example - makefile.am tutorial




What are Makefile.am and Makefile.in? (3)

These two files are mostly seen in open source projects.

What are they for, and how do they work?


reference :

Makefile.am -- a user input file to automake

configure.in -- a user input file to autoconf


autoconf generates configure from configure.in

automake gererates Makefile.in from Makefile.am

configure generates Makefile from Makefile.in

For ex:

$]
configure.in Makefile.in
$] sudo autoconf
configure configure.in Makefile.in ... 
$] sudo ./configure
Makefile Makefile.in

Makefile.am is a programmer-defined file and is used by automake to generate the Makefile.in file (the .am stands for automake). The configure script typically seen in source tarballs will use the Makefile.in to generate a Makefile.

The configure script itself is generated from a programmer-defined file named either configure.ac or configure.in (deprecated). I prefer .ac (for autoconf) since it differentiates it from the generated Makefile.in files and that way I can have rules such as make dist-clean which runs rm -f *.in. Since it is a generated file, it is not typically stored in a revision system such as Git, SVN, Mercurial or CVS, rather the .ac file would be.

Read more on GNU Autotools. Read about make and Makefile first, then learn about automake, autoconf, libtool, etc.


Simple example

Shamelessly adapted from: http://www.gnu.org/software/automake/manual/html_node/Creating-amhello.html and tested on Ubuntu 14.04 Automake 1.14.1.

Makefile.am

SUBDIRS = src
dist_doc_DATA = README.md

README.md

Some doc.

configure.ac

AC_INIT([automake_hello_world], [1.0], [[email protected]])
AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE([-Wall -Werror foreign])
AC_PROG_CC
AC_CONFIG_HEADERS([config.h])
AC_CONFIG_FILES([
 Makefile
 src/Makefile
])
AC_OUTPUT

src/Makefile.am

bin_PROGRAMS = autotools_hello_world
autotools_hello_world_SOURCES = main.c

src/main.c

#include <config.h>
#include <stdio.h>

int main (void) {
  puts ("Hello world from " PACKAGE_STRING);
  return 0;
}

Usage

autoreconf --install
mkdir build
cd build
../configure
make
sudo make install
autoconf_hello_world
sudo make uninstall

This outputs:

Hello world from automake_hello_world 1.0

Notes

  • autoreconf --install generates several template files which should be tracked by Git, including Makefile.in. It only needs to be run the first time.

  • make install installs:

    • the binary to /usr/local/bin
    • README.md to /usr/local/share/doc/automake_hello_world

On GitHub for you to try it out.





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