What do you folks use as a command line shell in Windows? I know several people are working outside of Project Navigator (Xilinx) for builds and it Windows is just not a very comforting environment for shell folks. What 'make' utility do you use?
I don't use the Navigator. I just make little batch files and execute them from the command line. I'm told that the Cygwin environment is very nice; it allows Unix-like shells on Windows, but I haven't tried it.
Not much, since xilinx tools need a complete rebuild of the project if a single source-file changes. (Due to the 'flattening' of the design.) It buys some degree of platform independence though. When I gave Linux a try it was much easier to port my design flow to that platform.
The windows command shell also has these features (at least in contemporary versions of windows).
Tab-completion is disabled by default. Use regedit to change the value of HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor\CompletionChar from 0 to 9 to enable it. It's not the same as tab-completion in bash, but it's better than nothing.
For one, it buys me time -- I don't have to learn cheesy Windows batch files and can use something that is far more flexible and platform independent. Two, it buys integration with the rest of a project. I can run a complete build that includes FPGA stuff (several variants, for example), the C code on an embedded processor, and the C code for Windows/Linux interfaces that may accompany a project.
Unfortunately, most of the Xilinx project has to be rebuilt for any change anyhow, so you gain less in terms of incremental build as you do in C projects.