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Nifty ASCII art is based on the diagrams in the ''[http://sourceware.org/autobook/ Autobook]''. Nifty ASCII art is based on the diagrams in the ''[[http://sourceware.org/autobook/|Autobook]]''.
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The {{{automake}}} program takes a [http://www.gnu.org/software/automake/manual/html_mono/automake.html#Program%20Sources simplified, stereotyped description] and generates a parameterized file that can be processed by {{{configure}}} to produce a {{{Makefile}}} that does the actual build. If the build deals with libraries, {{{libtoolize}}} is invoked to generate equivalent parameterized files for manipulating libraries. The {{{automake}}} program takes a [[http://www.gnu.org/software/automake/manual/html_mono/automake.html#Program%20Sources|simplified, stereotyped description]] and generates a parameterized file that can be processed by {{{configure}}} to produce a {{{Makefile}}} that does the actual build. If the build deals with libraries, {{{libtoolize}}} is invoked to generate equivalent parameterized files for manipulating libraries.
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 * Converts {{{Makefile.am}}} into {{{Makefile.in}}} with [http://fill.in.ref standard targets]  * Converts {{{Makefile.am}}} into {{{Makefile.in}}} with [[http://fill.in.ref|standard targets]]
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 * Evaluates [http://www.gnu.org/software/autoconf/manual/autoconf-2.57/html_node/autoconf_194.html standard macros]  * Evaluates [[http://www.gnu.org/software/autoconf/manual/autoconf-2.57/html_node/autoconf_194.html|standard macros]]

Steps in the Autotools toolchain

This page is still very preliminary. If you have comments or corrections, please send them to GregNoel for integration rather than editing the page yourself.

GNU Autotools is a system that attempts to ease some of the difficult of project development, while enforcing the use of the GNU coding conventions (that is, it's part of the GNU virus). This page is a synopsis of what the tools do and how they fit together.

The toolchain consists of eight steps. For the most part, they are done in the order given below.

Nifty ASCII art is based on the diagrams in the Autobook.

1. autoscan and ifnames

The starting point is to determine just which configure tests should be done. The autoscan program looks at the program's sources and tries to determine if anything might be a portibility issue. If it finds anything, it adds a test for it in the output file, which is then used as a draft for the actual configuration macros.

user input files    optional input     process          output files
================    ==============     =======          ============

                    configure.ac - - - - -.
                                          V
                                      .--------,
{project sources} ------------------->|autoscan|------> configure.scan
                                      `--------'
  • Scans source code to determine what configurable features the program uses
  • Picks up additional tests from existing configure.ac

  • Generates configure.scan as a draft for a new configure.ac

  • (Implemented in Perl?)

  • Identifies and generates tests for:
    • programs used (awk, cc, cpp, et.al.)

    • preprocessor tokens
    • header files used (special for dirent and others)
    • libraries that will be needed (or just placeholder?)
    • various structures and typedefs used
    • various compiler features used
    • use of certain problematical library functions
  • User edits configure.scan to produce configure.ac

  • User can use ifnames to get list of macro symbols

2. autopoint

The autopoint program provides the appropriate configuration macros for the release of gettext being used within the project.

user input files    optional input     process          output files
================    ==============     =======          ============

                                     .---------,
configure.ac ----------------------->|autopoint|------> {macro files}
                                     `---------'
  • Scans configure.ac for the version of gettext

  • Installs the appropriate versions of the configuration macros

3. aclocal

The aclocal program consolidates the macros used by the configure script into a single file. The apparent intent is to allow a distribution that is independent of autotools and yet still be able to regenerate the configure script if need be.

user input files   optional input     process          output files
================   ==============     =======          ============

                    acinclude.m4 - - - - -.
                                          V
                                      .-------,
configure.ac ------------------------>|aclocal|
                 {user macro files} ->|       |------> aclocal.m4
                                      `-------'
  • Scans configure.ac to determine autotool macros used

  • Collects automake macros from acinclude.m4

  • Collects user macros from project files
  • Produces aclocal.m4 containing automake macros and user macros

  • (functionality will eventually be included in autoconf?)

4. autoheader

Processes the configure macros to determine the #define tokens generated.

user input files    optional input     process          output files
================    ==============     =======          ============

                    aclocal.m4 - - - - - - - .
                    (acconfig.h) - - - -.    |
                                        V    V
                                     .----------,
configure.ac ----------------------->|autoheader|----> config.h.in
                                     `----------'
  • Scans configure.ac to determine generated #defines

  • Implemented by redefining some of the macros then running M4 over the input
  • Older releases used acconfig.h as a template, newer releases use AH_* macros for same effect

  • Produces config.h.in

5. automake and libtoolize

The automake program takes a simplified, stereotyped description and generates a parameterized file that can be processed by configure to produce a Makefile that does the actual build. If the build deals with libraries, libtoolize is invoked to generate equivalent parameterized files for manipulating libraries.

user input files   optional input   processes          output files
================   ==============   =========          ============

                                     .--------,
                                     |        | - - -> COPYING
                                     |        | - - -> INSTALL
                                     |        |------> install-sh
                                     |        |------> missing
                                     |automake|------> mkinstalldirs
configure.ac ----------------------->|        |
Makefile.am  ----------------------->|        |------> Makefile.in
                                     |        |------> stamp-h.in
                                 .---+        | - - -> config.guess
                                 |   |        | - - -> config.sub
                                 |   `------+-'
                                 |          | - - - -> config.guess
                                 |libtoolize| - - - -> config.sub
                                 |          |--------> ltmain.sh
                                 |          |--------> ltconfig
                                 `----------'
  • (automake is Perl script)

  • Simpler syntax than makefile
  • Scans configure.ac to see what symbols can be substituted.

  • Converts Makefile.am into Makefile.in with standard targets

  • Generates other GNU files (COPYING, INSTALL, stamp-h.in)

  • Generates other GNU scripts (install-sh, missing, mkinstalldirs)

  • Generates config.guess and config.sub

  • For libtool, generates ltmain.sh and ltconfig

6. autoconf and autoreconf

The autoconf program converts the configure macros into a shell script.

The autoreconf program is intended to update the generated files if the toolchain has been updated. It simply runs autopoint, aclocal, autoheader, automake, libtoolize, and autoconf as appropriate.

user input files   optional input   processes          output files
================   ==============   =========          ============

                   aclocal.m4 - - - - - -.
                                         V
                                     .--------,
configure.ac ----------------------->|autoconf|------> configure
                                     `--------'
  • package for generating configure scripts
  • Reads configure.ac and aclocal.m4

  • Evaluates standard macros

  • Runs M4 over the macros to get configure

7. configure

The configure tests are run and the results are inserted in the various input files.

user input files   other input      processes          output files
================   ===========      =========          ============

                                     .---------,
                   config.site - - ->|         | -----> config.status
                  config.cache - - ->|configure| - - -> config.cache
                                     |         +-,
                                     `-+-------' |
                                       |         |----> config.h
                   config.h.in ------->|config-  |----> Makefile
                   Makefile.in ------->|  .status|----> stamp-h
                                       |         +--,
                                     .-+         |  |
                                     | `------+--'  |
                   ltmain.sh ------->|ltconfig|-------> libtool
                                     |        |     |
                                     `-+------'     |
                                       |config.guess|
                                       | config.sub |
                                       `------------
  • Evaluates command-line options (REF NEEDED)
  • reads config.site for other options

  • reads config.cache for current options

  • Evaluates feature tests
  • cross-compilation
  • updates config.cache

  • produces config.status

  • runs config.status

    • converts <foo>.in to <foo>

  • runs ltconfig

    • reads ltmain.sh

    • generates libtool script

8. make and libtool

The program is built.

user input files   other input      processes          output files
================   ===========      =========          ============

                                   .--------,
                   Makefile ------>|        |
                   config.h ------>|  make  |--------> {project targets}
{project sources} ---------------->|        |
                                 .-+        +--,
                                 | `--------'  |
                                 |   libtool   |
                                 |   missing   |
                                 |  install-sh |
                                 |mkinstalldirs|
                                 `-------------'
  • Evaluates DAG
  • make runs libtool

    • Library and shared object support
  • (mostly covered already in SCons)

GregNoel/AutotoolSteps (last edited 2008-03-12 02:47:09 by localhost)