C++ stylistic concerns?

Steve smorrey at gmail.com
Tue Mar 20 17:27:44 MDT 2007

Hello All,
I'm hoping someone with more experience in this matter than me can
answer a quick question about longterm code maintainance.

Up until now most of my code has been quick little "throw away" jobs,
stuff that I never expect to last long enough for maintainance to be a
major concern.

Now I've picked up a project that will be dual licensed with GPL and
an optional proprietary closed source license (so end users don't have
to open up their code base if they want to, instead they can just pay
a small fee).

Anyways, the heart of the project is a cross platform wrapper for
Windows Linux and Mac, it wraps OpenGL, Input and Sound, effectively
making a gaming library.

At first I tried the traditional approach of creating a couple .h
files for each unit interface, and a different .cpp file for each
platforms implementation.

I ran into a whole lot of compile time issues with this approach
mostly due to the fact that each system relies to one extent or
another on each of the other systems.

So I tried a new style I had read about.

In this style, you create a .h for your basic definitions on each
system, then you place a few #ifdefs for each platform and #include a
platform specific header to handle the implementation details.

It looks a little like this

namespace Platform{
        namespace GL{
             void Init(int width,int height,bool fullscreen);

#ifdef LINUX
#include "PlatformGLLinux.h"

#ifdef WINDOWS
#include "PlatformGLWindows.h"

#include "PlatformGLMac.h"

What concerns me most is the long term maintainability of the code,
something tells me I may be creating a maintainance nightmare by going
this route since the .h files are effectively just the *.cpp files
renamed to *.h

But I just can't put my finger on why this feels like a bad idea.
Maybe it's just because it's so different than anything I've done before.

On the bright side though a user of this library could just #include a
single header file to have access to the entire system, and just issue
a make on each platform without any need to retool (hopefully).

Anyways, if someone has seen this method of library creation before
and has any feedback it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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