Build system issues in multilanguage software

Authors: Andrew Neitsch Kenny Wong Michael W. Godfrey

Venue: ICSME   2012 28th IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance (ICSM), pp. 140-149, 2012

Year: 2012

Abstract: 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 building many of these packages out-of-the-box. 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.


    author = "Andrew Neitsch and Kenny Wong and Michael W. Godfrey",
    title = "Build system issues in multilanguage software",
    year = "2012",
    pages = "140-149",
    booktitle = "Proceedings of 2012 28th IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance (ICSM)"

Plain Text:

Andrew Neitsch, Kenny Wong, and Michael W. Godfrey, "Build system issues in multilanguage software," 2012 28th IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance (ICSM), pp. 140-149