Make replacement for Erlang - suggestions?

Eric Merritt cyberlync@REDACTED
Mon Sep 16 22:17:50 CEST 2002

> In most projects I been involded in we have used
> gmake and stayed with
> it.                                                 

 I think allot of software projects use make, hence
the requirement that it be supported. 
> For make replacement I simply ask why ? You can use
> gmake on every    
> useable platform on earth, and even windows with
> cygwin ...           

  Ok, I will tell you why. Just remember that this is
my opionion, I am not trying to troll here. Feel free
to disagree with me as you see fit. 

 One of the foundation stones of a decent software
system is maintainability. One of the hall marks of
maintainability as far as I am concerned is ease of
reading and understanding the source. This may be one
of the reasons I like Ada so much (not as much as
Erlang, of course). :)

'Make' syntax is a horrible shell like quasi-scripting
langauge that has a definate propensity to be
difficult to read and understand. It feels like it has
just slowly become encrusted with barnicle like syntax
changes and features. I personally hate looking at a
'make' file that I have not personally written for
this very reason.  

 Don't get me wrong, it does its job and does it
rather well. This is not really a valid argument for
continued, unreviewed, use in my book. If everyone
accepted this approach we would all still be using
assembler. Fortunatly, we have generally moved on to
langauges like Erlang, Ada, Java, etc. Assembler is
still used in some situtations where its advantages
outweight its disadvantages. These situations are,
however, the vast minority of cases.

 I see the 'make' following that same route. It
already has begun in the areas where there are viable
replacements. Java projects are a good example of
this. I personally can't think of any project where
make is used instead of ant. Of course, I am not
privey to the interal projects of companies outside my
own, but this definatly applies to the open source

 Ant, even with its ugly XML based syntax, far
outstrips make in its ease of use, features, and
 I would like to see something similar happen for

> I think it would be better to spend the time of
> fixing the otp build  
> chain to build native on a windows machine instead

 Perhaps, but that doesn't really fit into my current
IDE project, so I will leave that one for others. It
is a good idea though :P

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