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Developing a networking application in C++ involves a lot of different components, and the Boost libraries offer numerous options that might help you. Here are a few that are most directly applicable:

  • Boost.Asio: This is the most important library for your needs. Boost.Asio is a cross-platform C++ library for network and low-level I/O programming. It provides a consistent asynchronous model using a modern C++ approach. Boost.Asio supports a variety of network protocols, including ICMP, TCP, and UDP, and it can manage other resources such as serial ports, file descriptors, and even regular files.

  • Boost.Beast: This is a library built on top of Boost.Asio that provides implementations of HTTP and WebSocket. These are common protocols for network programming, so if your app needs to work with them, Boost.Beast can be a huge help.

  • Boost.Mysql: This library is also built on top of Boost.Asio, and provides a C++11 client for the MySQL and MariaDB database servers. As a library it is most useful when your app needs efficient and asynchronous access to one of these servers.

  • Boost.Redis: Redis (which stands for Remote Dictionary Server) is a popular in-memory data structure store, used in database, cache, and message broker applications. This library implements Redis plain text protocol RESP3. It can multiplex any number of client requests, responses, and server pushes onto a single active socket connection to the Redis server.

  • Boost.Endian: Provides facilities for dealing with data that is represented in different byte orders. This is a common issue in network programming because different machines may represent multi-byte integers differently.

  • Boost.Spirit: If you’re creating a new protocol or using a lesser-known one, Boost.Spirit, a parser generator framework, could be useful. It allows you to define grammar rules that can parse complex data structures sent over the network.

  • Boost.Json: An efficient library for parsing, serializing, and manipulating JSON data. This is useful specifically in client-server communication and web services. Also, if you are working with large JSON payloads, there is support for incremental parsing, so you can feed data to the parser as it arrives over the network.

  • Boost.Url: Parses URL strings into components (scheme, user info, host, port, path, query, and fragment), and provides support for building URLs piece by piece. Also, there is support for modifying an existing URL (changing the query parameters, for example) and handling percent-encoded characters. This library basically makes even complex URLs easy to work with.