[erlang-questions] Use of makefiles

Matthias Lang <>
Fri Feb 29 14:21:07 CET 2008


    James> As much as I like Joe's book, the use of makefiles jumped
    James> at at me as clunky and outdated against the background of
    James> the other topics discussed in it.  There are simpler
    James> options:

Chandru> I don't agree that Makefiles are outdated. Clunky? Probably.
...
Chandru> I personally am not very familiar with the Makefile syntax 
Chandru> but I don't think it would've been easy to achieve the same
Chandru> results, in quite the same time, by rolling our own version of make.

Makefiles are declarative, so in theory they should be really neat and
the Erlang world should love them. There are two flies in the
ointment. One is that the syntax is batshit crazy. The other is that
people tend to force large doses of imperativeness into Makefiles,
which defeats half the point. One widespread example is recursive
makefiles.

A while back, Bengt Kleberg pointed me at a paper titled "Recursive
Make Sux" (ok, "Recursive Make Considered Harmful"). I got all
inspired and spent a day or two changing our make system to something
which wasn't recursive anymore. It got faster, didn't do unnecessary
work and 'make clean' actually worked reliably, but it was still ugly
as sin. At that point, my patience expired and I went back to doing
interesting work.

Make is so widespread that resistance is futile.

Matthias



More information about the erlang-questions mailing list