Every C++ developer most likely has at least heard about the Boost C++ Libraries. It is a set of highly generic C++ libraries aimed at a wide range of application domains. Most of the libraries are developed using state-of-the-art C++ and are either based on the existing C++ standard or provide reference implementations for future enhancements. Many of the libraries available so far have actually made it into the next version of the C++ standard (C++0x).
Even though the Boost C++ Libraries have been around for quite a while, it is still fairly hard to find any book on it. I actually know of only one so far: Bjoern Karlsson's 'Beyond the C++ Standard Library: An Introduction to Boost' published in 2005. It actually received mixed reviews but since I have yet to read it, I cannot comment on it. Given that it is from 2005, it is certainly somewhat outdated.
Due to the technical nature and complexity of the libraries included in Boost, starting out with Boost takes a fairly steep learning curve before one actually benefits from it. Many developers are quite afraid when they see the documentation and code samples. While the documentation for many of the libraries is quite useful and comprehensive, many times it is also technically challenging for the regular C++ developer not breathing the C++ standard.
Boris Schaeling, a German developer and consultant, set out to lower the barrier in 2008 by writing and publishing an electronic book about the Boost C++ Libraries. It is called 'Die Boost C++ Bibliotheken' and is available on his website. Unfortunately, it is written in German which certainly limits the potential audience.
When I looked through the book, I was quite amazed by the simplicity Boris achieved in conveying the information about the fairly technical subject. So amazed that I actually offered to translate his work to English in order to make it available to a broader audience. While it certainly took way longer than I originally anticipated, I am quite pleased that, as of today, the book is also available in English.
It currently contains 16 chapters covering many of the libraries available by Boost. It is licensed under a Creative Commons License and therefore can be used freely for non-commercial use. In addition, Boris also offers PDF and ePub versions of the book for a reasonable fee.
Just like the Boost C++ LIbraries itself, I expect the book to grow over time. I will continue to work with Boris in the future in order to keep both the German and English versions of the book in sync.
I would like to thank Boris again for his dedicated work as well as allowing me to actually translate this work. If you are a C++ developer, interested in getting a better understanding of Boost, I recommend heading over to his website and start reading...
"Software is like sex, it's better when it's free." - Linus Torvalds