tool = T = toolsmith
A collection of tools used to develop for a particular hardware target, or to work with a particular data format (thus `the Crusoe development toolchain', or the `DocBook toolchain'). Often used in the context of building software on one system which will be installed or run on some other device; in that case the chain of tools usually consists of such items as a particular version of a compiler, libraries, special headers, etc. May also be used of text-formatting, page layout, or multimedia tools which render from some markup to a variety of production formats. Differs from `toolkit' in that the former implies a collection of semi-independent tools with complementary functions, while `toolchain' implies that each of the parts is a serial stage in a rather tightly bound pipeline. Seems to have become current in early 1999 and 2000; now common.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, this entry manually entered by rootbeer277.