Go to the first, previous, next, last section, table of contents.

Syntax of Static Pattern Rules

Here is the syntax of a static pattern rule:

targets ...: target-pattern: dep-patterns ...

The targets list specifies the targets that the rule applies to. The targets can contain wildcard characters, just like the targets of ordinary rules (see section Using Wildcard Characters in File Names).

The target-pattern and dep-patterns say how to compute the dependencies of each target. Each target is matched against the target-pattern to extract a part of the target name, called the stem. This stem is substituted into each of the dep-patterns to make the dependency names (one from each dep-pattern).

Each pattern normally contains the character `%' just once. When the target-pattern matches a target, the `%' can match any part of the target name; this part is called the stem. The rest of the pattern must match exactly. For example, the target `foo.o' matches the pattern `%.o', with `foo' as the stem. The targets `foo.c' and `foo.out' do not match that pattern.

The dependency names for each target are made by substituting the stem for the `%' in each dependency pattern. For example, if one dependency pattern is `%.c', then substitution of the stem `foo' gives the dependency name `foo.c'. It is legitimate to write a dependency pattern that does not contain `%'; then this dependency is the same for all targets.

`%' characters in pattern rules can be quoted with preceding backslashes (`\'). Backslashes that would otherwise quote `%' characters can be quoted with more backslashes. Backslashes that quote `%' characters or other backslashes are removed from the pattern before it is compared to file names or has a stem substituted into it. Backslashes that are not in danger of quoting `%' characters go unmolested. For example, the pattern `the\%weird\\%pattern\\' has `the%weird\' preceding the operative `%' character, and `pattern\\' following it. The final two backslashes are left alone because they cannot affect any `%' character.

Here is an example, which compiles each of `foo.o' and `bar.o' from the corresponding `.c' file:

objects = foo.o bar.o

$(objects): %.o: %.c
        $(CC) -c $(CFLAGS) $< -o $@

Here `$<' is the automatic variable that holds the name of the dependency and `$@' is the automatic variable that holds the name of the target; see section Automatic Variables.

Each target specified must match the target pattern; a warning is issued for each target that does not. If you have a list of files, only some of which will match the pattern, you can use the filter function to remove nonmatching file names (see section Functions for String Substitution and Analysis):

files = foo.elc bar.o lose.o

$(filter %.o,$(files)): %.o: %.c
        $(CC) -c $(CFLAGS) $< -o $@
$(filter %.elc,$(files)): %.elc: %.el
        emacs -f batch-byte-compile $<

In this example the result of `$(filter %.o,$(files))' is `bar.o lose.o', and the first static pattern rule causes each of these object files to be updated by compiling the corresponding C source file. The result of `$(filter %.elc,$(files))' is `foo.elc', so that file is made from `foo.el'.

Another example shows how to use $* in static pattern rules:

bigoutput littleoutput : %output : text.g
        generate text.g -$* > $@

When the generate command is run, $* will expand to the stem, either `big' or `little'.

Go to the first, previous, next, last section, table of contents.