CppCon Program Highlights, 7 of N: (More) Boost

The CppCon 2014 conference program has been posted for the upcoming September conference. We've received requests that the program continue to be posted in "bite-sized" posts, a few sessions at a time, to make the 100+ sessions easier to absorb, so here is another set of talks. This series of posts will conclude once the entire conference program has been posted in this way.


The Boost.org libraries are central to Modern C++, and so CppCon includes thorough coverage of the "what's new and/or important" in Boost. Several Boost talks have already been mentioned in this blog post series about using Boost in particular domains -- here are additional Boost talks not yet posted here.

Breaking news: We start this post with a talk on Boost.ASIO because if you haven't learned ASIO yet, you'll certainly want to -- as of June 2014 it is (finally) on the fast track for ISO standardization, so a September CppCon talk on ASIO is quite timely.

In this post:

  • Boost.Asio and Boost.Serialization: Designs for Object Transmission
  • Implementing Wire Protocols with Boost Fusion
  • Metaprogramming with Boost.Hana: Unifying Boost.Fusion and Boost.MPL
  • How You Can Make a Boost C++ Library


Boost.Asio and Boost.Serialization: Designs for Object Transmission

Network programming in C++ frequently requires programmers to find a way to express C++ objects as a sequence of bytes which can be transmitted and reconstructed on another network endpoint. In the case of simpler objects (such as most PODs), object serialization is trivial to perform.

For more complex C++ constructs (polymorphic objects, etc), the approach to serialization is more challenging. This talk will discuss how two powerful Boost libraries, Asio and Serialization, can be used to craft C++ networking code that can handle a vast array of uses cases. A prototype for a message passing framework will be developed throughout the talk.

Programmers familiar with or interested in network programming (but perhaps unfamiliar with Boost.Asio, Boost.Serialization or both) are the intended audience. No prior knowledge of Boost.Asio and Boost.Serialization will be assumed, and alternatives to both libraries will be discussed.

Speaker: Bryce Adelstein-Lelbach Bryce Adelstein-Lelbach is a researcher at the Center of Computation and Technology (CCT) at Louisiana State University. He works on the HPX runtime system and his research interests include parallel and distributed programming frameworks for scientific applications. He has been working on HPX for over a year now.


Implementing Wire Protocols with Boost Fusion

There are a number of common serialization formats available which work well for marshaling C++ types into messaging protocols, e.g. ProtoBufs, Thrift, JSON, XML, FIX, etc. Unfortunately, not every protocol uses one of these popular encodings and instead implements a unique binary protocol. The classical "C" way of handling binary protocols is to use packed structs, unfortunately there are many binary protocols which are not particularly friendly to using this approach due to things like nested variable length data structures, etc.. The packed struct approach is also fairly limited in that it only generally supports primitive POD types.

This talk will explore an approach that uses Boost's Fusion library to implement an easily extensible serialization mechanism for on a non-trivial binary financial exchange protocol which exposes the underlying data in terms of "modern" C++ types. The talk will also cover aspects of general use of Boost Fusion and Boost MPL, type traits, enable_if, SFINAE, and other members of the C++ type system bestiary.

Speaker: Thomas Rodgers, Senior Software Engineer, DRW Trading Group. Thomas has been programming in C++ since 1989 and a member of the C++ Standards Committee since 2013. Thomas has worked in the financial industry since 1996 and currently works for DRW Trading Group in Chicago.


Metaprogramming with Boost.Hana: Unifying Boost.Fusion and Boost.MPL

Template metaprogramming sucks. No, seriously; you might like the imposed purely functional paradigm, but not the templates themselves. While C++11 has made our life easier, even simple metaprograms are often hard to write, impossible to maintain and slow to compile; we need better abstractions. In this talk, I will present Boost.Hana (https://github.com/ldionne/hana), an experimental C++14 library for heterogeneous computation. The library takes metaprogramming to a whole new level of expressiveness by unifying the well-known Boost.MPL and Boost.Fusion libraries under a single generic, purely functional interface. The library incorporates some of the most recent advances in C++ metaprogramming; I will give an overview of the most interesting implementation techniques used internally. Finally, I will show concrete ways to use the library so you, as a developer, can write less template black magic, increase your productivity and spend less time in coffee breaks waiting for the compiler (sorry).

Speaker: Louis Dionne Louis is a programming enthusiast and math student living in Quebec City, Canada. He focuses mainly on metaprogramming and functional programming in C++ or other languages. Recently, he has been looking at ways to make C++ metaprogramming more enjoyable by combining C++11/1y techniques with functional programming concepts. In particular, he is working on this very topic as a GSoC student with Boost for the summer of 2014.Website: http://ldionne.com


How You Can Make a Boost C++ Library

The purpose of this presentation is to encourage C++ programmers to create and submit new quality C++ libraries to Boost.

Premises: a) C++ needs more quality libraries b) There are many C++ programmers who would like to contribute libraries but they are discouraged by the amount of effort and associated heartache.

Methodology: Walk through the website www.blincubator.com from the point of view of a C++ library contributor. It will address issues related to requirements, suggested tools, user feedback, library promotion. It will assume that the attendee is an intermediate to advanced C++ programmer with his own idea for a library.

Speaker: Robert Ramey Robert Ramey is a freelance Software Developer living in Santa Barbara, California. (See www.rrsd.com.) His long and varied career spans various aspects of software development including business data processing, product, embedded systems, custom software, and C++ library development. Lately, he has been mostly interested in C++ library design and implementation related to Boost. He is the author and maintainer of the Boost Serialization library and a frequent contributor to the Boost developers list. Website: http://www.rrsd.com


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