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Re: build ideas

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: build ideas
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 07:43:43 -0600

Brian Jones wrote:
> > Who knows, improving the build framework might inspire someone to
> > improve the dependency tracking that jikes does, to make that part of
> > compilation even more efficient and compatible with automake.
> I tried working with jikes dependency tracking some time ago and I
> think I pretty much gave up on it.  What is the current state of this?

As far as I know, little work is currently being done on jikes'
dependency tracking (there are only 3 or 4 active developers at the
moment, and none of us have been tackling it).  There is one outstanding
patch that has yet to be applied to CVS which claims to allow
command-line specification of the target directory for the generated .u
files.  Yet there are also several standing bug reports on flaws in the
algorithm, such as questions over whether a .java file should be
dependent on inner classes.  Personally, I have never looked at that
part of the jikes code, so I have no idea what it would take to make +M
spit out the best possible dependence files.  However, I feel that I
could usefully spend some time on that project if it would help the
Classpath project.

I agree with the earlier sentiment that Ant has the drawback of
requiring a working JVM installed on the machine, while make does not. 
While Ant may be the de-facto build framework for Java projects, it
would be difficult to use when bootstrapping a free machine, which
probably would not come with a free VM binary already installed.  I also
agree that make CAN be made to do anything that Ant can, it is just a
tougher assignment to write the correct rules.  But with automake and
jikes dependency tracking (fixed, of course), I think this should be
feasable.  By the way, I don't have Ant installed on my machine; but
make comes standard with cygwin.

What about the idea of both a Makefile and build.xml approach to
building the .class files?  Then Ant users who just want and
already have a VM don't have to worry about make, but developers that
care about the native code don't need to worry about Ant even for the
.class files.  The only drawback of this dual approach is that
developers must remember to list new .java files in two separate build
framework files, instead of one.
This signature intentionally left boring.

Eric Blake             address@hidden
  BYU student, free software programmer

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