Qmake on Steroids – Cutting Build Times by Half

In my current project at my place of work we had a serious problem: Long build times and slow unit tests.

What do I mean with long? On our Jenkins a full build with unit tests needs approx. 1:20 hours. On our developer notebooks, the build without any tests took the same amount of time.

For me, coming from the nice and beautiful Java world at the university where builds execute within seconds or at least minutes, this was incredible. Hence nobody in our team has executed all unit tests locally for a while. Even worse!

Since I was new to QT projects and hadn’t any experience with qmake, the makefile generator that comes with QT, I decided to invest a rainy weekend to see what is possible. Luckily my first successes look so promising that my team and I decided to spend even more time on build time reduction in the following sprint.

In this post I will summarize what helped us and what didn’t.

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