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A script which tells the Unix program "make" how to build a particular computer program or set of programs. A makefile contains variable assignments and rules of the form

target: inputs commands

which say if any of the files in "inputs" has been modified more recently than file "target" (or if the target does not exist) then execute "commands", which will normally bulid "target" from "inputs".

If make is run with no arguments, it looks for a makefile called "Makefile" or "makefile".
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


A developer's "build" utility that causes a program to be compiled, tested, packaged and deployed. It executes a file of commands (the "makefile") that identifies the files in the project and the tasks to be performed. Stemming from the Unix world, variations for Windows and other platforms have been developed. See build and Ant.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The line that includes CLEAR_VARS clears existing local variables that might have been set from previous builds or more complex builds that have multiple makefiles.
If you modularize your work, and construct a build system that will share files (via links, mounts, VPATH in 'Makefile's, etc.), you can arrange your disk usage however you like.
Both of these makefiles use precisely the same library of routines that implement PATH as described in Ferris and Munson [1999].
This tool can download the entire contents of Apple's Inside Macintosh web pages onto your local disk, create makefiles, and use the new THINK Reference Compiler to process these files into compact, easily searchable, THINK Reference Databases.
To compile it, just use the make command-everything has been set properly in the Makefile, which is shown below.
The Makefile program included in ROMI-RIP was used to create the data files.
This is where one of the strengths of Linux, and of open source in general, becomes one of its weaknesses: whilst delivering software as source code allows for open development, troubleshooting and, generally, increased compatibility, the downside is that for anyone who has never used a C compiler or looked at a UNIX editor and a Makefile, the whole experience can be quite uncomfortable.
The value of NB is set within the installation makefile by selecting an architecture name.
Once the mechanism was in place to automate the generation of regression-test runs for an iteration of development, implemented in our development envmronment through a combination of Bourne shell scripts and Makefile targets, testing of software became a natural part of the development process.
This code unpacks a main.c code file along with a makefile that is configured to compile the code and link against the newly installed Parse library.
Makefile was used to create the board files containing the three different grade mixes.