Re: [Rd] BOOST libraries

From: Dirk Eddelbuettel <edd_at_debian.org>
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2011 07:44:12 -0500

(Redirected from r-packages, which is supposed to be an annoucements-only list, to r-devel which is for R development questions.)

On 21 April 2011 at 08:10, Jay Emerson wrote:
| We have used the BOOST interprocess libraries in package bigmemory
| (and synchronicity, and ...) for about 3 years now. There is also a

RQuantLib switched to using Boost when QuantLib did in June 2004, or almost seven years ago.

| plan (more than tentative, but yet to actually happen) to provide a
| package on CRAN that will provide these for more efficient use (having
| multiple copies floating around across separate packages seems silly).
|
| If you are interested in this, please feel free to email me or Dirk
| (and if you are not aware of Rcpp et. al. you should have a look
| there, too).

Cedric is a list member of rcpp-devel.  

| >I would like to know whether anyone had experience using the C++ Boost
| >library within an R package, and how portable was the resulting package.

Packages are perfectly portable as that is a main goal of Boost. So in that sense the question is misdirected; few things are as 'portable' as Boost.

The issue is more about how to ensure _binary libraries_ are found if needed for linking. Boost itself is a (vast) collection of libraries (in the abstract sense of 'packages'), and only a few employ (binary) libraries. Many can be used in a pure template sense so that only headers are needed at compile time.

That is what Jay refers to above: we are contemplating creating a common boost headers package to be used by the half dozen packages shipping their own copies.

| >I am especially thinking of possible compiling problems on Windows and
| >Apple systems.
|
| >If anyone had any tips on how to render an R package using Boost
| >portable, that would be very much appreciated.

Back to the issue of finding Boost libraries: you can study existing packages. RQuantLib for example needs to use a configure snippet and a special case on Windows.

But in case you just want to use templates, look at RcppBDT --- an example package using Rcpp and its 'Rcpp modules' feature to easily access Boost Date_Time. It by choise does not use Date Time string parsing and formatting and hence uses only templated headers---and as such is easily buildable on Windows, OS X, ... as the CRAN page http://cran.r-project.org/package=RcppBDT and its links show.

Hope this helps, Dirk

-- 
Dirk Eddelbuettel | edd@debian.org | http://dirk.eddelbuettel.com

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