Make searches the current directory for the makefile to use, e. GNU Make searches files in order for a file named one of GNUmakefile , makefile , Makefile and then runs the specified or default target s from only that file. The makefile language is similar to declarative programming. One problem in build automation is the tailoring of a build process to a given platform. For instance, the compiler used on one platform might not accept the same options as the one used on another.
This is not well handled by Make. This problem is typically handled by generating platform-specific build instructions, which in turn are processed by Make. A makefile consists of rules.
Each rule begins with a textual dependency line which defines a target followed by a colon : and optionally an enumeration of components files or other targets on which the target depends. The dependency line is arranged so that the target left hand of the colon depends on components right hand of the colon. It is common to refer to components as prerequisites of the target. For example, a C.
Because Make itself does not understand, recognize or distinguish different kinds of files, this opens up a possibility for human error. A forgotten or an extra dependency may not be immediately obvious and may result in subtle bugs in the generated software. It is possible to write makefiles which generate these dependencies by calling third-party tools, and some makefile generators, such as the Automake toolchain provided by the GNU Project , can do so automatically.
Each dependency line may be followed by a series of TAB indented command lines which define how to transform the components usually source files into the target usually the "output". If any of the prerequisites has a more recent modification time than the target, the command lines are run.
The GNU Make documentation refers to the commands associated with a rule as a "recipe". Make can decide where to start through topological sorting. Each command line must begin with a tab character to be recognized as a command. The tab is a whitespace character, but the space character does not have the same special meaning. This is problematic, since there may be no visual difference between a tab and a series of space characters.
This aspect of the syntax of makefiles is often subject to criticism; it has been described by Eric S.
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Raymond as "one of the worst design botches in the history of Unix"  and The Unix-Haters Handbook said "using tabs as part of the syntax is like one of those pungee stick traps in The Green Berets ". Feldman explains the choice as caused by a workaround for an early implementation difficulty preserved by a desire for backward compatibility with the very first users:. Why the tab in column 1? Yacc was new, Lex was brand new. I hadn't tried either, so I figured this would be a good excuse to learn. After getting myself snarled up with my first stab at Lex, I just did something simple with the pattern newline-tab.
It worked, it stayed. And then a few weeks later I had a user population of about a dozen, most of them friends, and I didn't want to screw up my embedded base. The rest, sadly, is history. However, the GNU Make since version 3. Each command is executed by a separate shell or command-line interpreter instance. Since operating systems use different command-line interpreters this can lead to unportable makefiles. In contrast to that, Microsoft's nmake executes commands with cmd. A rule may have no command lines defined. The dependency line can consist solely of components that refer to targets, for example:.
The command lines of a rule are usually arranged so that they generate the target. An example: if file.
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The contents of the makefile:. The above rule would be triggered when Make updates "file. In the following invocation, Make would typically use this rule to update the "file. Ignoring errors and silencing echo can alternatively be obtained via the special targets ". A makefile can contain definitions of macros.
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Macros in makefiles may be overridden in the command-line arguments passed to the Make utility. Upcoming SlideShare. Like this presentation? Why not share!
Managing Projects with GNU Make (Nutshell Handbooks)
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