So, I'm still reading O'Rielly's 21st Century C. I know, too many books on
the go and I read slowly, and not often enough. I'm going through the section
on GNU autotools, which I've never been a heavy user of, albiet I'm a heavy
consumer of. I just don't spend much time distributing C/C++ across platforms.
I have a little C tool that I figured I'd try it on, a small replacement for
GNU tree that I wrote a while back, and since tree isn't available on
OS X, it seemed a good excuse to port it. Previously I just had a Makefile
that I maintained, and it works fine, but it's a good excuse to learn how to
use autotools for the future. I do have some libraries, and they're harder to
port, which is where libtool comes in.
This build script outlines the process of using autotools for the first
time. This script borrows very heavily from the book's author.
echo "Creating Makefile.am"
cat > Makefile.am <<EOF
echo "Running autoscan..."
echo "Creating configure.ac..."
sed -e 's/FULL-PACKAGE-NAME/twig/' \
-e 's/VERSION/1.0/' \
-e 's|BUG-REPORT-ADDRESSemail@example.com|' \
< configure.scan > configure.ac
echo "Creating additional files..."
touch NEWS README AUTHORS ChangeLog
echo "Running autoreconf..."
echo "Running configure..."
echo "Running make distcheck to package sources..."
At this point, it's not ready to ship, as the NEWS, README,
AUTHORS and ChangeLog aren't populated yet. But it's close. The
configure script works, and I could then build it on OS X using the
My next project to package is a shared library for work, so that will be more
interesting. Still, if you're looking to use autotools for the first time for
something simple, this should take the mystery out of kick-starting it. Sure,
there's some magic like the AM_INIT_AUTOMAKE macro, and I've a ton to
learn yet, but this worked on the first try, and the resulting tarball is good
to push to SourceForge or elsewhere if you want to.
As I pick up more, I'll try to share it. I don't find autotools intuitive at
all, but with some simple recipes I think I'll survive.
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