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GNU Make TODO List
This list comes both from the authors and from users of GNU make.
They are listed in no particular order!
Also, I don't guarantee that all of them will be ultimately deemed "good
ideas" and implemented. These are just the ones that, at first blush,
seem to have some merit (and that I can remember).
However, if you see something here you really, really want, speak up.
All other things being equal, I will tend to implement things that seem
to maximize user satisfaction.
If you want to implement some of them yourself, barring the ones I've
marked below, have at it! Please contact me first to let me know you're
working on it, and give me some info about the design--and, critically,
information about any user-visible syntax change, etc.
The Top Item
If you know perl (or want to learn DejaGNU or similar), the number one
priority on my list of things I don't have time to do right now is
fixing up the GNU make test suite. Most importantly it needs to be made
"parallelizable", so more than one regression can run at the same time
(essentially, make the "work" directory local). Also, the CWD during
the test should be in the work directory or, better, a test-specific
temporary directory so each test gets a new directory; right now
sometimes tests leak files into the main directory which causes
subsequent tests to fail (some tests may need to be tweaked). Beyond
that, any cleanup done to make writing, reading, or handling tests
simpler would be great! Please feel free to make whatever changes you
like to the current tests, given some high-level goals, and that you'll
port the current tests to whatever you do :).
The Rest of the List
1) Option to check more than timestamps to determine if targets have
changed. This is also a very big one. It's _close_ to my plate :),
and I have very definite ideas about how I would like it done.
Please pick something else unless you must have this feature. If
you try it, please work _extremely_ closely with me on it.
1a) Possibly a special case of this is the .KEEP_STATE feature of Sun's
make. Some great folks at W U. in Canada did an implementation of
this for a class project. Their approach is reasonable and
workable, but doesn't really fit into my ideas for #2. Maybe
that's OK. I have paperwork for their work so if you want to do
this one talk to me to get what they've already done.
[K R Praveen <>]
2) Currently you can use " : %.baz" to mean that one
invocation of the rule builds both targets. GNU make needs a way to
do that for explicit rules, too. I heard a rumor that some versions
of make all you to say " + : a.baz" to do this (i.e., a
"+" means one invocation builds both). Don't know if this is the
best syntax or not... what if you say " + a.bam : a.baz";
what does that mean?
3) Multi-token pattern rule matching (allow %1/%2.c : %1/obj/%2.o,
etc., or something like that). Maybe using regex?
4) Provide a .TARGETS variable, containing the names of the targets
defined in the makefile.
Actually, I now think a $(targets ...) function, at least, might be
better than a MAKETARGETS variable. The argument would be types of
targets to list: "phony" is the most useful one. I suppose
"default" might also be useful. Maybe some others; check the
bitfields to see what might be handy.
5) Some sort of operating-system independent way of handling paths
would be outstanding, so makefiles can be written for UNIX, VMS,
DOS, MS-Windows, Amiga, etc. with a minimum of specialization.
Or, perhaps related/instead of, some sort of meta-quoting syntax so
make can deal with filenames containing spaces, colons, etc. I
dunno, maybe something like $[...]? This may well not be worth
doing until #1 is done.
pseudo-targets have different capabilities. For example, .PRECIOUS
can take a "%", the others can't. Etc. These should all work the
same, insofar as that makes sense.
7) Improved debugging/logging/etc. capabilities. Part of this is done:
I introduced a number of debugging enhancements. Tim Magill is (I
think) looking into options to control output more selectively.
One thing I want to do in debugging is add a flag to allow debugging
of variables as they're expanded (!). This would be incredibly
verbose, but could be invaluable when nothing else seems to work and
you just can't figure it out. The way variables are expanded now
means this isn't 100% trivial, but it probably won't be hard.
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