Handling of complex tasks with make


Article from Issue 75/2007

Developers, LaTeX users, and system administrators can all harness the power of make.

Anyone who has compiled a program from the source code will be familiar with the make tool, the central part of the configure, make, make install three-card trick for building and installing software on Linux. This is not the only situation in which make provides useful service. Make can also assist with other tasks, for example, in larger projects, LaTeX users can use make to automatically recompile and create a Postscript or PDF document if one or multiple source files have changed. Make also helps sysadmins, and it can automatically launch a backup script if you have modified one or more files. A control file, makefile, describes the chores you want make to handle. After setting up the makefile, you can simply call make – and let it do all the work.

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