### Tip 1: use a makefile

Part of a series of tips on POSIX and C. Start from the tip intro page, or get 21st Century C, the book based on this series.

level: Start here
purpose: Worry about compilation details once and only once

On the scale from works out of the box on one end to infinitely configurable and tweakable on the other, the C compiler is far on the tweakability side. But correctly tweaking the compiler is a problem you need to solve once, and then get on with your life. The solution is the makefile, which is basically an organized set of variables and shell scripts.

If you just want to go from .c files to an executable in least time, here's the makefile for you:

CFLAGS = -g -Wall -std=gnu99 -O3
LDLIBS=
OBJECTS=
CC=gcc

$(P):$(OBJECTS)


Usage:

• Once ever: save this (with the name makefile) in the same directory as your .c files.
• Once per session: Set the variable P as the name of your program from the command line: export P=your_program (not your_program.c).
• Every time you need to recompile: type make .

Tweaks:

• If you have a second (or more) C file, add second.o third.o, et cetera on the OBJECTS line (no commas, just spaces between names).
• If, when you run the debugger, you find that too many variables have been optimized out for you to follow what's going on, then change the -O3 part (which sets Optimization level three) to -O0.
• If you are using a not-entirely-standard library of functions, then you will need to add the library on the LIBS line and the include path on the CFLAGS line. Try typing pkg-config on your command line; if you get an error about specifying package names, then great, you have pkg-config and can use it like:
CFLAGS=[everything above plus:] pkg-config --cflags apohenia glib-2.0
LDLIBS=pkg-config --libs apohenia glib-2.0

If you get an error about pkg-config not being found, you'll have to specify each library and/or its locations:
CFLAGS=[everything above plus:] -I/home/b/root/include
LDLIBS=-L/home/b/root/lib -lweirdlib

Tune in next time for an extended example.
• After you add a library to the LIBS and CFLAGS lines and you know it works on your system, there is little reason to ever remove it. Do you really care that the final executable might be 10 kilobytes larger than if you customized a new makefile for every program?
• If you are using a compiler other than GCC, set CC accordingly.

OK, you're done! After you export P=your_program, you can run make and watch the compiler run and/or spit out errors, and never worry about what all that junk in the makefile actually means.

There will be limited plugs for Modeling with Data in this tip-a-day series, but I think it's worth mentioning that Appendix A goes into great detail about tweaking the makefile to do great things. Some notes for now:

$(CC)$(CPPFLAGS) $(CFLAGS) -c  and to generate a final program from a set of object files, $(CC) $(LDFLAGS) yourtarget.o$(LOADLIBES) \$(LDLIBS)

#include <stdio.h>