Note to the builders of MSBuild
One of my heroes, Bruce Eckel, has been doing some serious thinking about automated builds and has published an excellent post, Why we use Ant (or: NIH), on his great weblog, Thinking About Computing (RSS). Another of my heroes, Martin Fowler (RSS), has commented on Bruce's musings in Build Language and has pointed to yet another interesting article, Using Ruby to build Java systems, by Jon Tirsen (RSS/RDF).
My hope is that those on the Microsoft .NET teams for Longhorn and Whidbey who are building MSBuild will carefully read what Eckel, Fowler, and Tirsen have written so that MSBuild can avoid some of the observed limitations of past build tools. Automated build tools are extremely important. Historically, the scope of the effort seems to have been frequently underestimated. The field is currently littered with partly completed build tools that are not quite up to the task. May this not be the fate of MSBuild!