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Moving away from make

From: Phil Holmes
Subject: Moving away from make
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2011 14:53:56 +0100

I understand it's been discussed before, but I am wondering whether it's worth thinking the unthinkable and considering moving away from make. I know it's been used in loads of projects and is much loved, but actually, from a design perspective, it's appalling. If I was writing a "make" system from scratch, I would describe dependencies in data structures that are viewable and editable, and have a separate program that uses those structures to determine which files need making. Instead we have a fairly impenetrable system of makefiles that are created by (to me) a completely impenetrable autoconf system, and the only way of checking dependencies is to open all the makefiles (sourcefiles in effect) and read and understand each. It's rather as if one had to read the LilyPond .cpp files to understand how to change a piece of music.

I've done 5 minutes research and have found SCons. I've not gone into any more depth with that yet. Does it seem worth looking into this, or something else, in more detail?

Phil Holmes

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