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Eventually aims to be a complete solution for software configuration, building, installation and distribution.

Some vague principles: keep your build configurations as tiny as possible. Leverage/target existing build and package systems. Lots of features. Extensibility. Portability. Cross-language. Cross-project. Etc.

Current features:

This package also contains a patched version of that can use an alternate, simpler auth data file than subversion’s cached auth data (which is currently broken). This version uses a file ~/.googlecode.auth (with permissions 600) containing your username and password on separate lines.



Say the directory ~/myapp/ contains two C++ programs: and To build these with SimpleBuild, create a file called build containing the following YAML data:

  srcs: []

  srcs: []
  libs: [pthread, profiler]

Now running simple-build generates a GNUmakefile that can be used to compile both programs in a variety of ways. We could alternatively keep the source tree clean of generated files by changing to a different directory and running simple-build ~/myapp/build.

The libs field lists libraries that are to be linked with the application. simple-build is also capable of inferring libraries by automatically determining the headers included by your source files and then mapping these onto library names.

The GNUmakefile also contains a mechanism for automatically generating dependencies from your source files. This mechanism relies on gcc -M and some GNU make tricks. I also take other cues from Peter Miller’s excellent paper “Recursive Make Considered Harmful”.

This automatic dependency generation is also available for Java and Scala; the mechanism there relies on the compilers’ verbose output, and has only been tested with Sun’s javac.


Planned features:

The decision to write yet another build system was based on the empty-handed outcome of a long (and depressing) quest. Here are brief commentaries of some other build systems.


Simple-Build is released under the GNU GPL3.


Copyright 2008 Yang Zhang.
All rights reserved.

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