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%/. Pattern request.

From: ab wilson
Subject: %/. Pattern request.
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2009 10:50:33 -0000


I'm sending this to the bug list because I can't seem to get into
Savannah at the moment. Anyway this is not a bug, and not a request for
a feature, but rather a request that an existing feature is retained.

There's a common technique that used to be required to get make to
create directories. In the days before order only dependencies you
couldn't add a target's parent directory as a prerequisite since that
would make the target always be out of date. The usual solution is to
use a dummy file and a pattern rule. Something like this:

$(path_to)/target: $$(@D)/.mkdir

        mkdir -p $@

This works nicely apart from were to have to create the directories for
export - ie you want to create a distribution and tar it up - in which
case you don't really want all the .mkdir files hanging around. But now
since the addition of order only dependencies you don't need to do this.
The only problem is coming up with a pattern rule to use for
directories. %/ doesn't work since make seems to strip trailing path
separators. However %/. works just fine. Ie

$(path_to)/target: $$(@D)/.

        mkdir -p $@

This is a request directed mainly to Paul D. Smith that this feature is
not optimised away in some future version of make.

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