How to quickly navigate an unfamiliar makefile

The other day, I was working with an unfamiliar build and I needed to get familiar with it in a hurry. In this case, I was dealing with a makefile generated by the Perl utility h2xs, but the trick I’ll show you here works any time you need to find your way around a new build system, whether it’s something you just downloaded or an internal project you just transferred to.

What I wanted to do was add a few object files to the link command. Here’s the build log, with the link command highlighted:

gcc -c  -I. -D_REENTRANT -D_GNU_SOURCE -DDEBIAN -fno-strict-aliasing -pipe -I/usr/local/include -D_LARGEFILE_SOURCE -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 -O2 -g   -DVERSION=\"0.01\" -DXS_VERSION=\"0.01\" -fPIC "-I/usr/lib/perl/5.10/CORE"   mylib.c
rm -f blib/arch/auto/mylib/
gcc  -shared -O2 -g -L/usr/local/lib mylib.o   -o blib/arch/auto/mylib/   \
chmod 755 blib/arch/auto/mylib/

Should be easy, right? I just needed to find that command in the makefile and make my changes. Wrong. Read on to see how annotation helped solve this problem.

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The Cloud Two-Step: How do you know what Dev/Test processes to run in the Cloud?

I just came across a piece that Bernard Golden wrote in his CIO blog entitled Dev/Test in the Cloud: Rules for Getting it Right.   He makes a lot of good points including what we see the most successful enterprise development shops doing with the cloud; “Treat the cloud as an extension, not a separation.” 

Unfortunately, he does not point out what dev/test tools should be put up in the cloud but simply states “dev/test tasks,” as if it is obvious which ones to migrate.  Let’s see if we can leverage his work to figure which dev/test tasks are cloud-ready in two steps:
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Seven lessons from seven years at Electric Cloud

We wrapped up the 2009 Electric Cloud Customer Summit a couple weeks ago. Like last year, I left refreshed and reinvigorated after hearing so many customers’ stories. Comments like, “Developer builds are now measured in seconds [with Accelerator]. Nobody does local builds anymore,” and, “ElectricAccelerator will give you better performance than you deserve,” really make me feel like all the hard work is worthwhile. But one of my favorite takeaways from the summit was this picture:

From left: Eric Melski, Usman Muzaffar, Sven Delmas, Scott Stanton

That’s the original engineering team at Electric Cloud, still together after more than seven years. It’s unusual to catch us all together in one spot like this though, since we have much different roles at the company now: I’m an Architect; Usman is VP of Product Management; Sven is Director of Engineering; and Scott is the Chief Architect.

When I saw this picture I wondered if I could find a similar shot from sometime in Electric Cloud’s history. Lucky for me we’ve always had a few shutter bugs at the company, so I had a few to choose from.
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