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Book Review: Mastering C-Make

This is a review for Mastering C-Make, written by Ken Martin, and published by Kitware.

I bought this book in the hope of getting a structured introduction to CMake. While the CMake online documentation appears to be comprehensive, it seems mostly intended as a reference and is thus rather difficult to use as a starting point, so I was hoping this book would provide more guidance. Unfortunately this is not what the book delivers.

While it comes in with 685 pages, the appendix starts at page 235 and from there on all you get is a printed version of the CMake manpages.

Furthermore, even the first 235 are low quality in almost every aspect. The illustrations are badly prepared and mostl pixelated and too big in comparison to the text. The text has not been proofread properly ("CMake is no longer case insensitive, so where you see COMMAND you could use command"). The contents are not structured nor particularly suited for learning CMake (why would I care about the class hierarchy of the CMake implementation?). Not even the syntax of the CMakeLists file is explained completely, e.g. the difference between whitespace and semicolors in variable definitions is unclear, and there seems to be a rather fuzzy distinction between "expanding" and "replacing" variables.

If you're looking for a printed copy of the onilne documentation this book may be what you're looking for. Otherwise skip it.