REVIEW - Beyond the C++ Standard Library - An Introduction to Boost


Beyond the C++ Standard Library

An Introduction to Boost


Björn Karlsson



Addison-Wesley Professional (2006)




Francis Glassborow


February 2006



I expect most readers of this review are already well aware of Boost and the work it has been doing for the last ten years to develop robust and well designed libraries for C++. Quite a number of these have been further refined and released in the Library Technical Report. Even more of them are likely to be added to the next full release of C++ (due circa 2009).

In theory you do not need this book because you can get all the documentation you need from the Web. However, in practice many people like documentation in book form and this book covers 12 of the Boost Libraries. It starts with a chapter on the Smart Pointer library and ends with one on Signals. It covers a good deal of ground in between including chapters on Regex (regular expressions and Lambda.

Each chapter starts with a short piece on how the author thinks this library (the one being covered in the chapter) will improve your programs. It then covers the substance of the library. In each case you will acquire enough knowledge to decide whether you should look at the library in detail be collecting it from the Boost website.

The introduction to the book gives very brief notes on many other Boost libraries.

Unless you are already well familiar with what Boost has to offer, taking time to read this book will be an excellent investment. Unfortunately, there are still software shops who reject all libraries that have not been written in house. We can do little about them except to repeatedly tell them that the result is not a cost effective use of their employees. Others happily use the libraries that come with their development tools, assuming that this will be of high quality, yet still refuse to countenance use of such free libraries as those provided by Boost. The rest of us know that the most thoroughly designed, implemented and tested libraries are those from Boost.

Every self-respecting C++ programmer should be familiar with Boost and have more than a passing knowledge of its major libraries. This book makes acquiring such knowledge easy. If you are not yet familiar with what Boost has to offer, buy this book.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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