(make.info)Variables Simplify


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Variables Make Makefiles Simpler
================================

   In our example, we had to list all the object files twice in the
rule for `edit' (repeated here):

     edit : main.o kbd.o command.o display.o \
                   insert.o search.o files.o utils.o
             cc -o edit main.o kbd.o command.o display.o \
                        insert.o search.o files.o utils.o

   Such duplication is error-prone; if a new object file is added to the
system, we might add it to one list and forget the other.  We can
eliminate the risk and simplify the makefile by using a variable.
"Variables" allow a text string to be defined once and substituted in
multiple places later (Note: How to Use Variables.).

   It is standard practice for every makefile to have a variable named
`objects', `OBJECTS', `objs', `OBJS', `obj', or `OBJ' which is a list
of all object file names.  We would define such a variable `objects'
with a line like this in the makefile:

     objects = main.o kbd.o command.o display.o \
               insert.o search.o files.o utils.o

Then, each place we want to put a list of the object file names, we can
substitute the variable's value by writing `$(objects)' (Note: How to
Use Variables.).

   Here is how the complete simple makefile looks when you use a
variable for the object files:

     objects = main.o kbd.o command.o display.o \
               insert.o search.o files.o utils.o
     
     edit : $(objects)
             cc -o edit $(objects)
     main.o : main.c defs.h
             cc -c main.c
     kbd.o : kbd.c defs.h command.h
             cc -c kbd.c
     command.o : command.c defs.h command.h
             cc -c command.c
     display.o : display.c defs.h buffer.h
             cc -c display.c
     insert.o : insert.c defs.h buffer.h
             cc -c insert.c
     search.o : search.c defs.h buffer.h
             cc -c search.c
     files.o : files.c defs.h buffer.h command.h
             cc -c files.c
     utils.o : utils.c defs.h
             cc -c utils.c
     clean :
             rm edit $(objects)


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