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Gary Holt > makepp-1.19 > makepp_functions


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makepp_functions -- Functions in makepp


Any expression of the format $(name arg1 arg2 arg3) or $(name) where name is not the name of a variable, is interpreted as a function call. The name may contain letters, underscores, or hyphens; to avoid confusion, you may use hyphens or underscores interchangeably, since internally hyphens are converted to underscores. Evaluating such an expression simply invokes a perl subroutine. You can define perl subroutines to do whatever you like. See the sub statement and the section on extending makepp for more details.

makepp has a number of builtin functions which may be useful. It supports almost all of GNU make's textual functions (see GNU make's documentation for details), and some of its own. The most useful functions are:

absolute_filename files

Converts relative filenames into absolutes. For example, $(absolute_filename xyz.c) might return /usr/src/our_project/subdir/xyz.c.

addprefix prefix, words

Prepends the prefix string to each of the words. This is mostly for GNU make compatibility; using rc-style expansion, this can be done in a more readable fashion like this:

    MODULES := a b c d
    X_OLD_STYLE := $(addsuffix $(OBJDIR)/, $(addsuffix .o, $(MODULES)))
    X_NEW_STYLE := $(OBJDIR)/$(MODULES).o   # Isn't that easier to read?
addsuffix suffix, words

Appends the suffix string to each of the words. This is mostly for GNU make compatibility; using rc-style expansion, this can be done in a more readable fashion like this:

    X_OLD_STYLE := $(addsuffix .o, $(MODULES))
basename filenames

The basename is the entire file name (with the directory), minus the text after the last period. E.g., $(basename myfile/version-1.0-module.c) is myfile/version-1.0-module

dir filenames

Extracts the directory part of each file in the filename list, including the trailing slash. Returns ./ if there is no directory in the filename.

filter patterns, words

Returns all words in the list that match the patterns. Patterns may simply be other words, or filename wildcards (i.e., *, ?, and [a-z] are recognized), or they may have a % character, which means to match any string at that point (same as *).

filter_out patterns, words

Returns all words in the list that do not match the patterns. Patterns may simply be other words, or filename wildcards (i.e., *, ?, and [a-z] are recognized), or they may have a % character, which means to match any string at that point (same as *).

For example:

    libproduction.a: $(filter_out test_*, $(wildcard *.o))

will put all .o files which exist or can be built, except those beginning with test_, into libproduction.a.

find_upwards filename

Searches for a file of the given name in the directory ., .., ../.., ../../.., etc., until the file is found or the root directory is reached or the directory is located on a different file system. (This last requirement is to prevent problems with automounters or hung network filesystems.)

For example, if you have a project with many levels of subdirectories, you could include this common fragment in all of the makefiles (e.g., by using the include statement):

   TOP_LEVEL_INCLUDE_DIR := $(find_upwards includes)
                                # Searches for a directory that contains the
                                # includes subdirectory.

   %.o : %.c
        $(CC) $(CFLAGS) -I$(TOP_LEVEL_INCLUDE_DIR) -c $(input) -o $(output)

(Note that the include statement automatically searches upwards for files, so there is no need to do something like this:

    include $(find_upwards

Instead, you can just do


and it will work just as well.)

if string, result-if-string-not-blank, result-if-string-blank

An alternative to the ifeq, etc., statements. If the string is not blank (i.e., the condition is true), the second argument (the "then" clause) is returned (after variable expansion); if the string is blank, the third argument (the "else" clause) is returned.

For example,

    CFLAGS := $(if $(filter gcc egcc, $(CC)), -g -Wall, -g)

defines CFLAGS to be -g -Wall if the variable CC is either gcc or egcc, and -g otherwise. (This is what the default build rules do.)

    $(infer_objects object1.o object2.o, *.o)

If you use standard conventions regarding header file names, makepp is capable of guessing which .o or .lo files need to be linked with your program. I use this to pick out files from a library directory which contains modules used in many different programs. Instead of making a library .a file and having the linker pick out the relevant modules, makepp can pick out the relevant modules for you. This way, only the relevant modules get compiled.

Makepp's algorithm for inferring object dependencies depends on the convention that the implementation of all classes or functions defined in a header file xyz.h are compiled into an object file called xyz.o (or xyz.lo). So makepp's algorithm for inferring object dependencies starts with one or a few objects that we know have to be linked into the program. It looks at which files were included with #include in those sources, and tries to find corresponding object files for each of the include files.

$(infer_objects ) needs to be mentioned in the dependency list of a program, like this:

    myprog: $(infer_objects main.o another_object.o, \
                **/*.o /other/library/dirs/**/*.o)
        $(CXX) $(inputs) -o $(output) $(LIBS)

The infer_objects function takes two arguments (separated by a comma, as shown). The first is one or a few object files that are known to be required (wildcards are permissible here). The second is a list of possible objects (normally you would use a wildcard here) that could be linked in if necessary. The return value from this function is a list that contains first all of the objects in the first argument, and then after those, all additional objects that were contained in the second argument that are required by the objects in the first argument.

For example, suppose main.o comes from main.cpp, which includes my_class.h. infer_objects looks for files with the name my_class.o. If exactly one such file is found, it is added to the list. (If two object files my_class.o are found in different directories, a warning message is printed.) infer_objects also examines my_class.cpp to see what it includes, and what additional object files are implied.

notdir filenames

Returns the non-directory portion of the filename(s), i.e., everything after the last slash if there is one, or the whole filename otherwise.

only_targets filenames

Returns only those filenames in the list that are actually targets of some rule (either explicit or pattern rules). You may specify wildcards (including makepp's special wildcard, **) in the filenames. (See the $(wildcard ) function for more details. This can be used for a clean target, for example:

    .PHONY: clean
        rm -f $(only_targets *)

Now if you type makepp clean, it will delete everything it knows how to build.

Another place where it may be useful is to avoid including stale .o files in your build. For example, if you build a library like this:

    mylib.a: *.o
        $(RM) -f $(output)
        $(AR) cr $(output) $(inputs)

and then you delete some source files but forget to delete the corresponding .o files, the .o files will still be around. This means they will still be incorporated into the library despite the fact that they are not useful any more. If you modify your rule like this:

    mylib.a: $(only_targets *.o)
        $(RM) -f $(output)
        $(AR) cr $(output) $(inputs)

then this problem won't occur.

Note that this refers only to files that are known to be targets at the time you invoke only-targets. If only_targets appears in the dependencies or actions of a rule, then all possible targets will be known because dependencies and actions are not evaluated until the rule is executed. However, if you evaluate try to evaluate it earlier in the makefile with a := variable like this:

    ALL_TARGETS := $(only_targets *)
    target1: dependency1
    target2: dependency2

then only_targets will not know about the subsequent rules.

Similarly, only_targets doesn't know about targets produced in makefiles that are loaded with recursive make. (But you shouldn't be using recursive make anyway; use use the load_makefile statement, or implicit makefile loading instead.)

only_nontargets filenames

Returns only those filenames in the list that are not targets of any rule (either explicit or pattern rules). You may specify a wildcard (see the $(wildcard ) function for more details on makepp's wildcards). This can be used for generating a distribution target, for example:

    .PHONY: distribution
        mkdir our_product-$(VERSION)
        cp $(filter-out %~, $(only_nontargets *)) our_product-$(VERSION)
        tar cf - our_product-$(VERSION) | gzip -9c > our_product-$(VERSION).tar.gz

In this case, the $(only_nontargets *) returns every file in the current directory that is not a target of some rule. The $(filter_out %~, ...) removes editor backups.

Similar to only_targets (see above), only_nontargets only knows about targets that have been defined already. This is only a problem if you use it to define variables with the := assignment; if you use it in the dependency list or in the body of a rule, all other rules will already have been seen.

relative_filename file1 file2 file3

Returns the name of those files relative to the current directory (the one the makefile is in). This can also be used to clean unnecessary ./ and other junk from the path:

     DIR := .
     SUBDIR := ..
     FNAME := $(DIR)/../otherdir/$(SUBDIR)/files
     X := $(relative_filename $(FNAME))
relative_to file1 file2 file3, directory

Returns the name of those files relative to the specified directory. This is typically useful when for whatever reason you have to execute a command from a different directory:

        cd .. && tar cf $(relative_to $(output), ..) $(relative_to ., ..)
patsubst pattern, substitute, words

Performs a substitution on each word in the word list. A % character matches any string. This is best illustrated by an example:

    OBJS = $(patsubst %.c, object_dir/%.o, $(C_SOURCES))

takes every file in C_SOURCES and returns the name of an object file in object_dir. Sometimes it is more concise to use a substitution reference, e.g., the above could have been written as

    OBJS = $(C_SOURCES:%.c=object_dir/%.o)
phony words

Indicates that the list of words are actually phony targets, and returns the list of targets. It's intended to be used like this: $(phony all): my_program

    $(phony clean):
        rm -f *.o my_program

You can also declare one or more targets as phony with a line like this anywhere in your makefile:

    .PHONY: all clean
print text

Outputs the text and returns it. This is mostly useful for debugging, when you don't understand why variable substitution has the result that it does. For example,

    XYZ := $(print $(patsubst %.c, %o, $(SOURCE_FILES)))

will print out the result of the patsubst call.

    XYZ := $(patsubst %.c, %o, $(print $(SOURCE_FILES)))

will print out the last argument to the patsubst call.

shell shell-command x<shell>

Returns the output from the given shell command, with newlines replaced by spaces.

For example:

    ARCH := $(shell uname -m)
sort word1 word2 word3 ...

Sorts the words in lexical order and removes duplicates.

wildcard pattern

Returns the sorted names of all files matching the given pattern which exist, or those files which do not yet exist but can be built based on the rules that makepp knows about at the point when it evaluates the expression. Ignores files and directories that are not readable.

Makepp supports all the usual shell wildcards (*, ?, and []). It also has a wildcard ** which matches any number of intervening directories. (This idea was stolen from zsh.) For example, **/*.c matches all the .c files in the entire source tree. objects/**/*.o matches all the .o files contained anywhere in the subdirectory objects or any of its subdirectories or any of their subdirectories. The ** wildcard will not follow soft links to directories, nor will it attempt to enter directories which exist but cannot be read. Also files which exist but cannot be read will not be returned by $(wildcard ).

makepp also supports many other, less useful functions that GNU make has. See the GNU make documentation for details, because I don't feel like typing it in now. (To my knowledge, the only ones it does not support are call, error, and warning.) These are intended mainly to support existing makefiles; it's very easy to write your own functions in perl, or to use the perl_begin or sub statements to manipulate variables directly in perl inside your makefile, so you can do any kind of manipulation if one of these built-in functions isn't adequate.


Gary Holt (

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