First, do you know where WOK name comes from ? It’s not just Workshop Organization Kit as named in the documentation. In Chinese cuisine wok is a deep convex pan in which chef cooks food (I’m sure you saw it, right ?) The name was given by a former Matra Datavision employee who was of Chinese origin and initiated it. WOK was used in MDTV in multi-site, multi-team, cross-platform environment who intensively worked on development of one product bundle (Euclid Quantum) that contained many components (including its foundation – CAS.CADE). The source base was huge, release cycles were asynchronous and this could not fit into one source control repository that would permanently built. Take into account state of the art hardware of that time (slow Sun workstations, networks, etc). So development environment had to reflect that and WOK really enabled that dispersed and hierarchical environment. You could take a piece of software and put into your local workbench or creates a tree of workbenches and develop.
Time passed, Euclid Quantum dissolved, CAS.CADE transformed into Open CASCADE, but WOK is still alive though not developed anymore. It’s pure legacy, and current investment into it would unlikely be justified. WOK still does its job enabling cross-platform and multi-team software development but it’s way too heavy for that. It’s like if you used a truck to drive to your office one mile away from your home.
In terms of building time WOK does not stand any competition with VS which builds in parallel threads. Building Data Exchange module in Release mode on quad-core Xeon processor took 13 minutes where WOK was crunching for 32.
My personal view on development environment is that you should borrow what is available outside. Don’t re-invent a wheel when others produce good ones you can freely use. There are options available out there, with wide adoption, with active evolution. Go and grab some. In our team in Intel we use SVN and SCONS-based build system (of course, with custom tweaks to setup a whole infrastructure around it – promotion process, unit and integration tests, build rotation, etc). I heard Google’s Chrome also uses SCONS. There are also cmake, qmake (Qt-tailored) and likely many other decent options.
Migration has a cost, but if you count long term benefits, you can change your mind. My humble opinion.