Build Systems

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C++, like C, has a long and varied history regarding compilation workflows and build processes. Today, C++ has various popular build systems that are used to compile programs, sometimes for multiple platforms within one build system. Here, a few build systems will be reviewed and analyzed.


Currently, there exists no universal or dominant build system for C++ that is both popular and cross-platform. However, there do exist several major build systems that are attached to major platforms/projects, the most notable being GNU Make with the GNU/Linux operating system and NMAKE with the Visual C++/Visual Studio project system.

Additionally, some Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) also include specialized build systems to be used specifically with the native IDE. Certain build system generators can generate these native IDE build system/project formats, such as CMake for Eclipse and Microsoft Visual Studio 2012.

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