Building with Bazel
Part 1: Learning Bazel Find Help
— iOS & Swift, Android & Kotlin

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Find Help

Learn about all the various Bazel resources that you can turn to when you get off the happy path.

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Episode 18 - Find Help

Bazel is a powerful build system that can take your build speeds to the next level. Unfortunately, it can be complex. And while it is used throughout Google, you may run into issues working on it on your own projects.

Once you leave the happy path, using Bazel may be overwhelming. Thankfully, there’s a lot of good resources on the web. First, there are lots of great YouTube tutorials on working with Bazel produced by Google itself. A lot of these are conference talks and why they won’t necessarily solve a particular issue that you may be experiencing, they will give you an insight about the tool itself.

Your next best place is the documentation. Seriously - read the very fine manual. Bazel is a wealth of material on And once you have an understanding of the documentation, then read the documentation provided by the languages rules themselves. Often times, the rules repositories will contain a folder for documentation and another folder for working examples. Those examples will go a long way in showing how to actually build a particular target.

The next best place is the rules maintainers. If you find yourself running into the wall about a particular problem, you may not be experiencing a Bazel problem, but rather a rules implementation issue. Your best bet is to find the rules GitHub repository and file an issue. Be detailed in your problem and your configuration. If they solve your problem, make sure to tell them. After all, someone down the road may run into your issue so having a record of the resolution helps everyone. Also don’t forget, these maintainers are volunteers so be polite and if they do help you, always make sure to thank them.

Finally, you can also meet like minded developers on the Google Slack channel. With over three thousand developers subscribed to it, you can ask questions and share knowledge with the community of developers.

The good news about this is the more that you use Bazel, the easier it will be for you. Just be patient and work through each issue one step at a time and in time, you’ll get your blazing fast build.

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