Suppose I am writing a C++ library that I intend to distribute in binary form, with interfaces from other languages (e.g. Python). The 'easy' approach of just compiling the library and distributing the DLL or Framework does not work well.
For it to work you need to compile the library with every supported compiler and every supported compiler option, and bad things can happen if you don't.
The problem is because C++'s ABI is in general not stable, and the ABI of the STL is definitely not stable. A sort of solution is to stick to 'simple' C++ in your public API - simple classes with basic types. The problem with that is you don't get to use the STL's nice types like
std::string and `std::vector and end up reimplementing them.
So I'm wondering if there is a better solution using a library Interface Definition Language (IDL). There are loads of these for network protocols, like Thrift, Protobuf, gRPC, CapnProto, etc. Is there one for libraries?
The ideal solution would then take this IDL file, generate a C->C++ wrapper around the C++ library, so that its ABI is now the C ABI. It could then also generate open source wrappers around the C library for whatever language you wanted (including C++).
I know it is kind of insane to wrap C++ with a C API and then wrap that with a C++ API. But I can't see a better way.
Does this exist? Is it insane? Is there a better way?