This section presents preliminary information to start using this library.
Programmers should be able to start using this library after reading the Introduction, Getting Started, and Tutorial. Other sections of this documentation (e.g., Advanced and Extras) can be consulted at a later point to gain a more in-depth knowledge of the library. Contract Programming Overview can be skipped by programmers that are already familiar with the contract programming methodology.
Some of the source code listed in this documentation contains special code
comments of the form
//]. These mark sections
of the code that are automatically extracted from the source code and presented
as part of this documentation.  It should be noted that the purpose of all examples of this documentation
is to illustrate how to use this library and not to represent real product
Some footnotes are marked by the word "Rationale". These explain some of the decisions made during the design and implementation of this library.
In general, this library requires C++ compilers with a sound implementation of SFINAE and other template meta-programming techniques supported by the C++03 standard. It is possible to use this library without C++11 lambda functions but a large amount of boiler-plate code is required to manually program separate functor to specify preconditions, postconditions, etc. (so using this library without C++11 lambda functions is possible but not recommended, see No Lambda Functions). It is also possible to use this library without variadic macros by manually programming a small amount of boiler-plate code (but most if not all modern C++ compilers support variadic macros even before C++99 and C++11 so this should never be needed in practice, see No Macros).
Some parts of this documentation use the syntax
to indicate an operator logically equivalent to C++11
decltype(...). However, this library implementation
does not actually use type deduction in these cases (because the library
already knows the types in question) so support for C++11
and other type-of implementations are not actually required by this library
(that is why
type-of and not the
decltype operator is used
in this documentation).
This library has been developed and tested using:
For information on other compilers and platforms see the library regression tests.
It is strongly recommended to compile and use this library as a shared
library (a.k.a., Dynamically Linked Library or DLL) by defining the
It is possible to compile and use this library as a static library (by
All headers required by this library can be included at once by:
Or, by the following when using the library macro interface (see Disable Contract Compilation):
boost/contract/*.hpp headers are independent
from one another and they can be selectively included one-by-one based on
the specific functionality of this library being used (but this was measured
to not make an appreciable difference in compile-time so
can be included directly in most cases). The
headers are not independent from other headers and they do not need to be
directly included in user code when
boost/contract/*.hpp headers are included already.
All files under
boost/contract/detail/, names in the
boost::contract::detail namespace, macros starting with
and all names starting with
boost_contract_detail... (in any namespace, including user-defined
namespaces) are part of this library implementation and should never be used
directly in user code. Names starting with
BOOST_CONTRACT_ERROR... are used by this library to report some
compile-time errors (so spotting these names in compiler error messages might
 Rationale: This allows to make sure that most of the example code presented in this documentation is always up-to-date, builds and runs with the latest implementation of the library.