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Extending the Eclipse CDT Managed Build System

Eclipse CDT 3.1 provides a host of improvements to the open-source CDT environment. Some of the improvements focus on greater performance and scalability, such as providing faster searches. Others reflect the CDT team's ongoing work to provide a better user experience for C and C++ developers, including better drag-and-drop support, improved syntax highlighting, and more accurate code refactoring.

The managed build system (MBS), in particular, contains many significant enhancements that improve both the usability and extensibility of the CDT build environment.

For CDT users, the updated MBS offers the ability to:

  • Define pre-build and post-build commands.
  • Define custom build commands for any file.
  • Control the environment variables passed to the build process.
  • Use build macros that make projects easier to share and maintain.

For tool integrators, the updated MBS offers:

  • An enhanced build model that supports the definition of more complex tool-chains, in particular for tools that support multiple inputs and outputs.
  • Project wizard enhancements that can automatically set launch properties, generate configuration files, and control other custom settings.
  • The ability to define option categories, both per tool and for the entire tool-chain.
  • A mechanism to support multiple versions of a tool-chain and to convert projects from using one tool-chain, or a version of a tool-chain, to another.

    In this article, we provide an example of how tool integrators can leverage some of the new capabilities of the MBS.

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