Re: template libraries - to build or not to build?

Ulrich Eckhardt <>
Tue, 25 Nov 2008 10:09:50 CST
Piotr Dobrogost wrote:

Let's say we have a template library with most of the source being
templates but with some non template functions/classes as well.

Is there any purpose to tell users of the library to build it into an
library's file?

Depends. Compiling it into the user's code means effectively means static
linking with all its disadvantages (inefficient RAM use due to not sharing
any code with other running programs). However, it can also mean decreased
size, because you can't load part of a dynamic library even if you only
really need a fraction thereof. Further, it might be faster, because it
involves one less level of indirection during function calls and the whole
code is available to the compiler for optimisations.

Since source code of the library has to be shipped
anyway and since most of library's code used would need to be
generated during compilation of users' source and put directly into
their executable I think there is no gain in doing it.

I have a Boost branch in the work where I'm trying to let users just
#include<boost/python/compile_in_place.cpp> instead of having to compile
and link the library. This of course has quite some compile-time overhead
because it always compiles the whole library, but it otherwise works.
Further, it allows easier prototyping (no libraries for various different
compilers to install, no weird runtime behaviour due to ABI changes etc).

If the amount of precompilable code is small, I wouldn't bother creating a
separate DLL.


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