On Tuesday, 14 June 2016 at 10:47:58 UTC, Fool wrote:
Switching the compiler version seems to be a valid use case. You might have other means to detect this, though.

If you want to depend on the compiler version, then you can add a dependency on the compiler executable. It might be a good idea to have Button do this automatically for every command. That is, finding the path to the command's executable and making it a dependency.

A possible use case is creating object files first and packing them into a library as a second step. Then single object files are of not much interest anymore. Imagine, you want to distribute a build to several development machines such that their local build environments are convinced that the build is up to date. If object files can be treated as secondary or intermediate targets you can save lots of unnecessary network traffic and storage.

You're right, that is a valid use case. In my day job, we have builds that produce 60+ GB of object files. It would be wasteful to distribute all that to development machines.

However, I can think of another scenario where it would just as well be incorrect behavior: Linking an executable and then running tests on it. The executable could then be seen by the build system as the "secondary" or "intermediate" output. If it gets deleted, I think we'd want it rebuilt.

I'm not sure how Make or Shake implement this without doing it incorrectly in certain scenarios. There would need to be a way to differentiate between necessary and unnecessary outputs. I'll have to think about this more.

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