Builder/Compiler contrast


Joined Apr 20, 2004
The compiler parses a series of declarations and outputs machine-level code for execution. I may be showing my age, but I have never hears of a builder function. Is it perhaps some kind of MS flim-flam associated with .NET stuff?


Joined Nov 17, 2003
I've only ever heard of the term 'builder' in the C++ world. AFAIK, it just refers to a general software development environment that has all the tools a software developer would require. Based on this assessment, I suppose the main difference is that builders are high-level development tools and compilers are low-level development tools.

Yes, a builder is more than a compiler. One usually says "build the project". Builders deal with projects, i.e. collections of source code, rules (which tell how to build the target), docs and so on.

An example that shows the difference comes from the Linux world: (Auto)make (builder) vs. GCC (compiler). When you issue 'make' and 'make install', the builder parses the rules and calls the compiler to transform source code into executables. It does even more: it builds the documentation (possibly by calling TeX, which is just another compiler, apart from the fact that it does not create executable code, but PDFs for example) and it may install the application.

Shortly, the builder automates the process of compiling, installing etc..