The Boost C++ Libraries


The Boost C++ Libraries are a collection of modern libraries based on the C++ standard. The source code is released under the Boost Software License, which allows anyone to use, modify, and distribute the libraries for free. The libraries are platform independent and support most popular compilers, as well as many that are less well known.

The Boost community is responsible for developing and publishing the Boost libraries. The community consists of a relatively large group of C++ developers from around the world coordinated through the web site as well as several mailing lists. GitHub is used as the code repository. The mission statement of the community is to develop and collect high-quality libraries that complement the standard library. Libraries that prove of value and become important for the development of C++ applications stand a good chance of being included in the standard library at some point.

The Boost community emerged around 1998, when the first version of the standard was released. It has grown continuously since then and now plays a big role in the standardization of C++. Even though there is no formal relationship between the Boost community and the standardization committee, some of the developers are active in both groups. The current version of the C++ standard, which was approved in 2011, includes libraries that have their roots in the Boost community.

The Boost libraries are a good choice to increase productivity in C++ projects when your requirements go beyond what is available in the standard library. Because the Boost libraries evolve faster than the standard library, you have earlier access to new developments, and you don’t need to wait until those developments have been added to a new version of the standard library. Thus, you can benefit from progress made in the evolution of C++ faster, thanks to the Boost libraries.

Due to the excellent reputation of the Boost libraries, knowing them well can be a valuable skill for engineers. It is not unusual to be asked about the Boost libraries in an interview because developers who know these libraries are usually also familiar with the latest innovations in C++ and are able to write and understand modern C++ code.