How to add a Makefile post-build step

24 September, 2010 § 1 Comment

I spend most of my time working in Visual Studio and like its ability for performing post-build steps. These can be used to copy files, register DLLs, or run unit tests.

In my work at MSU I need to use a makefile and have been writing my code test-first. As such, I found I was spending a lot of time typing make and then typing ./runTests. Ideally, I could just have the tests run automatically after each build.

Looking around on the internet for quick steps to add a post-build step to make wasn’t so fruitful. I ran in to a bunch of old forum posts that mentioned Visual Studio-generated makefiles with post-build steps. A little thinking about the idea sprang the solution straight to mind.

It turns out it is really simple and quite intuitive. Here’s my current makefile:

CFLAGS=-c -Wall -pedantic-errors -Wextra -Wunused -Werror

all: findRoute findRoute-test runTests

rebuild: clean all

runTests: findRoute-test

findRoute: main.o cities.o flight_charges.o traffic_controller.o
	$(CC) main.o cities.o flight_charges.o traffic_controller.o -o findRoute

findRoute-test: main-test.o cities.o flight_charges.o traffic_controller.o
	$(CC) main-test.o cities.o flight_charges.o traffic_controller.o -o findRoute-test

main.o: main.cpp
	$(CC) $(CFLAGS) main.cpp

cities.o: cities.cpp
	$(CC) $(CFLAGS) cities.cpp

flight_charges.o: flight_charges.cpp
	$(CC) $(CFLAGS) flight_charges.cpp

traffic_controller.o: traffic_controller.cpp
	$(CC) $(CFLAGS) traffic_controller.cpp

main-test.o: main-test.cpp
	$(CC) $(CFLAGS) main-test.cpp

	rm -rf *o findRoute*

The runTests step above states that the findRoute-test step is a prerequisite. If that step passes, then it simply executes the next line, that being the test executable.

I found this very intuitive as it is no different than any other executable like the compiler. I hope this helps someone else who is thinking of doing the same or a variation.

Do you see anything above that could be improved? I love getting comments that help me get better.

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§ One Response to How to add a Makefile post-build step

  • A.J. Orians says:

    Hey Jared,

    I’ve been liking CMake! It will generate a Makefile for school; and a VS solution file if you want one. It might be two steps for you and not what you are looking for now; but I think eventually this may be what you are looking for.

    One thing about regular Makefiles (and I don’t know if this is still true) but whitespace does matter.

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