Boxologic’s Cross Platformability

Last night we pushed code changes that makes Boxologic sanely buildable on OSX, Linux, and Windows. We also knocked out the way it used to require a specifically named input file (ending in .txt and following the ancient Windows 8.3 naming format), and added command line options for a help screen and version info.

Making it cross-platform was a unique experience for me. Making it compile on a modern unix machine was straightforward enough. Removing the windows-specific libraries and functions and migrating a few outdated functions were pretty much all it took.

Reworking command line options was a bit different though. In order to have mostly automatic option parsing, I was going to use the POSIX compliant getopt(). In fact I already had it working and commited at one point. But that required the use of a header unavailable on Windows systems unless you’re using something like MinGW as a compatibility layer. So then it became a question of examining what the long term goals of the project really are, if we’ll ever really have more than a handful of cli options that are easily managed manually without the use of getopt() and it’s GNU cousin getopt_long().

The answer turns out to be “Yes”. It’s more desirable to mange things manually and have simple cross-platform building than to strictly build for POSIX systems. So I reworked and committed code changes that compile out-of-the-box on OSX, Linux, and Windows. This project is turning out to be quite fun!

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