of the above would require

a) us getting resolved issues of dependencies.  Progress has been made here
but there are still issues to be addressed.

b) making a new versioning scheme.

c) A re-thinking the website.

I'm sorry I got carried away  I work alone and don't have anyone to talk to.

Robert Ramey






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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Vladimir Prus-3
In reply to this post by Robert Ramey
On 11/05/2014 08:42 PM, Robert Ramey wrote:
> Finally - By next monday, I'll have in place a new facility. This is support
> on the library page whereby companies which have interest in a particular
> library will be able to contact the library author in order to offer
> financial sponsorship for his efforts.   Companies which do this will be
> able to ask for special features and/or extensions, custom versions, extra
> support or anything they want.  Authors will have the option of placing
> sponsors logos and links on their library pages.  This will offer developers
> of open source the first opportunity in history to be compensated as the
> rock stars we are.

Robert,

it seems doubtful that an additional place where you can find a maintainer of a library
will change much, if anything.

Personally, I would say incubator would need considerable work before it can become useful for library reviews.
Say, if I can made per-line comments on proposed library code, like gerrit does, it would be rather useful.
If I can create design issues right away, so that they can be listed later and reviewed, it would be rather useful.
It does not appear to me that wordpess post with comments is better than a thread in a mail client. At least mail
client allows to collapse a subthread, or delete it.

In fact, maybe the best way to run a formal review (or informal review, whatever) is to post a link to github
repository, where comments on the code can be made already, and issues created? Such a repository can be
even a clone owned by review manager.

- Volodya

--
Vladimir Prus
CodeSourcery / Mentor Embedded
http://vladimirprus.com


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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Niall Douglas
On 6 Nov 2014 at 12:15, Vladimir Prus wrote:

> Personally, I would say incubator would need considerable work before it
> can become useful for library reviews. Say, if I can made per-line
> comments on proposed library code, like gerrit does, it would be rather
> useful. If I can create design issues right away, so that they can be
> listed later and reviewed, it would be rather useful. It does not appear
> to me that wordpess post with comments is better than a thread in a mail
> client. At least mail client allows to collapse a subthread, or delete
> it.

Github provides an excellent API
(https://developer.github.com/v3/repos/comments/) which does exactly
as you ask.

Even a read only summary of the comments posted about a library would
be very useful. And not too demanding on Github if cached via a
varnish reverse proxy (i.e. we don't have to pay Github for the
bandwidth).

I also wouldn't rule out using JSON to live embed the github stream
into the Incubator. Github eats its own dog food, so you can make a
mashed up Incubator reinterpretation of Github with Incubator
semantics. Then people can live review code on the Incubator, and it
appears in Github too.

This is where I was coming from with having the SC pay for expert
advice and consultancy. This sort of web programming pays as well as
top C++ programmers, and for good reason, yet it is none of our core
competency.

Niall

--
ned Productions Limited Consulting
http://www.nedproductions.biz/ 
http://ie.linkedin.com/in/nialldouglas/




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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Niall Douglas
In reply to this post by Robert Ramey
On 5 Nov 2014 at 15:01, Robert Ramey wrote:

> > It could be concluded that if you formally ask for more, you might get
> > more.
>
> LOL - it could also be concluded that if one can't get something that
> costs nothing - it's pointless to ask for financial support.

From my observations that isn't how the SC works. It is certainly
easier to get money from them than their time. In fact, in recent
months they have been remarkably generous with the monies asked of
them where they have given more than was asked.

> > If I were you Robert, I'd make a formal request to the SC for each of
> > the following:
> >
> > 1. Financial support for the running of the Incubator.
> >
> > 2. The hiring of Wordpress consultancy to advise you where you have
> > been having some struggle.
> >
> > 3. The hiring of someone to deeply integrate the Incubator into the
> > Boost website. This could be the consultancy from 2.
> >
> > 4. Begin work on drafting new rules for submitting a new Boost
> > library to default to the Incubator, the old method of going via the
> > wizards is removed.
> >
> > ... and see what happens.
>
> I really appreciate the advice and the good will in offering it.  But I have
> to say I have a whole different way of looking at how the world works.
I'm in a funny position regarding your Incubator. I think the idea
fundamentally flawed due to my negative experience some years ago of
setting up an almost identical solution for an Economics journal
where the membership was a good eight times larger than Boost's and
much keener on reviewing, and yet persuading anyone to do reviews of
submitted papers was nigh on impossible. I also think that Wordpress
is very good at what it does, but anything involving review of other
people's work it is truly terrible at. It's just not designed for it,
and we ran into numerous scalability problems trying to adapt it to
fit peer review. We eventually abandoned the whole project, after
yours truly had dumped hundreds of hours of free work into it.
Shortly thereafter I decided to press Pause on my Economics career,
and return to Technology which I why I suddenly reappeared here in
2012.

All that said, my experiences there and my failed Web 2.0 startup in
2011 probably make me unusually familiar with web technologies for a
C++ engineer. And I baulk at the complexity of what you are intending
to do alone and without substantial financial support. You really
need at least three full time engineers on the Incubator if you
expect to deliver something usable within six months (don't forget
the unit testing! Well designed web services have enormous automated
test suites which probe the website in real time for anything going
wrong, and they run 24/7. Setting those up properly makes writing
comprehensive C++ testing look like a doddle). Good web engineers are
perhaps even more rare than good C++ engineers, plus there is 10x
more web engineers who think themselves god's gift when they are
mediocre at best (more noise to signal). And good web engineers are
expensive, Google pays its about 10% more than programmers for good
reason, not least the shortage of talent.

> > 2. The hiring of Wordpress consultancy to advise you where you have
> > been having some struggle.

Apologies Robert, I meant to write "hiring of *a* Wordpress
consultancy". There are expert consultancy firms for Wordpress just
as Boost Consulting of old. The good ones charge about the same
hourly rate, too.

> Monitoring and managing a wordpress consultancy would probably cost
> more time than I currently spend on it.  Ideally I'd like help from a
> someone
> who spends time on this as part of his job.  As an aside I'd say that:
> a) Wordpress, like all web design is a pain.
> b) Wordpress, like many web design framework delivers huge functionality
> for relatively few lines of code.  Its an excellent learning experience for
> the
> hard core C++ programmer.  Its a window on where we're missing the boat
> and how far we can and actually must eventually go.  It's an anti-dote to
> the
> narrow perspective that we have from sticking to boost/C++/Standard
> conferences.
Funny you say that actually. Wordpress, compared to the other CMSs,
is very distinctly an anti-pattern - it intentionally chooses a
simple, inflexible design in exchange for reliability, predictability
and security, and it's the only PHP based CMS I know of to have
achieved reasonably good security. In that success the anti-pattern
was a wise choice, but boy is Wordpress inflexible as a result.

If you'd like your eyes opened as to how truly narrow the C++
perspective is, give Plone/Zope a whirl. It's the most secure CMS on
the market, and it follows a very C++ style of thinking and design so
most C++ engineers find themselves in a very warm and comfortable
place ideologically speaking. But you also get that horrible feeling
of utter ignorance that anyone starting into C++ gets - Plone/Zope is
full of ingenious design patterns, ones which make C++ look fusty and
backward, but due to its maturity there are many islands of such
design patterns none of which entirely fit together well to the
inexperienced. In other words, just like C++, Boost and the STL.

One of my reasons behind writing AFIO is for a later graph database
library, and why I want one of those as standard for C++ is precisely
from what I realised writing against Zope where the only storage
available is the reliable distributed object database. Reliable graph
database programming is THE future for systems programming languages.
Once you wrap your head around being able to assume a reliable data
persistence and transfer medium being part of the system, a whole ton
of stuff which gets in the way of C++ programming goes permanently
away.

> c) Actually the incubator has most of the functionality it needs already.

On that we disagree. I don't find the Incubator usable, particularly
the commenting feature. I don't think the threaded commenting
approach works for code review. A line or file or issue based
commenting approach is much better, but even then a decent summary
review would be paramount. Some voting and scoring system is needed
too.
 
> You can see my thinking in the incubator itself.  It's really a seamless
> facade
> over disparate repos, issues, docs, etc to make it look like integrated.
> I leveraged on all the other stuff that's out there - and I can drop any
> of it in an instant.  This is the way of the future.  Note I didn't even
> have to steal or copy anything - I just linked it all.  The time is spent
> on figuring out how to link it together.

Some years ago I converted over nedprod.com, an almost entirely
static HTML site like Boost's, to use a large XHTML file as its
"database". I have been *very* pleased with the result - it's still
technically entirely static HTML, it's just some PHP parses all the
static HTML files into a single giant XHTML file and the web front
end is some PHP which does a XML query of that giant file, so it
reconstitutes the static HTML per page load. Scalability is truly
excellent (I used the incremental XML parser). And you can mux in
content by having scripts create extra static HTML files for the
database generator to assemble.

It might be a future for the Boost website. I can supply the PHP
machinery on request.

> c) The review wizard states that when time is appropriate for
> a review - not in the middle of release or some other fiasco.
> There hasn't been a review for a while, and there are worthy
> candidates in the review queue,

I believe Antony is looking to manage a review soon before his baby
arrives.

> i) he will select the next library for review giving priority to any
> libraries which already have the most number of "pre-reviews"
> in the incubator.

It isn't as easy as that. Review managers need to feel competent in
the thing being reviewed. Antony I know is looking at at least three
libraries as candidates. When they were added or how long they have
waited has no consideration, rather it's whether he thinks they are
ready and he is competent in their domain.

> I'm sorry I got carried away  I work alone and don't have anyone to talk to.

As am I, many days I don't even leave the house as there is nowhere
to go where I live (rural, rent is cheaper). Unfortunately reading
and writing email is not billable hours, so I lose money doing this
:)

As you know, I stand pretty much opposite to you on your vision of
the future for Boost, I think the time when any of that was
sustainable was ten or more years ago. I look at the most successful
open source orgs and what they do and we do not, and I think we
should copy them. That, as you correctly observed, means Boost turns
into a funding acquisition and dispensing machine which
actively promotes its vision of the future of C++ by obtaining
funding and
dispensing funding on the items it thinks will return the most
benefits to its
future. Very different to before of course, it's more of an open
source
business than anything involving coding and the skills demanded are
managerial and business ones, not engineering. But that's the
marketplace right now, we either have to step up to compete or wither
in the face of competition.

Niall

--
ned Productions Limited Consulting
http://www.nedproductions.biz/ 
http://ie.linkedin.com/in/nialldouglas/




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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Vladimir Prus-3
In reply to this post by Niall Douglas
On 11/06/2014 01:11 PM, Niall Douglas wrote:

> On 6 Nov 2014 at 12:15, Vladimir Prus wrote:
>
>> Personally, I would say incubator would need considerable work before it
>> can become useful for library reviews. Say, if I can made per-line
>> comments on proposed library code, like gerrit does, it would be rather
>> useful. If I can create design issues right away, so that they can be
>> listed later and reviewed, it would be rather useful. It does not appear
>> to me that wordpess post with comments is better than a thread in a mail
>> client. At least mail client allows to collapse a subthread, or delete
>> it.
>
> Github provides an excellent API
> (https://developer.github.com/v3/repos/comments/) which does exactly
> as you ask.
>
> Even a read only summary of the comments posted about a library would
> be very useful. And not too demanding on Github if cached via a
> varnish reverse proxy (i.e. we don't have to pay Github for the
> bandwidth).

I would say a choice of reverse proxy is a bit premature question ;-)

Rather, the question is what we're trying to really achieve. One can come up
with all sorts of things, like:

- Gather interest on potential new libraries
- Easily comment on code
- Easily comment on documentation
- Run tests on potential submissions

and these can have multiple technical solution, like using social networks,
gerrit-style code annotation, medium-style documentation comments, and
changes to the test framework, but it does not appear there's a decision
what we want to achieve.

--
Vladimir Prus
CodeSourcery / Mentor Embedded
http://vladimirprus.com


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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Robert Ramey
Vladimir Prus-3 wrote
Rather, the question is what we're trying to really achieve. One can come up
with all sorts of things, like:

- Gather interest on potential new libraries
- Easily comment on code
- Easily comment on documentation
- Run tests on potential submissions

and these can have multiple technical solution, like using social networks,
gerrit-style code annotation, medium-style documentation comments, and
changes to the test framework, but it does not appear there's a decision
what we want to achieve.
The above list doesn't describe what MY goals for the incubator are. I'm not
saying they're necessary unworthy - just that i haven't had them in mind.

Here is what intend to achieve with the Boost Library Incubator

- Increase submissions of quality libraries by:
        - giving advice on how to do it - and allowing others to post their own advice if they disagree.
        - providing a place where the current state of a library can be found and displayed
        - promote the testing of libraries by users on their own machines and the posting of results to a common area.
        - promote the concept of sponsorship of library authors by deep pockets organizations who depend upon  specific libraries.
- Promoting and supporting the Boost Review format and system by:
        - de-coupling the review from a specific time frame.
        - Keeping comments and reviews linked to library for future reference by users looking to use a library.
- Increase the usage of boost and pre-boost libraries by providing potential users more information:
        - providing an amazon-like system for rating libraries based on reviews.
        - Keeping comments and reviews linked to library for future reference by users looking to use a library.
        - Defining a minimal but universal set of requirements including
           - Browsable documentation
           - library tests
           - boost compatible directory structure
           - Build/Test system

And of course subject to the constraint that I can actually make a system which does this in a short amount of time and resources so that the system can evolve.

This is pretty concise list of what I hope to achieve.  I'm pleased with the results regarding some of the goals, less pleased with others.   But I'm hoping with a little incremental tweaking, I'll continue to make progress.

Robert Ramey

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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Robert Ramey
In reply to this post by Niall Douglas
Niall Douglas wrote
I also think that Wordpress
is very good at what it does, but anything involving review of other
people's work it is truly terrible at. It's just not designed for it, ...
I looked a large number of systems and spend significant time in
evaluating at least five.  My method was:

- read the explanation - If it wasn't documented - done,  if the documentation
wasn't understandable - done
- try installing - if it wasn't easy to install - done
- try using the system, examples, whatever to make a prototype
boost incubator.  I probably was willing to spend a couple of hours
on

I tried making prototypes of the incubator using no less than five
other systems.  These systems varied all over the place.  Some
simple, some elaborate, some widely supported with add-ons
others not, some well documented, others not. etc. etc..

When wordpress looked like it could be made to do the job - I
got on with the job.  I have a love/hate relationship with
wordpress - but I have that relationship with everything.

when the incubator first came out - I got all sorts of suggestions
that it would have been better to use system X, Y, ... .  Of course
no one actually volunteered to implement the incubator in them.
So I just pushed on.  That's my method - push on.



All that said, my experiences there and my failed Web 2.0 startup in
2011 probably make me unusually familiar with web technologies for a
C++ engineer. And I baulk at the complexity of what you are intending
to do alone

LOL - I'm happy to let someone contribute!  But so far that hasn't
happened.

and without substantial financial support.

financial support is overrated.  This is a holy quest.  We need
zealots - not mercenaries.  I don't know what I would spend
money on.  I originally made the incubator with the idea that
someday boost might want to take it over and make it part
of boost.org.  I still would like to see that - but I don't see how
that would actually help/change anything.


You really
need at least three full time engineers on the Incubator if you
expect to deliver something usable within six months (don't forget
the unit testing! Well designed web services have enormous automated
test suites which probe the website in real time for anything going
wrong, and they run 24/7. Setting those up properly makes writing
comprehensive C++ testing look like a doddle). Good web engineers are
perhaps even more rare than good C++ engineers, plus there is 10x
more web engineers who think themselves god's gift when they are
mediocre at best (more noise to signal). And good web engineers are
expensive, Google pays its about 10% more than programmers for good
reason, not least the shortage of talent.


This is very interesting to me and explains a lot regarding the problems
of modern computer applications - think obamacare website.
I don't doubt that one has to pay developers of web applications
more than C++ programmers.  Tax lawyers make more money too.
The problem is that we've created a system which is a giant complex
hack that no one with any respect for logical elegance would waste
his time on without getting paid a lot.

> > 2. The hiring of Wordpress consultancy to advise you where you have
> > been having some struggle.

maybe - I'd appreciate any real help.  If someone want's to hire
a web consultancy to do some of the work great.  If they do please
let me know as I would like to hire on as a consultant to the
consultants to consult on the requirements and functionality of the system.

Funny you say that actually. Wordpress, compared to the other CMSs,
is very distinctly an anti-pattern - it intentionally chooses a
simple, inflexible design in exchange for reliability, predictability
and security, and it's the only PHP based CMS I know of to have
achieved reasonably good security. In that success the anti-pattern
was a wise choice, but boy is Wordpress inflexible as a result.

You're way too generous - they all suck.  If it were up to me I
would do it all in C++.  But the need to leverage pre-existing
functionality trumped everything else.  My experiments convinced
me that wordpress was/is the best of a bad lot.

But you also get that horrible feeling
of utter ignorance that anyone starting into C++ gets - Plone/Zope is
full of ingenious design patterns, ones which make C++ look fusty and
backward, but due to its maturity there are many islands of such
design patterns none of which entirely fit together well to the
inexperienced. In other words, just like C++, Boost and the STL.

LOL - I never heard of this so I never looked at it.  Sounds like
I dodged a bullet.

> c) Actually the incubator has most of the functionality it needs already.
On that we disagree. I don't find the Incubator usable, particularly
the commenting feature. I don't think the threaded commenting
approach works for code review.

That's what we use on the developer list for formal reviews.  In my 12
years being involved in boost - no one has ever suggested that the
formal review processes needs this sort of functionality.  The incubator
formal review is pretty much identical to the current one - just a little
more form oriented.  That's what I was aiming for.

A line or file or issue based
commenting approach is much better, but even then a decent summary
review would be paramount.

Now if you believe that boost should change it's formal review process
in some way - that's fine - but the incubator doesn't aim to to that.

Some voting and scoring system is needed too.

Boost acceptance is not based on voting.
The library incubator has  installed a system for voting/rating etc.
(not that it's needed much as there is only one review so far)

As you know, I stand pretty much opposite to you on your vision of
the future for Boost,

We don't disagree on everything.  We both agree that Boost has to evolve.

I look at the most successful
open source orgs and what they do and we do not, and I think we
should copy them.

I'm not sure which open source orgs are more successful than boost.
The ones that occur to me like gcc, mysql, etc.  Are built around
"products" so I'm not convinced they are good models for us.
Boost has been VERY successful.


That, as you correctly observed, means Boost turns
into a funding acquisition and dispensing machine which
actively promotes its vision of the future of C++ by obtaining
funding and
dispensing funding on the items it thinks will return the most
benefits to its
future. Very different to before of course, it's more of an open
source
business than anything involving coding and the skills demanded are
managerial and business ones, not engineering. But that's the
marketplace right now, we either have to step up to compete or wither
in the face of competition.

We're 180 degrees apart on this.

I think Boost has to aim to do less, outsource everything it can, become smaller,
and more "agile". It has to look less like a "product" where development is the responsibility of
some sort of concensus procedure  and more like a "marketplace" where
the central authority confines itself the to the "rules of the game" and
lets the chips fall where they may.

And the incubator is a manifestation of this.  It's not the result of a consensus
and/or compromise in some sort of committee.  It's one man's (hopefully) logically coherent vision of
a feature to be added to boost - which Boost can choose to embrace or  ignore.

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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Gordon Woodhull
In reply to this post by Niall Douglas

> On Nov 5, 2014, at 4:32 PM, Niall Douglas <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> 4. Begin work on drafting new rules for submitting a new Boost
> library to default to the Incubator, the old method of going via the
> wizards is removed.

We did update the formal review process and related pages to invite people to use the Incubator to garner feedback before their library is ready for a formal review. [*]

I don't think Robert ever intended the Incubator to replace the formal review or the role of the Wizards.

Instead, IMO it is better thought of as a replacement for the unscheduled part of the review schedule (aka the Queue), and a better way to verify the basic requirements for submitting a library. And reviews can be submitted and responded to before the formal review, without getting buried in the mailing list.

Cheers,
Gordon

* as well as updating those pages to reflect current practice. See https://github.com/boostorg/website/pull/37 & 38

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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Robert Ramey
Gordon Woodhull wrote
I don't think Robert ever intended the Incubator to replace the formal review or the role of the Wizards.

Instead, IMO it is better thought of as a replacement for the unscheduled part of the review schedule (aka the Queue), and a better way to verify the basic requirements for submitting a library. And reviews can be submitted and responded to before the formal review, without getting buried in the mailing list.
Basically correct.  I think the boost review process has been the single most important innovation that boost has made.  I believe that without this idea - boost (and C++) would not be where they are today.  The fact that it is NOT a voting process but places the final decision in the hands of one publicly named person makes it entirely different than other attempts at evaluating software.  Software quality is not determined by consensus but rather by people making decisions they must take responsibility for.

My intention is to preserve all of the above - just make it easier to use.  One aspect - the 1-2 week period is a good idea - but couples reviews to a narrow window.  The main idea of the incubator is to permit reviews to be made when a reviewer is ready to do it - and save them for later.  Again- I don't think the review process itself needs any change - we just need more reviews and that's what I'm trying to accomplish.

Robert Ramey
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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Felix Uhl
In reply to this post by Robert Ramey
Gordon Woodhull wrote:


> We did update the formal review process and related pages to

> invite people to use the Incubator to garner feedback before their library

 > is ready for a formal review. [*]


That’s how I found out about it, so I would say the submission to the incubator

is at least encouraged by

Considering that, it seems a bit weird that the incubator has so little activity.




> I don't think Robert ever intended the Incubator to replace the formal review or the role of the Wizards.
> Instead, IMO it is better thought of as a replacement for the unscheduled

> part of the review schedule (aka the Queue), and a better way to verify

> the basic requirements for submitting a library. And reviews can be

> submitted and responded to before the formal review,

> without getting buried in the mailing list.


That’s how I understood it, but from my - admittedly sparse - experience, the mailing list

is an excellent place for feedback, because it is guaranteed that quite a few people

will actually get the message.

When I have my library ready for submission to the incubator, how is anyone going

to notice it? Are enough people subscribed to the feeds that a library gets more

attention than in the mailing list, or at least attention from different groups of people?


It seems like the most fundamental element of the incubator is

a  dedicated community that is willing to participate, to test and

review. And it is clearly missing exactly that.


---

Felix Uhl

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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Robert Ramey
Felix Uhl wrote
That’s how I understood it, but from my - admittedly sparse - experience, the mailing list
is an excellent place for feedback, because it is guaranteed that quite a few people
will actually get the message.

When I have my library ready for submission to the incubator, how is anyone going
to notice it? Are enough people subscribed to the feeds that a library gets more
attention than in the mailing list, or at least attention from different groups of people?
a perennial problem.  Note that if you search "Safe Numerics" you'll find
the first link goes to the incubator so it is being indexed.  However, googling
Safe Integer doesn't get you there so it boils down to the same problem
that any web site has in getting the right people.
It seems like the most fundamental element of the incubator is
a  dedicated community that is willing to participate, to test and
review. And it is clearly missing exactly that.
Of course.  But this problem isn't unique to the incubator.  At boost
we've always been concerned about the very small numbers of
people who are willing to invest the effort to participate.  Can you
believe that we've had reviews where only two people in the
entire world posted reviews?  It's true!  I've tried to help
by making it more convenient to post a review.  I'm hoping that
will help - but we can always use more ideas (as long as I don't
have to implement them.)

I Am incrementally extending the incubator to add functionality which
I believe will be helpful.

I am also going to set aside time to recruit developers of existing
libraries to add them to the incubator (basically it's just filling out
a form).  You'd think that at least THAT would be easy.  But when
you start looking at all the C++ libraries in github - you find that
only about 3% meet the (very low) bar of requirements for inclusion
into the incubator.  Basically this is the existence of browsable
documentation and tests.  

If anyone happens upon a library which you think is a good one
and that library meets the minimum requirements for the
incubator - encourage them to submit it.

Robert Ramey
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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Richard-185
In reply to this post by Vladimir Prus-3
[Please do not mail me a copy of your followup]

Vladimir Prus <[hidden email]> spake the secret code
<m3fe5s$vun$[hidden email]> thusly:

>Say, if I can made per-line comments on proposed library code, like
>gerrit does, it would be rather useful.

You can do this on github already.

You can make comments on any line of any commit.

So, if you want to give line-by-line code review feedback of a library
and it's hosted on github, have at it.
--
"The Direct3D Graphics Pipeline" free book <http://tinyurl.com/d3d-pipeline>
     The Computer Graphics Museum <http://computergraphicsmuseum.org>
         The Terminals Wiki <http://terminals.classiccmp.org>
  Legalize Adulthood! (my blog) <http://legalizeadulthood.wordpress.com>


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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Richard-185
In reply to this post by Robert Ramey
[Please do not mail me a copy of your followup]

Robert Ramey <[hidden email]> spake the secret code
<[hidden email]> thusly:

>c) There are very few comments on the pages of the website and on the
>library pages.  So far there is only one formal review.  I'm sort of
>disappointed in this.

I confess that I tried it very early and had permissions problems.  I
haven't gotten enough cycles for this to wind back up to the top of my
queue again.  I believe the permission problems have been fixed, but I
haven't verified that for myself.
--
"The Direct3D Graphics Pipeline" free book <http://tinyurl.com/d3d-pipeline>
     The Computer Graphics Museum <http://computergraphicsmuseum.org>
         The Terminals Wiki <http://terminals.classiccmp.org>
  Legalize Adulthood! (my blog) <http://legalizeadulthood.wordpress.com>


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Re: Boost Incubator Status Report

Vladimir Prus-3
In reply to this post by Richard-185
On 11/07/2014 04:06 AM, Richard wrote:

> [Please do not mail me a copy of your followup]
>
> Vladimir Prus <[hidden email]> spake the secret code
> <m3fe5s$vun$[hidden email]> thusly:
>
>> Say, if I can made per-line comments on proposed library code, like
>> gerrit does, it would be rather useful.
>
> You can do this on github already.
>
> You can make comments on any line of any commit.

Presumably that's why I've said, earlier:

        In fact, maybe the best way to run a formal review (or informal review, whatever) is to post a link to github
        repository, where comments on the code can be made already, and issues created?

> So, if you want to give line-by-line code review feedback of a library
> and it's hosted on github, have at it.

Not sure whether you agree to the quoted hypothesis or not.

--
Vladimir Prus
CodeSourcery / Mentor Embedded
http://vladimirprus.com


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