Build system issues in multilanguage software

Andrew Neitsch, Kenny Wong, Michael W. Godfrey
2012 2012 28th IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance (ICSM)  
Building software from source is often viewed as a "solved problem" by software engineers, as there are many mature, well-known tools and techniques. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that these tools often do not effectively address the complexities of building multilanguage software. To investigate this apparent problem, we have performed a qualitative study on a set of five multilanguage open source software packages. Surprisingly, we found build system problems that prevented us from
more » ... ding many of these packages out-of-thebox. Our key finding is that there are commonalities among build problems that can be systematically addressed. In this paper, we describe the results of this exploratory study, identify a set of common build patterns and anti-patterns, and outline research directions for improving the build process. One such finding is that multilanguage packages avoid certain build problems by supporting compilation-free extension. As well, we find evidence that concerns from the application and implementation domains may "leak" into the build model, with both positive and negative effects on the resulting build systems.
doi:10.1109/icsm.2012.6405265 dblp:conf/icsm/NeitschWG12 fatcat:w7guppzxpbalfcgobdk2j2xiv4