Boost Libraries — C++ Libraries for Intermediate Programmers
Although Python has gained immense popularity among programmers, C++ is still widely used because of its speed and obviously the STL support.
The aim of this article is to showcase some of the lesser-used Boost Library functions that have been hailed by famous C++ experts, Herb Sutter and Andrei Alexandrescu.
To use the Boost Library one will have to first download it. The link explaining the process for Visual Studio Code users is here.
If you use Code::Blocks then follow this process.
Let’s get started!
Checking for a palindrome
The following code shows the usual (cumbersome) way of checking if an array is a palindrome.
This is how you could check for a palindrome using Boost.Algorithm .
Note that this function also considers an empty range and a single element as palindromes.
Here I have chosen arrays as an example but this function could also be used for C-strings.
To check if two arrays are equal, you'd usually write a separate function involving ‘for loop’ as shown below.
The ‘equal’ function allows you to check if two arrays are the same with just one line of code.
‘std::equal’ from the ‘algorithm’ header file also has the same functionality.
Checking for duplicates
Suppose you want to find if your array consist of exactly one occurrence of a specific element this is probably what you'd do :
The ‘one_of_equal’ function makes it much easier to check if an element in an array exists and has no duplicates. This is also similar to the function ‘one_of’ which takes a predicate function as the third parameter instead of a value.
int, long int or some other data type?
If you’re unsure about how much precision is needed, just let Boost.Multiprecison decide for you. ‘cpp_int’ can be used as the data type in these cases.
Sequence of numbers
The ‘iota_n’ function, can be used to generate a sequence of numbers. The parameters are an output iterator, starting value and the number of values.
The function ‘iota’ is similar to ‘iota_n’, the only difference is that ‘iota’ expects two iterators specifying the beginning and the ending of the container.
Merging vectors in order
If you want to preserve the order of elements in the vector and merge another vector, then ‘push_front’ is the function to use, it only takes the vectors as the parameters. This function adds one vector in front of the other without changing the sequence of elements.
A function similar to ‘push_front’ is ‘push_back’. As the name suggests, it adds a second vector towards the end of the first vector.
As mentioned before, this by no means is a comprehensive guide. I have only scratched the surface on what's possible using the Boost Libraries. If you find this helpful, I would encourage you to have a look at the official Boost Library documentation wherein you may find some useful libraries and functions that would help you in your project.
There’s always something new to explore in every programming language no matter how skilled you are. In my opinion, the best way to move forward would be to expand your horizons and incorporate something new that you haven’t tried yet or explored.