What Makes a Good Build System?

Following are a few important qualities of a good build system.

Simplicity

The build system must be accessible to all programmers, not just the build gurus. Every developer must be able to perform a build, or he can't get any work done. If a build system is too complicated, it's practically useless. It must be:

Simple to learn

That is, a new developer should be able to join the team and quickly understand how to build software. He won't be productive until he's mastered the build procedure. I've worked in companies where it was considered a rite of passage to figure out how the build works and to perform one. That is not just an unhelpful attitude, it is dangerous—what happens when everyone who really knows how to build ...

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