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Nefarious Designs Blog:
Website builds using Make
February 26, 2010 @ 10:09:05

New from the Nefarious Designs blog today is a comprehensive post on using make to create automated website builds. He looks specifically at how to manage and build the Javascript and CSS portions of a site (but parts of it could be applied to just about any files you might want to automate).

In the interests of improving quality in production, of eliminating repetitive tasks, and of general development time saving, it's often a good idea to automate some of the website build process. What do I mean by "website build process"? Put simply, the task of preparation and publication to production (your live, open-to-the-internet environment), from a development environment. [...] I'm going to look at how you can automate the CSS and JavaScript part of the build process using Make, a handy little program that is installed with the standard build tools on most *nix based systems.

He shows how to automate the compression of multiple Javascript/CSS files into a single one (to reduce the number of HTTP requests required) by figuring out what's needed for the page. He shows how to build the Makefile with a few simple rules that concatenate the files together, run a minification tool on them and clean up any onld versions that might be out there. The final step is automatically updating the HTML to include the newly created Javascript/CSS file without having to do each one manually.

Examples of what you'll need to have in your Makefile are all included as well as the commands to issue to get it all working.

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