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Reading input files in your C++ research code

Mechanics research codes are typically written by graduate students who aim to get their work done as quickly as possible. These codes are not meant to last beyond the publication of a few related papers. These files have the advantage that they can be read in quickly using an input file stream and the code for doing that can be written in minutes. 

But sometimes these code last beyond the tenure of the student, and some other person (or the student her/himself) has to try to understand the format of the input file. That process can take hours and sometimes days, especially if the format has not been documented and the next person has to dig into the code to understand what each of the numbers means.

I address the problem in my new blog post at where I explain how to design XML input files and read them in quickly.  A post on JSON input files will follow (hopefully soon).

-- Biswajit

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