Originally invented to manage compilation of programs,
make can be
used to automatically execute sequences of commands (programs) and
update any set of files that depend on another set of files. This
makes it a good solution for many data analysis and data management
problems, including the generation of images from data.
make will execute are described by a text file (almost
Makefile) containing a list of commands, called
rules, and the files that they create, called targets. The rules
describe how files depend on each other, and how to update out-of-date
files. They can be very specific, useful to generate one file, or
general, specifying a pattern for creating a certain class of files.