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An experiment to implement Meson in C++

The project is advancing rapidly, but there's still a lot of work to do before it can be considered production ready.

What is the status of Meson++? Can I use it for my project?

Currently, Meson++ is capable of compiling simple C++ executables and static archives, as well as some custom_targets. There is a lot of functionality still missing, including dependencies.

Currently, I'm pushing toward getting meson++ to be self hosting, to that end some features may not be implemented completely, only enough to self host. Once self hosting is achieved, I'll begin to flesh out support and fix bugs.


Why another Meson implementation?

I had two reasons for doing this. First, it was an interesting challenge and a learning experience. I've never written something this big from scratch, and certainly not in a language that isn't Python.

Second, I wanted to solve Meson's bootstrap problem. Python is a fantastic language in a lot of ways, but, as a high level language it's easy to end up in a bootstrap loop, you need Python to build X which you need to build Python. Meson++ can avoid that be being written in a common low level language, and use conditional compilation to minimize dependencies.

Why C++‽ C++ is ...!

C++ is many things, some of them good, some of them bad. I personally feel that some of its bad reputation comes from those who've only experienced C++ before C++11, modern C++ is much nicer.

I did consider two other languages before I started writing, Rust and Haskell. Both of these languages have their strengths, and would have made some things easier. However, in both cases they would complicate my primary motivation, solving the boostrapping issue.

Given that goal, I really only had two choices: C and C++. I will choose C++ every time given those choices. It provides better cross platform interfaces, resource management (RAII), and programming features: generics, overloading, namespaces, strings that aren't char arrays, etc.

Differences between Meson and Meson++

Feature not bug compatibility

Meson++ strives for feature parity (currently aiming for Meson 0.58), but not bug parity. So Meson++ may advertise support for Meson >= 0.58.0, but may not have all of the bugs of 0.58.0.


Meson's modules represent a huge amount of time and energy to produce and maintain. I simply do not have the time and energy to re-implement every one of them to feature parity. I will make an effort to keep a few of the very common and important ones working, but help is very much welcome for the rest.

Command line and env variables

Though not yet implemented, Meson++ will likely not provide a drop-in replacement for Meson's cli interface. If there is need for that a wrapper script could be provided.


An experimental and incomplete implementation of Meson in C++, for solving Meson's bootstrapping issue.








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