Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Well, at long last: my own build tool

In dealing yet again with compiling dependencies under Win32, and yet again having to deal with a yucky mixture of GNU Autotools, CMake, and IDE-x project files.... I've come back to thinking about an idea from several months ago, for a project called `yet another build system`; which led me to learning CMake.

The original (yabs) idea, was centred around the concept of XML descriptions of build tools, most namely the Visual C++ and GNU compilers. Which would have been mated with a simple `make` like list of rules, basically on par with the inference rules everyone knows, and loves (or hates).

For tmk however, the horizon has expanded and the XML is dropped lol. tmk is meant to be very much, a more portable make with interesting tuning options. Conceptually, it's the same, but, eh fixed you could say. If you don't understand that, just think back to using Makefiles and having to support 20 different build environments! Yeah, that kind of fixing.

The main point, is abstracting away the shoe honing measures. Make is perfect for the environment it was created for, building software on UNIX. However unix has diversified and fragmented sufficiently, that the average programmer is a useless stick in the mud for writing portable sh, supporting other environments like Windows, generally requires a separate set of Makefiles or carting along the (superior) unix environment with you, which is a terrible way of doing things. Fixing that problem is simple, it's been done.

A novel feature, tmk will aim to complete builds as quickly as possible: by inferring from the rules how to build modules in parallel, which also provides me an excuse to write some code I've been meaning to write for EPI ;). This part is also easy.

The interesting part, will be handling dependencies properly. The real royal fuck-baked irk of most 'later day make' solutions, such as CMake or VCBuild, are that can't handle dependencies worth a shit: and it makes building software off the original work station (windows) or operating system group (unix) a bitch and a half.

That's the personal itch tmk has to fix ;-)

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