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Implementing a plugin-like module

From: Sam Varshavchik
Subject: Implementing a plugin-like module
Date: Wed, 03 Aug 2011 22:32:11 -0400

I'm looking for a way to implement an optional plugin-like facility in automake.

Basically, take a stock distro installation of automake, then augment it somehow so that automake would add my stuff into each file that it generates from

My situation is that I'm installing a toolkit; a library, a part of which is a code generator. Let's say that my code generator produces filename.H from filename.tmpl.

I can always write out the rules explicitly, something like:


filename.H: filename.tmpl
    # build rule that runs the code generator goes here



# and appmain.C #includes filename.H

Something like that. That's the basic scenario. What I would like to accomplish is to have the actual build rules defined by the installed toolkit. The build rules are somewhat non-trivial, and with many code- generated .H files, it gets tedious. I'm fine with limiting my portability to gmake, so I can put something like

$(call GENERATE_TMPL_RULE,filename)

and my GENERATE_TMPL_RULE macro eval()s the appropriate make rules that produce filename.H from filename.tmpl; then I just add additional calls to this macro to generate rules for each code-generated .H file. Works fine.

The definition of the GENERATE_TMPL_RULE is owned by the toolkit, and I'm looking for a way to avoid having each app, that builds against the toolkit, from explicitly adding the macro definition in its I'd like to have automake put the canned GENERATE_TMP_RULE into the that it generates.

In my distro, I see that automake has a collection of files in /usr/share/automake-[VERSION]/am/*.am, which look like various snippets that the main automake script pulls together into the script that it produces. But it's not clear to me if it's possible for me to make the necessary arrangements for the automake script to insert my own *.am script, that my toolkit could install into that directory, into a produced by automake. That's basically what I'm looking to do, in a nutshell; I'm unable to locate any info on this topic in the automake manual; any tips would be appreciated.

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