Fortran build systems

Two of the most important aspects of a build system are generation speed and build/rebuild speed. For non-trivial projects in any compiled language, build speed can be a significant pain point. Build speed is the time it takes to first build project targets. Rebuild speed is the time taken on subsequent builds of a target, where most build artifacts can be reused, but the dependencies and sources must be scanned for changes since last build.

Even for medium projects, the seconds lost rebuilding add up lost productivity for developers. CMake and Meson are among the fastest generators, while SCons and Autotools are among the slowest. CMake and Meson have full support for Ninja. Ninja is generally significantly faster than GNU Make, particularly for the case where only a few out of very many files need to be rebuilt.

Meson is a Python program without external dependencies. It’s easy to run the latest development snapshot or track Git changes as a result.

git clone
cd meson
pip install -e .

Since Meson generates Ninja build files, you will need to download Ninja. With Meson, the code build process goes like:

meson build

meson compile -C build

CMake has existed since the early 2000’s, and has broad usage. Build a CMake project like:

cmake -B build

cmake --build build --parallel