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138430Re: [XP] Group vote for C unit testing framework

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  • David Carlton
    Jan 28, 2008
      On Tue, 29 Jan 2008 09:06:08 +1300 (NZDT), John Carter <john.carter@...> said:
      > On Sun, 27 Jan 2008, David Carlton wrote:
      >> On Mon, 28 Jan 2008 11:42:40 +1300 (NZDT), John Carter <john.carter@...> said:

      >>> Hint: Control of the build environment is handy. Instead of using
      >>> "make" which doesn't really give you all that much you care about
      >>> anyway...knock up your own using a rich scripting language like Ruby
      >>> or Python.
      >> ? Make knows all about all sorts of handy dependency rules which are
      >> very well suited for C and its derivatives; I wouldn't dream of
      >> hand-rolling something else, if that's what you're suggesting. I
      >> don't know what compiler the original poster is using, but GCC will
      >> even spit out appropriate make dependencies, making it extremely easy
      >> to write a safe, parallelizable Makefile for C code, in many common
      >> situations.

      > Actually every large commercial make file I've seen has been about
      > 20% make and a mish-mash of shell, awk, grep and other darker things
      > (eg. .bat) for the rest. Trying to work out the various levels of
      > quote stripping between make,shell and awk can be entertaining at
      > the least!

      To give a bit more context, I'm rather fond of make, and part of the
      reason why I'm fond is that I've spent time taking crap Makefiles and
      turning them into Makefiles that are shorter, have fewer bugs, and are
      more parallelizable. (With help from gcc -MD -MP and ideas in
      <http://make.paulandlesley.org/autodep.html>.) At the core, it seems
      to be a reasonable language for handling dependencies in a way that
      can easily handle typical tasks for C and its derivatives on Unix
      systems, which happens to be a situation where I spend some amount of

      And, to give a bit more context, the only other build language that
      I've used is ant (for a Java project); as far as I can tell, it gets
      dependencies wrong, which I'd previously assumed was the single core
      competency of anything that would call itself a build language. I
      still tentatively assume that I must be missing something big there,
      but I'm still a bit jaundiced towards other solutions. :-)

      Having said that, I should look at rake and scons; I agree that, all
      else being equal, I'd like my build system to be integrated with a
      pleasant scripting language, and make isn't that.

      John Roth mentioned rake and scons. Looking at the online
      documentation, though, rake doesn't seem to be anywhere near ready for
      prime time for C programming: I don't see any discussion of C issues,
      and running "rake --help" doesn't mention anything about
      parallelization, which would be an absolute show-stopper for me.

      scons looks more interesting, though: it looks rather more
      fully-featured, the man page mentions parallelization, so it would
      probably work. I don't know for sure if it will get automatic
      dependency generation completely right, but it might, and even if it
      doesn't, it might be close enough that its other virtues outweigh that
      drawback. I would certainly play around with it, and (if the results
      were good) it would be quite natural to use it if there was enough
      Python knowledge on the project. (Or maybe even if there wasn't -
      it's not like make gurus are falling off of every tree, after all.)

      David Carlton
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