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README.md

biicodizer

A biicode blocks generator. It is a simple-to-use python script to manage the adaptation process, given a block description file written by the developer.

biicode is a dependency manager for C and C++. It's CMake based, so taking an existing library and building up a biicode block to deploy the library is quite simple.

When to use biicodizer?

biicodizer is great when you have libraries you want to automatically publish to biicode. Follows automated steps to adapt existing libraries to biicode. Moves source files into the block and updates the #include directives to match current locations.

Just focus on your CMakeLists.txt. Use CMake to make libraries portable: tune your sources and CMakeLists.txt. Once working, share and use the library across multiple platforms with biicode. As simple as: #include <your_biicode_user/your_library/header.hpp>.

  • When you know the steps to adapt the library
  • When following up on a previous lib version

When not to use biicodizer?

biicodizer possibilities seem endless, but there are some scenarios where using this feature at first doesn't make sense.

  • When a library requires a full personalized adaptation.
  • When there's too much stuff to manage. (as 3rd party libs)

Anatomy of a biicode block

A biicode block contains all the sources plus some configuration files, such as the CMakeLists.txt file or biicode's setting-files located under the bii/ folder, biicode needs those to correctly build and link a block within other blocks.

This is the typical folder structure of a biicode block:

+-- user/block
|    +-- bii
|    |    +-- paths.bii
|    |    +-- parents.bii
|    |    etc
|    |
|    +-- foo.hpp
|    +-- foo.cpp   
|    +-- CMakelists.txt
|    |
|    +-- README.md
|    +-- LICENSE     

Note how sources are placed inside the block root directory, instead of the common include/ and src/ folders you may have in your codebase. That's to follow the #include <user/block/foo.hpp> convention, instead of the "uglier" (this can be subjective...) #include <user/block/include/foo.hpp>.

There's usually a LICENSE file, and a README.md file, both at the block root directory.

The biicodization process

Here's a C++ library called "stackie" which provides the most basic data structures alla Standard Library, such as a linked list, an array, a stack, etc. This is its codebase:

+-- stackie
|    +-- include
|    |    +-- stack.hpp
|    |    +-- array.hpp
|    |    +-- list.hpp
|    |    +-- vector.hpp
|    +-- src
|    |    +-- stack.cpp
|    |    +-- array.cpp
|    |    +-- list.cpp
|    |    +-- vector.cpp
|    +-- test
|    |    +-- test.cpp
|    |
|    +-- README.md
|    +-- LICENSE

The headers, the sources, and a simple unit testing file.

Traditional way to use stackie involves: download appropriate version, include the headers, and then compile and link all the .cpp files:

$ ls
  use_stackie.cpp
$ git clone https://github.com/developer/stackie.git
  Resolving deltas, blah, blah...
$ ls 
$ g++ ...
$ g++ ...
$ g++ ...
$ ...

Boring. Let's biicodize stackie to make its use simpler.

First of all, this is the kind of #include users will write to use stackie:

#include <developer/stackie/stack.hpp>

int main()
{
    stk::stack stack;
}

And this is how the developer/stackie block will look like:

+-- developer/stackie
|    +-- bii
|    |    +-- paths.bii
|    |
|    +-- stack.hpp
|    +-- array.hpp
|    +-- list.hpp
|    +-- vector.hpp
|    |
|    +-- src
|    |    +-- stack.cpp
|    |    +-- array.cpp
|    |    +-- list.cpp
|    |    +-- vector.cpp
|    |
|    +-- README.md
|    +-- LICENSE
|    +-- CMakelists.txt

These are the steps to create/update developer/stackie block:

  • Create/open the block.
  • Copy the contents of the include/ directory of stackie codebase into the block's root directory.
  • Copy the src/ folder into the block's root directory.
  • Replace all references to include/ to #include directives with "developer/stackie/".
  • Copy README.md and LICENSE files into the block root directory.
  • Copy biicode setup files (CMakelists.txt, paths.bii, etc) into their corresponding locations. At this time the tool only lets you specify those files manually.

The biicodize.yml file

biicodizer provides a way to automatize the biicodization process shown above with a simple YAML description file called biicodize.yml. biicodize.yml describes all information and transformations needed to translate your codebase into a biicode block.

Let's see an example for stackie:

block:
  global:
    username: developer
    blockname: stackie
    readme: README.md : /README.md
    license: LICENSE : /LICENSE
  source:
    include:
      - include/ : /
    src:
      - src/ : /src/
  build:
    cmakelists: CMakeLists.txt.biicode : /CMakeLists.txt
    paths: paths.bii : /bii/paths.bii

biicodizer translation patterns

biicodization mostly consists on copying source files to a new location inside the block and updating the #include directives to match that new locations.

biicodize.yml file uses patterns like [SOURCE] : [DEST], where SOURCE is a path (file or folder) from your codebase, and DEST is its new path relative to the block's root directory (Note the /).

For example, in stackie's codebase there is a CMakeLists.txt.biicode file which stands as the CMake file for our block. Named as .biicode not to be confused with the original library CMake file. With the translation pattern, it is placed in the block and renamed to CMakelists.txt.

This translation works on folders too, note how headers are biicodized, the include/ folder is directly translated instead of translating each file one by one.

Second DEST field is completely optional. Just with the SOURCE, biicodizer supposes the path is exactly the same, just relative to the block's root directory. For example:

block:
  source:
    src:
      - src/foo.cpp
      - src/bar.cpp

biicodizer will place both src/foo.cpp and src/bar.cpp files at username/blockname/src/.

global entry

global entry provides information about the block: Its name, the biicode user who maintains the block, its readme file, license, etc.

Only username: and blockname: fields are required, others are optional.

source: entry

source: entry does the mapping of your C/C++ source files, with two different subentries include: and src: for headers and source files respectively.
Each subentry contains a list of files specified via translation patterns.

block:
  source:
    include:
      - include/foo.hpp : /foo.hpp
      - include/bar.hpp : /bar.hpp
    src:
      - src/foo.cpp
      - src/bar.cpp

data: entry

data: entry allows you to include more than just source files into your blocks, such as assets, binaries, etc.

Entries of data: extend the translation pattern with specific syntax to specify which file depends on which data. With this, biicode knows what data it has to retrieve if the file is used/requested.

Syntax is as follows:

[TRANSLATION PATTERN] -> [FILE/FOLDER]

An Example

Manu writes a game engine and deploys it via biicode. Manu also writes an example block with a simple game, that game uses some assets like sprites, sound effects, etc.

This is Manu's game structure:

+-- game
|    +-- assets
|    |    +-- pong
|    |    |    +-- pong.wav
|    |    |    +-- ball.png
|    |    |
|    |    +-- tetris
|    |         +-- tetris_song.mp3
|    |         +-- spritesheet.png
|    |     
|    +-- pong.cpp
|    +-- tetris.cpp  

As you can see, assets folder is organized by examples, there is one folder per example.

To specify to biicode to download pong's assets only if pong example is used, and exactly the same for the tetris example.

As : pong.cpp depends on assets/pong/, and tetris.cpp depends on assets/tetris/: just write:

block:
  data:
    - assets/pong/ -> pong.cpp
    - assets/tetris/ -> tetris.cpp