I got a copy of VisualMake 3.0 from the Xtras.Net Developer Network (which is cool - you should join) and played around with it.
Right now I use NAnt to automate my build processes. It’s a pretty flexible tool, and while it does require you script (rather than having some GUI to drag and drop tasks or organize the thing - hey, there’s a cool product idea… a real GUI editor for NAnt scripts, but something easier - and cheaper - than NAntpad), it’s also pretty accommodating and flexible.
I was hoping VisualMake might be a good, GUI alternative. If not for corporate/work projects, at least for my home stuff.
I posted a review on it at Xtras.Net, but the long and the short of it is that VisualMake would be great for some straightforward builds, but it doesn’t seem to know Visual C++ projects (.vcproj), nor does it know setup projects (.vdproj). It also can’t open web projects via a URL, so you have to manually find those and add them.
In VisualMake’s defense, NAnt doesn’t do web projects, either, so it’s not like it’s missing functionality; I just figure when you’re graphically adding a solution (drag and drop) that includes web projects, a good GUI should automatically add them for you… at a minimum, it should determine if the project is on your local machine and start looking in the IIS metabase for the physical location. VisualMake doesn’t do that.
It does have some nice features, and I think for large Windows or console applications, this would be cool. Solutions that have a lot of dependencies and all generate .DLL files. I, unfortunately for VisualMake, don’t work in that world. All of my solutions have one or more web projects, a setup project… none of which works well with VisualMake.
Guess I’ll be sticking with NAnt.