Make and Makefiles are the historical build system for Unix. Because it is open to any build tool, it is still a relevant standard today. However, to much boilerplate is needed, and Automake, a translator for extended Makefiles, takes care of this. Since it's an extended Makefile, whenever needed, writing regular Make recipes works.
On Windows, until recently, it's not simple to use Make, hence Automake is (was?) not to adequate for project targeting Windows.
One needs to master Makefiles before, and know how to use Autoconf.
Rules to build my C/C++ projects.