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From "Dominique Devienne" <>
Subject RE: Does Ant improves the performance in large c++ project thanmake?
Date Tue, 19 Jul 2005 14:48:48 GMT
> From: Simon Kitching []
> On Fri, 2005-07-15 at 08:19 +0200, Juergen Hermann wrote:
> > On Thu, 14 Jul 2005 17:45:13 -0700, Alexey N. Solofnenko wrote:
> >
> > >It is quite possible. With make it is usually one file at a time
> > >compilation. ANT is smart enough to request a build for several files
> > >ata time.
> >
> > BTW, it sounds as if ccache and/or distributed compiling (ccdist I
> > think) is a better solution for hiren's problem.
> Agreed. Building large c/c++ systems is a problem that has been solved
> many times before Ant was invented.
> In fact, the major improvements are to be found by correctly structuring
> the source code to avoid unnecessary dependencies rather than applying
> any special "silver bullet" build tool. In the end, any build tool like
> make/ant is simply invoking the same underlying compiler. That's where
> the bottleneck generally is rather than in the build tool, and the fix
> is by reducing unnecessary includes, using opaque types, etc.
> Or by brute force using distributed builds to build on multiple machines
> concurrently as Juergen mentions.
> Or via a bigger build machine :).
> [NB: I hadn't heard of ccache - thanks for the info.]

I can't disagree with what's been said so far, but using an intelligent
build tool is a lot easier than to restructure a large body of code to have
better compartmentalization, with narrower interfaces between its
sub-system. Ant-Contrib's <cc> task (a.k.a. CppTasks), but doing accurate
dependency analysis and caching it, can provide a significant boost for
incremental compilation.

The only complaint I have with <cc> is that it takes over too much to
generate the command line, so some things can't easily be done, and it
difficult to use pre-processing commands like lint or purify, etc...

But beside this it's excellent, if you understand its bid process to know
which compiler compiles which file. In this regard, it's a bit subtle and
thus error prone.

So it doesn't make a full build faster, it makes possible a reliable and
usually quite fast incremental build.

Of course, like it was said this problem was solved many times before.
Electric Cloud has a nice commercial offering to solve it for example, and
ccdist also works fine (we even use it for a particular app), but if you
have a mix of Java/C/C++, <cc> makes a lot of sense.

For a pure C/C++ project, A-A-P (by the creator of VIM, Python based) or any
other project (there are Ruby based ones I think) is probably better. Boost
has it's own modified JAM stuff I think.

I'd recommend the A-A-P page comparing many many different build tools has a
good starting point to investigate build systems. --DD

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