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C++ Boost

Bundled Properties

Class templates adjacency_list and adjacency_matrix support the introduction of named properties via internal properties. However, this method is cumbersome in many uses, where it would be more intuitive to just specify a structure or class that contains internal properties for edges or vertices. Bundled properties allow one to use adjacency_list and adjacency_matrix in this manner, providing a simple way to introduce and access any number of internal properties for vertices and edges.

One can introduce bundled properties into an either graph type by providing a user-defined class type for the VertexProperties or EdgeProperties template arguments. The user-defined class may alternatively be placed at the end of a property list, replacing the (implicit) boost::no_property argument.

Example: Route planning

Consider the implementation of a simple route planner that should find the shortest directions from one city to another via a set of highways. The vertices of the graph are cities, and we may wish to store several bits of information about the city within each vertex:

struct City
  string name;
  int population;
  vector<int> zipcodes;

The edges in the graph represent highways, which also have several interesting attributes:

struct Highway
  string name;
  double miles;
  int speed_limit;
  int lanes;
  bool divided;

With bundled properties, we can directly use the City and Highway structures to define the graph:

typedef boost::adjacency_list<
    boost::listS, boost::vecS, boost::bidirectionalS,
    City, Highway>

Without bundled properties, translating this example directly into an instantiation of adjacency_list would involve several custom properties and would result in a type like this:

typedef boost::adjacency_list<
    boost::listS, boost::vecS, boost::bidirectionalS,
    // Vertex properties
    boost::property<boost::vertex_name_t, std::string,
    boost::property<population_t, int,
    boost::property<zipcodes_t, std::vector<int> > > >,
    // Edge properties
    boost::property<boost::edge_name_t, std::string,
    boost::property<boost::edge_weight_t, double,
    boost::property<edge_speed_limit_t, int,
    boost::property<edge_lanes_t, int,
    boost::property<edge_divided, bool> > > > > >

Bundling vertex and edge properties greatly simplifies the declaration of graphs.

In addition to vertex and edge bundles, we can also bundle properties of the graph itself. Suppopse we extend the application to include a portfolio of route-planning maps for different countries. In addition to the City and Highway bundles above, we can declare a graph bundle, Country.

struct Country {
  string name;
  bool use_right;   // Drive on the left or right
  bool use_metric;  // mph or km/h

The graph would now be declared as:

typedef boost::adjacency_list<
    boost::listS, boost::vecS, boost::bidirectionalS,
    City, Highway, Country>

Accessing bundled properties

To access a bundled property for a particular edge or vertex, subscript your graph with the descriptor of the edge or vertex whose bundled property you wish to access. For instance:

Map map; // load the map
Map::vertex_descriptor v = *vertices(map).first;
map[v].name = "Troy";
map[v].population = 49170;
Map::edge_descriptor e = *out_edges(v, map).first;
map[e].name = "I-87";
map[e].miles = 10.;
map[e].speed_limit = 65;
map[e].lanes = 4;
map[e].divided = true;

The graph bundle, since it does not correspond to a vertex or edge descripor is accessed using the graph_bundle object as a key.

map[graph_bundle].name = "United States";
map[graph_bundle].use_right = true;
map[graph_bundle].use_metric = false;

Properties maps from bundled properties

Often one needs to create a property map from an internal property for use in a generic algorithm. For instance, using the graph without bundled properties we might invoke Dijkstra's shortest paths algorithm like this:

vector<double> distances(num_vertices(map));
dijkstra_shortest_paths(map, from,
      weight_map(get(edge_length, map))
                                               get(vertex_index, map))));

With bundled properties, we can just pass a member pointer as the property for get. The equivalent example using bundled properties is:

vector<double> distances(num_vertices(map));
dijkstra_shortest_paths(map, from,
      weight_map(get(&Highway::miles, map))
                                               get(vertex_index, map))));

The type of the returned property map is property_map<Map, double Highway::*>::type or property_map<Map, double Highway::*>::const_type, depending on whether the graph map is non-constant or constant.

You may also access the entire vertex or edge bundle as a property map using the vertex_bundle or edge_bundle properties, respectively. For instance, the property map returned by get(vertex_bundle, map) is an Lvalue Property Map providing access to the City values stored in each vertex.

Property maps for a graph bundle

There is currently no support for creating property maps from the bundled properties of a graph.

Getting the type of bundled properties

To get the type of the vertex or edge bundle for a given graph type Graph, you can use the trait classes vertex_bundle_type and edge_bundle_type. The type vertex_bundle_type<Graph>::type will be the type bundled with vertices (or no_vertex_bundle if the graph supports bundles but no vertex bundle exists). Likewise, edge_bundle_type<Graph>::type will be the type bundled with edges (or no_edge_bundle if no edge bundle exists).


Bundled properties will only work properly on compilers that support class template partial specialization.

Copyright © 2004 Doug Gregor.
Last modified: Fri May 7 10:56:01 EDT 2004