List of build automation software

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Build automation involves scripting or automating the process of compiling computer source code into binary code. Below is a list of notable tools associated with automating build processes.


  • GNU make, a widely used make implementation with a large set of extensions
  • make, a classic Unix build tool
  • mk, developed originally for Version 10 Unix and Plan 9, and ported to Unix as part of plan9port
  • MPW Make, developed for the classic Mac OS and similar to but not compatible with Unix make; the modern macOS (OS X) comes with both GNU make and BSD make; available as part of Macintosh Programmer's Workshop as a free, unsupported download from Apple
  • nmake
  • PVCS-make, basically follows the concept of make but with a noticeable set of unique syntax features[1]


  • Apache Ant, popular for Java platform development and uses an XML file format
  • Apache Buildr, open-source build system, Rake-based, gives full power of scripting in Ruby with integral support for most abilities wanted in a build system
  • Apache Maven, a Java platform tool for dependency management and automated software build
  • ASDF LISP buildsystem for building LISP projects
  • A-A-P, a Python-based build tool
  • Bazel, Google's own build tool, now publicly available in Beta. Java-based.
  • BitBake, a Python-based tool with the special focus of distributions and packages for embedded Linux cross compilation
  • Boot, a Java build and dependency management tool written in Clojure
  • For C++ projects, cross-platform, based on it Perforce Jam.
  • Buck, a build system developed and used by Facebook
  • Buildout, a Python-based build system for creating, assembling and deploying applications from multiple parts
  • Cabal, common architecture for building applications and libraries in the programming language Haskell
  • FinalBuilder, for Windows software developers. FinalBuilder provides a graphical IDE to both create and run build projects in a single application. Final builder also includes the ability the execute unit test, deploy web projects or install and test applications.
  • Flowtracer
  • Gradle, an open-source build and automation system with an Apache Groovy-based domain specific language (DSL), combining features of Apache Ant and Apache Maven with additional features like a reliable incremental build
  • Grunt, a build tool for front-end web development
  • Gulp, another build tool for front-end
  • IncrediBuild
  • Leiningen, a tool providing commonly performed tasks in Clojure projects, including build automation
  • Mix, the Elixir build tool
  • MSBuild, the Microsoft build engine
  • NAnt, a tool similar to Ant for the .NET Framework
  • Ninja, a small build system focused on speed by using build scripts generated by higher-level build systems
  • Perforce Jam, a generally enhanced, ground-up tool which is similar to Make
  • Psake, domain-specific language and build-automation tool written in PowerShell
  • Qt Build System
  • Rake, a Ruby-based build tool
  • sbt, a build tool built on a Scala-based DSL
  • SCons, Python-based, with integrated functionality similar to autoconf/automake
  • Stack, a tool to build Haskell projects, manage their dependencies (compilers and libraries), and for testing and benchmarking.
  • Tweaker, allowing task definitions to be written in any languages (or intermixed languages) while providing a consistent interface for them all
  • Visual Build, a graphical user interface software for software builds
  • Waf, a Python-based tool for configuring, compiling and installing applications. It is a replacement for other tools such as Autotools, Scons, CMake or Ant

Build script generation[edit]

These generator tools do not build directly, but rather generate files to be used by a native build tool (as the ones listed in the previous two chapters).

Continuous integration[edit]

Configuration management[edit]


A meta-build tool is capable of building many different projects using a subset of existing buildtools. Since these usually provide a list of packages to build, they are also often called package managers.

  • Pkgsrc, package manager of NetBSD and other operating systems.
  • Portage, package manager of the Gentoo Linux distribution
  • Nix, functional package manager for Linux and macOS focusing on reproducible builds, used for the NixOS Linux distribution.
  • Guix, functional package manager based on Nix, used for the GuixSD Linux distribution.
  • Collective Knowledge, cross-platform package manager to rebuild software environment for research workflows
  • Homebrew, package manager for macOS


  • checkinstall, checkinstall is a program that monitors an installation procedure, and creates a standard package for your distribution.
  • Open Build Service, a hosted service to help build packages for various Linux distributions

Licensing overview[edit]

e Description language License
A-A-P recipe GNU GPL
Ant XML Apache License 2.0
AnthillPro Wraps Make, Ant, Maven, MsBuild, Nant, etc. for controlled build, deploy, test processes. Discontinued
Bamboo continuous integration Trialware
Bazel BUILD/Skylark, a Python-like DSL Apache License 2.0
BuildAMation C# for build scripts, XML for high level dependencies New BSD License
Buildr Ruby Apache License 2.0
Boot Clojure Eclipse Public License
Capistrano XML MIT License
CMake uses CMakeLists.txt file New BSD License
Cake C#, .NET, .NET core. Uses C# written cake file MIT License
Collective Knowledge Framework Python scripts with JSON API and JSON meta-description New BSD License
Continuum ? Apache License 2.0
CruiseControl XML BSD-style license
FinalBuilder graphical IDE with support for Ant/NAnt, MSBuild, JScript, VBScript, IronPython, PowerShell Trialware
Gradle Groovy-based DSL Apache License 2.0
Jenkins continuous integration MIT License
Homebrew Ruby Simplified BSD License
Leiningen Clojure Eclipse Public License
make uses Makefile Same as the bundling OS
Maven Project Object Model Apache License 2.0
Meson build system custom DSL Apache License 2.0
MPW Make ? Freeware
MSBuild XML MIT License
MXE uses Makefile MIT License
nmake uses Makefile Freeware
Open Build Service uses various package and image description formats (spec, dsc, ARCH, kiwi) GNU GPL
Perforce Jam uses Jamfile Discontinued
Rake Ruby MIT License
sbt (Simple Build Tool) Scala-based DSL New BSD License
SCons Python MIT License
Team Foundation Server MSBuild, Windows Presentation Foundation, JSON - REST interfaces, Programmatic (Can generate definitions through code) Trialware
Tweaker (build tool) Any (Ant, bash, batch, C, Erlang, Java, SQL, and VBScript by default, with 3rd party interface for extensions) GNU GPLv3
Visual Build XML Trialware
Waf Python New BSD License


  1. ^ mailing list discussion about porting PVCS-make scripts to GNU-make, From: Paul D. Smith, Subject: Re: PVCS to GNU, Date: 2003-02-25
  2. ^ "cmake-generators(7) — CMake 3.11.1 Documentation".
  3. ^ "Setting Up CMake - Qt Creator Manual".
  4. ^ a b "GNOME Builder Development Environment Picking Up Many Features For GNOME 3.28 - Phoronix".

External links[edit]