developer happiness with waf

Having recently changed jobs (after a very long stint at TCD - just short of 10yrs!) I’ve moved to a small startup. I’ve been working on a few small bits and pieces of code, infrastructure, etc… I had to make some stuff work and make it work well. So I decided to use autotools to configure and build the application that I’m working on.

As great as it was on my nice fast intel based machine, it was dog slow on my target platform, especially when I had to regenerate the autoconf scripts.

To get to the point, I ended up spending a day or two checking out alternatives (that wasn’t cmake) and came across waf, the documentation isn’t all that great if you just look at the website, I had to spend a few hours digging around to get what I wanted.

Once I ported my application over to using waf, the configure and build process was an order of magnitude faster than autotools. This made a huge difference on my target platform. I noticed that waf ships with some experimental plugins like the daemon plugin which runs a build when it notices that somefiles have changed.

This daemon plugin is great it gives waf similar behaviour to what java developers have with junit and eclipse. I’m finding that waf is making me happy when I develop and fix stuff in the application that I’m working on.

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