Chapter 18. Erlang shell provides a convenient target for starting a shell with all the paths set properly to experiment with your code.

18.1. Configuration

The SHELL_DEPS variable can be used to define dependencies that are only to be used when the make shell command is called. For example, if you want to use kjell as your shell:

SHELL_DEPS = kjell

Dependencies are downloaded and compiled the first time you run the make shell command.

You can customize the executable used to start the Erlang shell. To continue with our example, if you want to use kjell as your shell, you also need to change SHELL_ERL and point it to the kjell executable:

SHELL_ERL = $(DEPS_DIR)/kjell/bin/kjell

You can specify additional options to be used when starting the shell using the SHELL_OPTS variable:

SHELL_OPTS = -setcookie chocolate

Any of the usual erl options can be used, including -eval:

SHELL_OPTS = -eval 'my_app:run()'

18.2. Usage

To start the shell, all you need is the following command:

$ make shell

The shell can be stopped as usual with a double Ctrl+C or the command q()..

Note that the shell target does not build the application. To do it, use either the app target or, if you want to include also test modules, the test-build target.