Google has just released Bazel as a public beta, and the company claims it can help engineers build software quickly, and correctly. It can be used to build client and server software for Android and iOS and is available for Linux and OS X. Despite it being labelled as a public beta, Google’s engineers have been using it for a very long time. As betas go, it’s a very thoroughly tried and tested one.
Bazel is Google’s own build tool which the company has been using for building heavy-duty and “misson-critical” infrastructure services along with public web apps, but the company notes it can be used for smaller software builds too. Bazel has a set of built-in rules which lets engineers build Java, C++, Python and Objective-C apps right out of the box. What’s more, its rule framework — dubbed Skylark — lets engineers develop and share their own build rules for other platforms and coding languages. As previously mentioned, the tool can be used for building both Android and iOS apps, as well as Docker images and lets engineers use libraries from the likes GitHub and Maven.
So what’s special about Bazel? Bazel is what we use to build the large majority of software within Google. As such, it has been designed to handle build problems specific to Google’s development environment, including a massive, shared code repository in which all software is built from source, a heavy emphasis on automated testing and release processes, and language and platform diversity. Bazel isn’t right for every use case, but we believe that we’re not the only ones facing these kinds of problems and we want to contribute what we’ve learned so far to the larger developer community.
As of right now, there’s no version for Windows users, but Google is making Windows support a priority and will hopefully make it available by the time Bazel is out of beta and officially launches as version 1.0.0. To find out more, or get started with Bazel, simply head on over to the Bazel.io web page.