These days I'm seizing some of my free time to continue what I did as my SoC 2006 project: the Boost.Process library. There is still a lot of work to be done, but some items are annoying enough to require early attention (well, I can't speak of "early" because I hadn't touched the code for months).

Boost.Process aims to be a cross-platform library and currently works under POSIX-based systems (such as Linux, NetBSD or Mac OS X) as well as under Win32 systems. However, developing such a thing is not easy if you don't have concurrent access to both systems to test your code as you go. That is because, past summer, Win32 support was "second class": I first coded everything under NetBSD and, eventually, I fired up my Windows XP installation and fixed any problems that arised due to the new code. This was suboptimal and really slowed down the development of the library.

Now, with a MacBook Pro and Parallels Desktop for Mac, these issues have gone away. I can now code under whichever system I want and immediately test my changes on the other system without having to reboot! It's so convenient...

And, with Coherence mode, everything is so transparent... just check out the following screenshot:

To make things better I could share the project's code over the virtual network to avoid having to commit changes to the public repository before having tested them on the two systems. If you inspect the logs, you'll see many "Add feature X" commits followed by a "Fix previous under Win32". But it is a minor issue right now.

Kudos to the Parallels developers, who made this possible and painless. I now understand the "computer as a tool" paradigm rather than a "computer as a hobby".

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