Boost C++ Libraries

...one of the most highly regarded and expertly designed C++ library projects in the world. Herb Sutter and Andrei Alexandrescu, C++ Coding Standards

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Syntax Summary

Comments
Phrase Level Elements
Block Level Elements

A QuickBook document is composed of one or more blocks. An example of a block is the paragraph or a C++ code snippet. Some blocks have special mark-ups. Blocks, except code snippets which have their own grammar (C++ or Python), are composed of one or more phrases. A phrase can be a simple contiguous run of characters. Phrases can have special mark-ups. Marked up phrases can recursively contain other phrases, but cannot contain blocks. A terminal is a self contained block-level or phrase-level element that does not nest anything.

Blocks, in general, are delimited by two end-of-lines (the block terminator). Phrases in each block cannot contain a block terminator. This way, syntax errors such as un-matched closing brackets do not go haywire and corrupt anything past a single block.

Comments

Can be placed anywhere.

[/ comment (no output generated) ]

Phrase Level Elements

Font Styles

['italic], [*bold], [_underline], [^teletype], [-strikethrough]

will generate:

italic, bold, underline, teletype, strikethrough

Like all non-terminal phrase level elements, this can of course be nested:

[*['bold-italic]]

will generate:

bold-italic

Replaceable

When you want content that may or must be replaced by the user, use the syntax:

[~replacement]

This will generate:

replacement

Quotations

["A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?]--Einstein

will generate:

A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”--Einstein

Note the proper left and right quote marks. Also, while you can simply use ordinary quote marks like "quoted", our quotation, above, will generate correct DocBook quotations (e.g. <quote>quoted</quote>).

Like all phrase elements, quotations may be nested. Example:

["Here's the rule for bargains: ["Do other men, for they would do you.] That's
the true business precept.]

will generate:

Here's the rule for bargains: ‘Do other men, for they would do you.’ That's the true business precept.

Simple formatting

Simple markup for formatting text, common in many applications, is now supported:

/italic/, *bold*, _underline_, =teletype=

will generate:

italic, bold, underline, teletype

Unlike QuickBook's standard formatting scheme, the rules for simpler alternatives are much stricter.

  • Simple markups cannot nest. You can combine a simple markup with a nestable markup.
  • A non-space character must follow the leading markup
  • A non-space character must precede the trailing markup
  • A space or a punctuation must follow the trailing markup
  • If the matching markup cannot be found within a line, the formatting will not be applied. This is to ensure that un-matched formatting markups, which can be a common mistake, does not corrupt anything past a single line. We do not want the rest of the document to be rendered bold just because we forgot a trailing '*'.
  • A line starting with the star will be interpreted as an unordered list. See Unordered lists.

More Formatting Samples

Markup Result
*Bold* Bold
*Is bold* Is bold
* Not bold* *Not bold * * Not bold * * Not bold* *Not bold * * Not bold *
This*Isn't*Bold (no bold) This*Isn't*Bold (no bold)
(*Bold Inside*) (parenthesis not bold) (Bold Inside) (parenthesis not bold)
*(Bold Outside)* (parenthesis bold) (Bold Outside) (parenthesis bold)
3*4*5 = 60 (no bold) 3*4*5 = 60 (no bold)
3 * 4 * 5 = 60 (no bold) 3 * 4 * 5 = 60 (no bold)
3 *4* 5 = 60 (4 is bold) 3 4 5 = 60 (4 is bold)
*This is bold* this is not *but this is* This is bold this is not but this is
*This is bold*. This is bold.
*B*. (bold B) B. (bold B)
['*Bold-Italic*] Bold-Italic
note Thanks to David Barrett, author of Qwiki, for sharing these samples and teaching me these obscure formatting rules. I wasn't sure at all if Spirit, being more or less a formal EBNF parser, can handle the context sensitivity and ambiguity.

Inline code

Inlining code in paragraphs is quite common when writing C++ documentation. We provide a very simple markup for this. For example, this:

This text has inlined code `int main() { return 0; }` in it.

will generate:

This text has inlined code intmain(){return0;} in it. The code will be syntax highlighted.

note Note that we simply enclose the code with the tick: "`" , not the single quote: "'". Note too that `some code` is preferred over [^some code] .

Code blocks

Preformatted code simply starts with a space or a tab (See Code). However, such a simple syntax cannot be used as phrase elements in lists (See Ordered lists and Unordered lists), tables (See Tables), etc. Inline code (see above) can. The problem is, inline code does not allow formatting with newlines, spaces, and tabs. These are lost.

We provide a phrase level markup that is a mix between the two. By using the double-tick, instead of the single-tick, we are telling QuickBook to use preformatted blocks of code. Example:

``
    #include <iostream>

    int main()
    {
        std::cout << "Hello, World!" << std::endl;
        return 0;
    }
``

will generate:

#include<iostream>

intmain()
{
    std::cout<<"Hello, World!"<<std::endl;
    return0;
}

Source Mode

If a document contains more than one type of source code then the source mode may be changed dynamically as the document is processed. All QuickBook documents are initially in C++ mode by default, though an alternative initial value may be set in the Document section.

To change the source mode, use the [source-mode] markup, where source-mode is one of the supported modes. For example, this:

Python's [python] `import` is rather like C++'s [c++] `#include`. A
C++ comment `// looks like this` whereas a Python comment [python]
`# looks like this`.

will generate:

Python's import is rather like C++'s #include. A C++ comment // looks like this whereas a Python comment #looks like this.

Supported Source Modes

Mode Source Mode Markup
C++ [c++]
Python [python]
note The source mode strings are lowercase.

line-break

[br]
note Note that \n is now preferred over [br].

Anchors

[#named_anchor]

A named anchor is a hook that can be referenced by a link elsewhere in the document. You can then reference an anchor with [link named_anchor Some link text] . See Anchor links, Section and Heading.

Links

[@http://www.boost.org this is [*boost's] website....]

will generate:

this is boost's website....

URL links where the link text is the link itself is common. Example:

see http://spirit.sourceforge.net/

so, when the text is absent in a link markup, the URL is assumed. Example:

see [@http://spirit.sourceforge.net/]

will generate:

see http://spirit.sourceforge.net/

Anchor links

You can link within a document using:

[link section_id.normalized_header_text The link text]

See sections Section and Heading for more info.

refentry links

In addition, you can link internally to an XML refentry like:

[link xml.refentry The link text]

This gets converted into <link linkend="xml.refentry">The link text</link>.

Like URLs, the link text is optional. If this is not present, the link text will automatically be the refentry. Example:

[link xml.refentry]

This gets converted into <link linkend="xml.refentry">xml.refentry</link>.

Code Links

If you want to link to a function, class, member, enum or header in the reference section, you can use:

[funcref fully::qualified::function_name The link text]
[classref fully::qualified::class_name The link text]
[memberref fully::qualified::member_name The link text]
[enumref fully::qualified::enum_name The link text]
[headerref path/to/header.hpp The link text]

Again, the link text is optional. If this is not present, the link text will automatically be the function, class, member or enum. Example:

[classref boost::bar::baz]

would have "boost::bar::baz" as the link text.

Escape

The escape mark-up is used when we don't want to do any processing.

'''
escape (no processing/formatting)
'''

Escaping allows us to pass XML markup to BoostBook or DocBook. For example:

'''
<emphasis role="bold">This is direct XML markup</emphasis>
'''

This is direct XML markup

alert Be careful when using the escape. The text must conform to BoostBook/DocBook syntax.

Single char escape

The backslash may be used to escape a single punctuation character. The punctuation immediately after the backslash is passed without any processing. This is useful when we need to escape QuickBook punctuations such as [ and ]. For example, how do you escape the triple quote? Simple: \'\'\'

\n has a special meaning. It is used to generate line breaks. Note that \n is now preferred over [br].

Images

[$image.jpg]

Footnotes

As of version 1.3, QuickBook supports footnotes. Just put the text of the footnote in a [footnote] block, and the text will be put at the bottom of the current page. For example, this:

[footnote A sample footnote]

will generate this [2] .

Block Level Elements

Document

Every document must begin with a Document Info section, which should look like this:

[document-type The Document Title
    [quickbook 1.3]
    [version 1.0]
    [id the_document_name]
    [dirname the_document_dir]
    [copyright 2000 2002 2003 Joe Blow, Jane Doe]
    [purpose The document's reason for being]
    [category The document's category]
    [authors [Blow, Joe], [Doe, Jane]]
    [license The document's license]
    [source-mode source-type]
]

Where document-type is one of:

  • book
  • article
  • library
  • chapter
  • part
  • appendix
  • preface
  • qandadiv
  • qandaset
  • reference
  • set

quickbook 1.3 declares the version of quickbook the document is written for. In its absence, version 1.1 is assumed.

version, id, dirname, copyright, purpose, category, authors, license, last-revision and source-mode are optional information.

source-type is a lowercase string setting the initial Source Mode. If the source-mode field is omitted, a default value of c++ will be used.

Section

Starting a new section is accomplished with:

[section:id The Section Title]

where id is optional. id will be the filename of the generated section. If it is not present, "The Section Title" will be normalized and become the id. Valid characters are a-Z, A-Z, 0-9 and _. All non-valid characters are converted to underscore and all upper-case are converted to lower case. Thus: "The Section Title" will be normalized to "the_section_title".

End a section with:

[endsect]

Sections can nest, and that results in a hierarchy in the table of contents.

xinclude

You can include another XML file with:

[xinclude file.xml]

This is useful when file.xml has been generated by Doxygen and contains your reference section.

Paragraphs

Paragraphs start left-flushed and are terminated by two or more newlines. No markup is needed for paragraphs. QuickBook automatically detects paragraphs from the context. Block markups [section, endsect, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, blurb, (block-quote) ':', pre, def, table and include ] may also terminate a paragraph.

Lists

Ordered lists
# One
# Two
# Three

will generate:

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three
List Hierarchies

List hierarchies are supported. Example:

# One
# Two
# Three
    # Three.a
    # Three.b
    # Three.c
# Four
    # Four.a
        # Four.a.i
        # Four.a.ii
# Five

will generate:

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three
    1. Three.a
    2. Three.b
    3. Three.c
  4. Fourth
    1. Four.a
      1. Four.a.i
      2. Four.a.ii
  5. Five
Long List Lines

Long lines will be wrapped appropriately. Example:

# A short item.
# A very long item. A very long item. A very long item.
  A very long item. A very long item. A very long item.
  A very long item. A very long item. A very long item.
  A very long item. A very long item. A very long item.
  A very long item. A very long item. A very long item.
# A short item.
  1. A short item.
  2. A very long item. A very long item. A very long item. A very long item. A very long item. A very long item. A very long item. A very long item. A very long item. A very long item. A very long item. A very long item. A very long item. A very long item. A very long item.
  3. A short item.
Unordered lists
* First
* Second
* Third

will generate:

  • First
  • Second
  • Third
Mixed lists

Mixed lists (ordered and unordered) are supported. Example:

# One
# Two
# Three
    * Three.a
    * Three.b
    * Three.c
# Four

will generate:

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three
    • Three.a
    • Three.b
    • Three.c
  4. Four

And...

# 1
    * 1.a
        # 1.a.1
        # 1.a.2
    * 1.b
# 2
    * 2.a
    * 2.b
        # 2.b.1
        # 2.b.2
            * 2.b.2.a
            * 2.b.2.b

will generate:

  1. 1
    • 1.a
      1. 1.a.1
      2. 1.a.2
    • 1.b
  2. 2
    • 2.a
    • 2.b
      1. 2.b.1
      2. 2.b.2
        • 2.b.2.a
        • 2.b.2.b

Code

Preformatted code starts with a space or a tab. The code will be syntax highlighted according to the current Source Mode:

#include <iostream>

int main()
{
    // Sample code
    std::cout << "Hello, World\n";
    return 0;
}

import cgi

def cookForHtml(text):
    '''"Cooks" the input text for HTML.'''

    return cgi.escape(text)

Macros that are already defined are expanded in source code. Example:

[def __array__ [@http://www.boost.org/doc/html/array/reference.html array]]
[def __boost__ [@http://www.boost.org/libs/libraries.htm boost]]

    using __boost__::__array__;

Generates:

using boost::array;

Escaping Back To QuickBook

Inside code, code blocks and inline code, QuickBook does not allow any markup to avoid conflicts with the target syntax (e.g. c++). In case you need to switch back to QuickBook markup inside code, you can do so using a language specific escape-back delimiter. In C++ and Python, the delimiter is the double tick (back-quote): "``" and "``". Example:

void ``[@http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foo#Foo.2C_Bar_and_Baz foo]``()
{
}

Will generate:

void foo()
{
}

When escaping from code to QuickBook, only phrase level markups are allowed. Block level markups like lists, tables etc. are not allowed.

Preformatted

Sometimes, you don't want some preformatted text to be parsed as C++. In such cases, use the [pre ... ] markup block.

[pre

    Some *preformatted* text                    Some *preformatted* text

        Some *preformatted* text            Some *preformatted* text

            Some *preformatted* text    Some *preformatted* text

]

Spaces, tabs and newlines are rendered as-is. Unlike all quickbook block level markup, pre (and Code) are the only ones that allow multiple newlines. The markup above will generate:

Some preformatted text                    Some preformatted text

    Some preformatted text            Some preformatted text

        Some preformatted text    Some preformatted text

Notice that unlike Code, phrase markup such as font style is still permitted inside pre blocks.

Blockquote

[:sometext...]

Indents the paragraph. This applies to one paragraph only.

Admonitions

[note This is a note]
[tip This is a tip]
[important This is important]
[caution This is a caution]
[warning This is a warning]

generates DocBook admonitions:

[Note] Note

This is a note

[Tip] Tip

This is a tip

[Important] Important

This is important

[Caution] Caution

This is a caution

[Warning] Warning

This is a warning

These are the only admonitions supported by DocBook. So, for example [information This is some information] is unlikely to produce the desired effect.

Headings

[h1 Heading 1]
[h2 Heading 2]
[h3 Heading 3]
[h4 Heading 4]
[h5 Heading 5]
[h6 Heading 6]

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Heading 6

Headings 1-3 [h1 h2 and h3] will automatically have anchors with normalized names with name="section_id.normalized_header_text" (i.e. valid characters are a-z, A-Z, 0-9 and _. All non-valid characters are converted to underscore and all upper-case are converted to lower-case. For example: Heading 1 in section Section 2 will be normalized to section_2.heading_1). You can use:

[link section_id.normalized_header_text The link text]

to link to them. See Anchor links and Section for more info.

Macros

[def macro_identifier some text]

When a macro is defined, the identifier replaces the text anywhere in the file, in paragraphs, in markups, etc. macro_identifier is a string of non-white space characters except ']' while the replacement text can be any phrase (even marked up). Example:

[def sf_logo [$http://sourceforge.net/sflogo.php?group_id=28447&type=1]]
sf_logo

Now everywhere the sf_logo is placed, the picture will be inlined.

tip It's a good idea to use macro identifiers that are distinguishable. For instance, in this document, macro identifiers have two leading and trailing underscores (e.g. __spirit__ ). The reason is to avoid unwanted macro replacement.

Links (URLS) and images are good candidates for macros. 1) They tend to change a lot. It is a good idea to place all links and images in one place near the top to make it easy to make changes. 2) The syntax is not pretty. It's easier to read and write, e.g. __spirit__ than [@http://spirit.sourceforge.net Spirit] .

Some more examples:

[def :-)            [$theme/smiley.png]]
[def __spirit__     [@http://spirit.sourceforge.net Spirit]]

(See Images and Links)

Invoking these macros:

Hi __spirit__  :-)

will generate this:

Hi Spiritsmiley

Predefined Macros

Quickbook has some predefined macros that you can already use.

Predefined Macros

Macro Meaning Example
__DATE__ Today's date 2007-May-10
__TIME__ The current time 11:42:45 PM
__FILENAME__ Quickbook source filename /Users/witt/Documents/Project/BoostRelease/Doc/boost/doc/../tools/quickbook/doc/quickbook.qbk

Blurbs

[blurb :-) [*An eye catching advertisement or note...]\n\n
    __spirit__ is an object-oriented recursive-descent parser generator framework
    implemented using template meta-programming techniques. Expression templates
    allow us to approximate the syntax of Extended Backus-Normal Form (EBNF)
    completely in C++.
]

will generate this:

smileyAn eye catching advertisement or note...

Spirit is an object-oriented recursive-descent parser generator framework implemented using template meta-programming techniques. Expression templates allow us to approximate the syntax of Extended Backus-Normal Form (EBNF) completely in C++.

Tables

[table A Simple Table
    [[Heading 1] [Heading 2] [Heading 3]]
    [[R0-C0]     [R0-C1]     [R0-C2]]
    [[R1-C0]     [R1-C1]     [R1-C2]]
    [[R2-C0]     [R2-C1]     [R2-C2]]
]

will generate:

A Simple Table

Heading 1 Heading 2 Heading 3
R0-C0 R0-C1 R0-C2
R2-C0 R2-C1 R2-C2
R3-C0 R3-C1 R3-C2

The table title is optional. The first row of the table is automatically treated as the table header; that is, it is wrapped in <thead>...</thead> XML tags. Note that unlike the original QuickDoc, the columns are nested in [ cells... ]. The syntax is free-format and allows big cells to be formatted nicely. Example:

[table Table with fat cells
    [[Heading 1] [Heading 2]]
    [
        [Row 0, Col 0: a small cell]
        [
            Row 0, Col 1:
            A very big cell...A very big cell...A very big cell...
            A very big cell...A very big cell...A very big cell...
            A very big cell...A very big cell...A very big cell...
        ]
    ]
    [
        [Row 1, Col 0: a small cell]
        [Row 1, Col 1: a small cell]
    ]
]

and thus:

Table with fat cells

Heading 1 Heading 2
Row 0, Col 0: a small cell Row 0, Col 1: A very big cell...A very big cell...A very big cell... A very big cell...A very big cell...A very big cell... A very big cell...A very big cell...A very big cell...
Row 1, Col 0: a small cell Row 1, Col 1: a small cell

Here's how to have preformatted blocks of code in a table cell:

[table Table with code
    [[Comment] [Code]]
    [
        [My first program]
        [``
            #include <iostream>

            int main()
            {
                std::cout << "Hello, World!" << std::endl;
                return 0;
            }
        ``]
    ]
]

Table with code

Comment Code
My first program
#include <iostream>

intmain()
{
    std::cout<<"Hello, World!"<<std::endl;
    return0;
}

Variable Lists

[variablelist A Variable List
    [[term 1] [The definition of term 1]]
    [[term 2] [The definition of term 2]]
    [[term 3] [The definition of term 3]]
]

will generate:

A Variable List

term 1
The definition of term 1
term 2
The definition of term 2
term 3
The definition of term 3

The rules for variable lists are the same as for tables, except that only 2 "columns" are allowed. The first column contains the terms, and the second column contains the definitions. Those familiar with HTML will recognize this as a "definition list".

Include

You can include one QuickBook file from another. The syntax is simply:

[include someother.qbk]

The included file will be processed as if it had be cut and pasted into the current document, with the following exceptions:

  • The __FILENAME__ predefined macro will reflect the name of the file currently being processed.
  • Any macros defined in the included file are scoped to that file.

As the number of included QuickBook files grows, so too does the likelihood of two sections having the same name. Since QuickBook generates an anchor for each section based on the section name, it is possible to end up with two identically named anchors, leading to link ambiguities. To resolve these ambiguities, the [include] directive lets you specify a document id to use for the included file. You can use it like this:

[include:someid someother.qbk]

When using this form, all auto-generated anchors will use "someid" as a unique prefix. So for instance, if there is a section in someother.qbk named "Intro", the named anchor for that section will be "someid.intro", and you can link to it with [link someid.intro The Intro].



[2] A sample footnote

Copyright 2002, 2004 Joel de Guzman, Eric Niebler

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