Wednesday, September 3, 2008

FastFormat is unleashed: v0.2.1 (alpha 1) released

FastFormat is an Open Source C/C++ Output/Formatting library, whose design parameters are 100% type-safety, efficiency, genericity and extensibility. It is simple to use and extend, highly-portable (platform and compiler-independent) and, best of all, it upholds the C tradition of you only pay for what you use.

FastFormat supports output/formatting of statements of arbitrary complexity, consisting of heterogeneous types.

FastFormat writes to output "sinks", which can be of arbitrary type. It implicitly supports any type that is structurally conformant with the standard library's string, and the library includes adaptors to allow writing to std::ostream, FILE*, speech (currently Windows-only), STLSoft's auto_buffer, C-style string buffers, and character buffers. Adaptation to a new type merely requires the definition of a single function.

FastFormat is fast. The processing of each statement involves at most one memory allocation to hold the entire statement, and each statement element is measured and copied exactly once. As a consequence, the library is on a par with (the type-unsafe) C's Streams (printf()-family) of functions, faster than C++'s IOStreams, and considerably faster than Boost.Format. Comprehensive performance analyses are underway; initial results of a realistic scenario on Windows (32-bit) with Visual C++ 9 shows FastFormat is approximately 3 x faster than C's Streams, 6 x faster than C++'s IOStreams, and 17 x faster than Boost.Format.

FastFormat supports I18N/L10N by using numbered arguments, enabling reordering of arguments by exchanging format strings. The library comes with a number of resource bundles, classes whose instances can load sets of localised resource strings for use as format strings.

FastFormat does not contain any compiler-specific or platform-specific constructs. It supports UNIX (including Linux and Mac OS-X), and Windows, and should work with any operating system. It is known to be compatible with Comeau (4.3.3+), GCC (3.4+), Intel (8+), Metrowerks (8+), Microsoft Visual C++ (6.0+), and should work with any reasonably modern C++ compiler.

FastFormat is completely free and includes source released under a BSD-style license. Commercial customisations and related consultancy are provided by Synesis Software Pty Ltd;

Release 0.2.1 alpha 1 is the first public release.

Note: this release of FastFormat requires STLSoft 1.9.50, or later. Download from

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