[webkit-dev] Moving away from qmake

Maciej Stachowiak mjs at apple.com
Mon Nov 12 11:33:19 PST 2007

On Nov 12, 2007, at 5:28 AM, Mark Rowe wrote:

> On 13/11/2007, at 00:00, Charles Woloszynski wrote:
>> I am working on a port of WebKit on Qt to a PowerPC platform.   
>> Please make sure that we don't break the Qt port in this switch.  I  
>> am comfortable with autotools, so that is not a big deal for me.  I  
>> am concerned, however, that this will cause a fork with the work  
>> being done by the Trolltech folks (since I think that they are  
>> primarily qmake-promoters).
>> Can we get some feedback from Trolltech on their ability to accept  
>> a switch to autotools for Webkit/Qt so we can switch to one new  
>> engine for all these ports?
> It would obviously be great if build systems could be shared between  
> ports, but at the same time I don't think that this desire to share  
> build systems should introduce obstacles to the adoption of WebKit  
> ports in the wider open source community.  The maintainers of the Qt  
> and wxWidgets ports have a desire to keep their build systems  
> similar to those used by the underlying toolkits of their port as it  
> greatly simplifies their integration work.  The same is true of the  
> Apple ports and their build systems.
> While the introduction of another build system would introduce  
> slightly more overhead for changes that require modifications be  
> made to the build system, such changes are relatively infrequent and  
> are typically simple additions or removals of files.  The extra work  
> required would be small in comparison to the benefit that the GTK+  
> port would gain from using a more native build system.

As someone who adds and removes files frequently, I do find the build  
system proliferation to be a nontrivial cost. However, I think the  
worst build systems from this point of view are ones that aren't  
easily human-editable, which I think is mainly the Xcode and Visual  
Studio project files. If we add more build systems, it would be really  
helpful to put up a page that tells you what steps you should take if  
you add or remove files. Maybe we could even write a script to add a  
file to or remove a file from all build systems.


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