List of build automation software

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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 make implementation with a large set of extensions
  • make, a 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, follows the concept of make but with additional syntax features[1]


  • Apache Ant, popular for Java platform development and uses an XML file format
  • Apache Buildr, historic open-source build system, Rake-based, gives the 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 build system for building LISP projects
  • A-A-P, a Python-based build tool
  • Bazel, a portion of Blaze (Google's own build tool) written in Java, using Starlark (BUILD file syntax) to build projects in Java, C, C++, Go, Python, Objective-C, and others
  • 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 Perforce Jam
  • Buck, a build system developed and used by Facebook, written in Java, using Starlark (BUILD file syntax) as Bazel
  • Buildout, a Python-based build system for creating, assembling and deploying applications from multiple parts
  • Cabal, a common architecture for building applications and libraries in the language Haskell
  • Dub, the official package and build manager of the D Language
  • dale,[2] a D build tool
  • FinalBuilder, for Windows software developers. FinalBuilder provides a graphical IDE to both create and run build projects in a single application. The final builder also includes the ability the execute the unit test, deploy web projects or install and test applications.
  • Flowtracer, a build management tool
  • 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 more features like a reliable incremental build
  • Grunt, a build tool for front-end web development
  • Gulp, a build tool for front-end web development
  • IncrediBuild, a suite of grid computing software for compiling and building software
  • 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 build tool by Perforce, inspired by Make
  • Qt Build System
  • Rake, a Ruby-based build tool
  • rez,[3] a C/C++ 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 to test and benchmark.
  • tinyrick,[4] a Rust build tool
  • vast,[5] a shell build tool
  • 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 sections).

  • BuildAMation, a multi-platform tool, using a declarative syntax in C# scripts, that builds C/C++ code in a terminal using multiple threads, or generates project files for Microsoft Visual Studio, Xcode or MakeFiles.
  • CMake generates files for various build tools, such as make, ninja, Apple's Xcode, and Microsoft Visual Studio.[6] CMake is also directly used by some IDE as Qt Creator,[7] KDevelop and GNOME Builder.[8]
  • GNU Build System (aka autotools), a collection of tools for portable builds. These in particular include Autoconf and Automake, cross-unix-platform tools that together generate appropriate localized makefiles.
  • GYP (Generate Your Projects) - Created for Chromium; it is another tool that generates files for the native build environment. It has been superseded by GN which generates files for ninja and other build systems.
  • imake
  • Meson, a build system optimized for performance and usability is based on ninja on Linux, Visual Studio on Windows and Xcode on macOS. Meson is also directly used by GNOME Builder.[8]
  • OpenMake Software Meister
  • Premake, a Lua-based tool for making makefiles, Visual Studio files, Xcode projects, and more
  • qmake

Continuous integration[edit]

Configuration management[edit]

Package managers[edit]

A package manager is a meta-build tool capable of building many different projects using a subset of existing build tools, generally using a list or repository of build scripts called "packages".


  • 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]

Tool name 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/Starlark, 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
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
Dub JSON, SDL MIT License
FinalBuilder graphical IDE with support for Ant/NAnt, MSBuild, JScript, VBScript, IronPython, PowerShell Trialware
Gradle Groovy-based DSL; Kotlin-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
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
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. ^ "dale: a paranoid D task runner". April 12, 2023 – via GitHub.
  3. ^ "rez: C/C++ task runner". April 18, 2023 – via GitHub.
  4. ^ "tinyrick: a freeform Rust build system". April 12, 2023 – via GitHub.
  5. ^ "vast: a build tool for shell scripts". April 8, 2023 – via GitHub.
  6. ^ "cmake-generators(7) — CMake 3.11.1 Documentation".
  7. ^ "Setting Up CMake - Qt Creator Manual".
  8. ^ a b "GNOME Builder Development Environment Picking Up Many Features For GNOME 3.28 - Phoronix".
  9. ^ Cross-platform