Sunday, February 20, 2011

Standard build process using Make & Ant- Part 1

(Mostly, I interact with makefiles but I have always been interested in studying Make & Ant together. Here is the first post in the series)

A simple build can be started from a command line simply by executing 2 statements- one for compiling and another one for linking. But as the software grows and consist of many modules, dependencies get created and a sequence of commands are required to be executed. Additionally, we needed to add pre and post actions around the calls to the compilers such as a check-out from version control or copying of deployable objects to a test location.

Make & Ant make it happen in a standardized way. Ant does the same thing for Java environment what make does for C++. Ant is a platform-independent (like Java) scripting tool that lets you construct your build scripts using many built-in commends like delete, jar, get, mkdir, exec and copydir.

Another basic difference between Ant and Make is that Ant uses XML (build.xml) to describe the build process and its dependencies, whereas Make has its Makefile format.