GNU Make Utility

Makefiles for Visual Studio Developers

If you develop software only on Windows using Visual studio, it’s a luxury. Enjoy it while it lasts. Sooner than later, you will come across Makefiles, maybe exploring some software on Linux or the misfortune of having a build system that uses make with Cygwin on Windows.

Now you figure out that Makefiles are text files and open it in an editor hoping to get some insight into its workings. But, what do you see? Lots of cryptic hard to understand syntax and expressions.

So, where do you start? Internet searches for make and Makefiles provide a lot of information but under the assumption that you come from a non-IDE Unix/Linux development environment. Pampered Visual Studio developers are never the target audience.

Here I will try to relate to the Visual Studio build system which will hopefully give an easier understanding of Makefiles. The goal is not provide yet another tutorial on makefiles (because there are plenty available on the internet) but to instill the concept by comparison.

See Makefiles and Visual Studio for a Visual Studio friendly introduction to the Make utility.