It is often convenient to be able to keep the build files used by all your projects in one place. Those files could be Makefiles, configuration files, templates and more.
Erlang.mk allows you to automatically load plugins from dependencies. Plugins can do anything, including defining new variables, defining file templates, hooking themselves inside the normal Erlang.mk processing or even adding new rules.
You can load plugins using one of two methods. You can either load all plugins from a dependency, or just one. We will also cover conventions about writing external plugins.
To load plugins from a dependency, all you need to do is add
the dependency name to
DEP_PLUGINS in addition to the list
For example, if you have
DEPS = cowboy DEP_PLUGINS = cowboy
This will load the file plugins.mk in the root folder of the Cowboy repository.
Now that we know how to load all plugins, let’s take a look at how to load one specific plugin from a dependency.
To do this, instead of writing only the name of the dependency,
we will write its name and the path to the plugin file. This
means that writing
DEP_PLUGINS = cowboy is equivalent to
DEP_PLUGINS = cowboy/plugins.mk.
Knowing this, if we were to load the plugin mk/dist.mk from Cowboy and no other, we would write the following in our Makefile:
DEPS = cowboy DEP_PLUGINS = cowboy/mk/dist.mk
The plugins.mk file is a convention. It is meant to load all the plugins from the dependency. The code for the plugin can be written directly in plugins.mk or be separate.
If you are providing more than one plugin with your repository, the recommended way is to create one file per plugin in the mk/ folder in your repository, and then include those individual plugins in plugins.mk.
For example, if you have two plugins mk/dist.mk and mk/templates.mk, you could write the following plugins.mk file:
THIS := $(dir $(realpath $(lastword $(MAKEFILE_LIST)))) include $(THIS)/mk/dist.mk include $(THIS)/mk/templates.mk
THIS variable is required to relatively include files.
This allows users to not only be able to select individual plugins, but also select all plugins from the dependency in one go if they wish to do so.
Plugins can include some help text by extending the target
help-plugins:: $(verbose) printf "%s\n" "" "Run benchmark: $(MAKE) perfs"
Plugins declared in
DEP_PLUGINS are loaded near the end of Erlang.mk.
That’s why you have access to all previously initialized variables.
However, if you want your plugin to add common dependencies to
your applications, a regular is loaded too late in the process.
You need to use "Early-stage plugins". They are declared using the
DEP_EARLY_PLUGINS variable instead. Plugins listed in this variable
are loaded near the beginning of Erlang.mk Otherwise, they work exactly
If you only give the name of a dependency, the default file loaded is early-plugins.mk. You can specify a filename exactly like you would have done it with regular plugins.
# In your application's Makefile BUILD_DEPS = common_deps DEP_EARLY_PLUGINS = common_deps
# In the plugin's early-plugins.mk DEPS += cowboy TEST_DEPS = ct_helper dep_ct_helper = git https://github.com/ninenines/ct_helper master
If the Erlang.mk plugin lives in the same directory or repository as your application or library, then you can load it exactly like an external plugin: the dependency name is simply the name of your application or library.
For example, the following Makefile loads a plugin in the mk subdirectory:
DEP_PLUGINS = $(PROJECT)/mk/dist.mk
This also works with early-stage plugins:
DEP_EARLY_PLUGINS = $(PROJECT)/mk/variables.mk
Like external plugins, if you do not specify the path to the plugin, it defaults to plugins.mk or early-plugins.mk, located at the root of your application:
# Loads ./early-plugins.mk DEP_EARLY_PLUGINS = $(PROJECT) # Loads ./plugins.mk DEP_PLUGINS = $(PROJECT)