I have mentioned FAKE (aka F# Make) in pretty much all the talks I have done lately, however I never explained in detail some of the key aspects of this amazing build DSL.
FAKE is a build automation system with capabilities which are similar to make and rake. The DSL includes support for:
- building with MsBuild + xbuild
- Testing with nUnit, xunit, MSpec
- Creating nuget packages
- Ziping resulting files
Good to know
- It’s mature. I want my build scripts to be reliable and easy to change, if this was a toy project by someone I would be a little hesitant in recommending, however with over 4 years in development, FAKE is a mature project.
- Builds for .net and mono, it’s cross platform. (disclaimer I don’t use mono in production so I haven’t felt any pain on that) However I some people do.
- Builds C# projects too. It might be obvious to some, but FAKE builds C#, VB and F# projects :D.
- No need to know F# to use it. As much as I like F#, some might consider the language a barrier, I have shown to more than one non F# developer FAKE scripts and they understand what is going on. There is a real benefit on having a build system built on a strongly typed language. Also check out a really good article called FAKE Everywhere.
- Integrates with CI Servers. The integrations I know of are TeamCity, MyGet and Appveyor. We use both TC and MyGet and they work nicely.
When do we use it
From the very beginning we have been using TeamCity as our CI server for a long while, however having one click builds is really powerful.
- Debbuging. We have about 20 different solutions contributing to making the game we work on a reality, sometimes, when something go wrong we need to debug certain aspect of the game, as the game runs, the thing is, building and copying the dlls in the correct places can be error prone, we avoid that by building with FAKE and copying to a given path automatically, all with F# and FAKE
- Different targets. x86, x64 builds as well as custom targets (for example we have one for Steam(the PC games store)
- Deployment. We have to remove certain content and package the game with just the bits needed to run, this requires some custom removing and adding of things at the right time.
A great way to learn is by checking out some OSS projects:
Try it, you will probably love it.