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           A guide and reference for version 2.2.0
           Copyright (c) 1996-2000 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
           This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
           under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the
           Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your
           option) any later version.
           This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
           WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MER-
           Public License for more details.
           You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along
           with this program; see the file COPYING.  If not, write to the Free
           Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA
           02111-1307, USA.


           Cons is a system for constructing, primarily, software, but is quite
           different from previous software construction systems. Cons was
           designed from the ground up to deal easily with the construction of
           software spread over multiple source directories. Cons makes it easy to
           create build scripts that are simple, understandable and maintainable.
           Cons ensures that complex software is easily and accurately repro-
           Cons uses a number of techniques to accomplish all of this. Construc-
           tion scripts are just Perl scripts, making them both easy to comprehend
           and very flexible. Global scoping of variables is replaced with an
           import/export mechanism for sharing information between scripts, sig-
           nificantly improving the readability and maintainability of each
           script. Construction environments are introduced: these are Perl
           objects that capture the information required for controlling the build
           process. Multiple environments are used when different semantics are
           required for generating products in the build tree. Cons implements
           automatic dependency analysis and uses this to globally sequence the
           entire build. Variant builds are easily produced from a single source
           tree. Intelligent build subsetting is possible, when working on local-
           ized changes. Overrides can be setup to easily override build instruc-
           tions without modifying any scripts. MD5 cryptographic signatures are
           associated with derived files, and are used to accurately determine
           whether a given file needs to be rebuilt.
           While offering all of the above, and more, Cons remains simple and easy
           to use. This will, hopefully, become clear as you read the remainder of
           this document.

    Why Cons? Why not Make?

           Cons is a make replacement. In the following paragraphs, we look at a
           provide more possibilities, but these have largely served to clutter an
           already overextended language. Often, builds are done in multiple
           passes in order to provide appropriate products from one directory to
           another directory. This represents a further increase in build complex-
           Build reproducibility
           The bane of all makes has always been the correct handling of dependen-
           cies. Most often, an attempt is made to do a reasonable job of depen-
           dencies within a single directory, but no serious attempt is made to do
           the job between directories. Even when dependencies are working cor-
           rectly, make's reliance on a simple time stamp comparison to determine
           whether a file is out of date with respect to its dependents is not, in
           general, adequate for determining when a file should be rederived. If
           an external library, for example, is rebuilt and then ''snapped'' into
           place, the timestamps on its newly created files may well be earlier
           than the last local build, since it was built before it became visible.
           Variant builds
           Make provides only limited facilities for handling variant builds. With
           the proliferation of hardware platforms and the need for debuggable vs.
           optimized code, the ability to easily create these variants is essen-
           tial. More importantly, if variants are created, it is important to
           either be able to separate the variants or to be able to reproduce the
           original or variant at will. With make it is very difficult to separate
           the builds into multiple build directories, separate from the source.
           And if this technique isn't used, it's also virtually impossible to
           guarantee at any given time which variant is present in the tree, with-
           out resorting to a complete rebuild.
           Make provides only limited support for building software from code that
           exists in a central repository directory structure.  The VPATH feature
           of GNU make (and some other make implementations) is intended to pro-
           vide this, but doesn't work as expected: it changes the path of target
           file to the VPATH name too early in its analysis, and therefore
           searches for all dependencies in the VPATH directory.  To ensure cor-
           rect development builds, it is important to be able to create a file in
           a local build directory and have any files in a code repository (a
           VPATH directory, in make terms) that depend on the local file get
           rebuilt properly.  This isn't possible with VPATH, without coding a lot
           of complex repository knowledge directly into the makefiles.

    Keeping it simple

           A few of the difficulties with make have been cited above. In this and
           subsequent sections, we shall introduce Cons and show how these issues
           are addressed.
           Perl scripts
           To ground the following discussion, here's how you could build the
           Hello, World! C application with Cons:
             $env = new cons();
             Program $env 'hello', 'hello.c';
           If you install this script in a directory, naming the script Construct,
           and create the hello.c source file in the same directory, then you can
           type 'cons hello' to build the application:
             % cons hello
             cc -c hello.c -o hello.o
             cc -o hello hello.o
           Construction environments
           A key simplification of Cons is the idea of a construction environment.
           A construction environment is an object characterized by a set of
           key/value pairs and a set of methods. In order to tell Cons how to
           build something, you invoke the appropriate method via an appropriate
           construction environment. Consider the following example:
             $env = new cons(
                   CC      =>      'gcc',
                   LIBS    =>      'libworld.a'
             Program $env 'hello', 'hello.c';
           In this case, rather than using the default construction environment,
           as is, we have overridden the value of 'CC' so that the GNU C Compiler
           equivalent is used, instead. Since this version of Hello, World!
           requires a library, libworld.a, we have specified that any program
           linked in this environment should be linked with that library. If the
           library exists already, well and good, but if not, then we'll also have
           to include the statement:
             Library $env 'libworld', 'world.c';
           Now if you type 'cons hello', the library will be built before the pro-
           gram is linked, and, of course, 'gcc' will be used to compile both mod-
             % cons hello
             gcc -c hello.c -o hello.o
             gcc -c world.c -o world.o
             ar r libworld.a world.o
             ar: creating libworld.a
             ranlib libworld.a
             gcc -o hello hello.o libworld.a
             ranlib libworld.a
             gcc -o hello hello.o libworld.a
           This is a relatively simple example: Cons ''knows'' world.o depends
           upon world.c, because the dependency is explicitly set up by the
           'Library' method. It also knows that libworld.a depends upon world.o
           and that hello depends upon libworld.a, all for similar reasons.
           Now it turns out that hello.c also includes the interface definition
           file, world.h:
             % emacs world.h
             % cons hello
             gcc -c hello.c -o hello.o
             gcc -o hello hello.o libworld.a
           How does Cons know that hello.c includes world.h, and that hello.o must
           therefore be recompiled? For now, suffice it to say that when consider-
           ing whether or not hello.o is up-to-date, Cons invokes a scanner for
           its dependency, hello.c. This scanner enumerates the files included by
           hello.c to come up with a list of further dependencies, beyond those
           made explicit by the Cons script. This process is recursive: any files
           included by included files will also be scanned.
           Isn't this expensive? The answer is--it depends. If you do a full build
           of a large system, the scanning time is insignificant. If you do a
           rebuild of a large system, then Cons will spend a fair amount of time
           thinking about it before it decides that nothing has to be done
           (although not necessarily more time than make!). The good news is that
           Cons makes it very easy to intelligently subset your build, when you
           are working on localized changes.
           Automatic global build sequencing
           Because Cons does full and accurate dependency analysis, and does this
           globally, for the entire build, Cons is able to use this information to
           take full control of the sequencing of the build. This sequencing is
           evident in the above examples, and is equivalent to what you would
           expect for make, given a full set of dependencies. With Cons, this
           extends trivially to larger, multi-directory builds. As a result, all
           of the complexity involved in making sure that a build is organized
           correctly--including multi-pass hierarchical builds--is eliminated.
           We'll discuss this further in the next sections.

    Building large trees--still just as simple

           A hierarchy of build scripts
           A larger build, in Cons, is organized by creating a hierarchy of build
           scripts. At the top of the tree is a script called Construct. The rest
           of the scripts, by convention, are each called Conscript. These scripts
           are connected together, very simply, by the 'Build', 'Export', and
           This is a simple two-level hierarchy of build scripts: all the sub-
           sidiary Conscript files are mentioned in the top-level Construct file.
           Notice that not all directories in the tree necessarily have build
           scripts associated with them.
           This could also be written as a multi-level script. For example, the
           Construct file might contain this command:
             Build qw(
           and the Conscript file in the drivers directory might contain this:
             Build qw(
           Experience has shown that the former model is a little easier to under-
           stand, since the whole construction tree is laid out in front of you,
           at the top-level. Hybrid schemes are also possible. A separately main-
           tained component that needs to be incorporated into a build tree, for
           example, might hook into the build tree in one place, but define its
           own construction hierarchy.
           By default, Cons does not change its working directory to the directory
           containing a subsidiary Conscript file it is including.  This behavior
           can be enabled for a build by specifying, in the top-level Construct
             Conscript_chdir 1;
           When enabled, Cons will change to the subsidiary Conscript file's con-
           taining directory while reading in that file, and then change back to
           the top-level directory once the file has been processed.
           It is expected that this behavior will become the default in some
           future version of Cons.  To prepare for this transition, builds that
           expect Cons to remain at the top of the build while it reads in a sub-
           sidiary Conscript file should explicitly disable this feature as fol-
             Conscript_chdir 0;
           Relative, top-relative, and absolute file names
           You may have noticed that the file names specified to the Build command
           are relative to the location of the script it is invoked from. This is
             require My::Module;
           Each 'use' or 'require' only affects the one Conscript file in which it
           appears.  To use a module in multiple Conscript files, you must put a
           'use' or 'require' statement in each one that needs the module.
           Scope of variables
           The top-level Construct file and all Conscript files begin life in a
           common, separate Perl package.  Cons controls the symbol table for the
           package so that, the symbol table for each script is empty, except for
           the Construct file, which gets some of the command line arguments.  All
           of the variables that are set or used, therefore, are set by the script
           itself--not by some external script.
           Variables can be explicitly imported by a script from its parent
           script. To import a variable, it must have been exported by the parent
           and initialized (otherwise an error will occur).
           The Export command
           The 'Export' command is used as in the following example:
             $env = new cons();
             $INCLUDE = "#export/include";
             $LIB = "#export/lib";
             Export qw( env INCLUDE LIB );
             Build qw( util/Conscript );
           The values of the simple variables mentioned in the 'Export' list will
           be squirreled away by any subsequent 'Build' commands. The 'Export'
           command will only export Perl scalar variables, that is, variables
           whose name begins with '$'. Other variables, objects, etc. can be
           exported by reference--but all scripts will refer to the same object,
           and this object should be considered to be read-only by the subsidiary
           scripts and by the original exporting script. It's acceptable, however,
           to assign a new value to the exported scalar variable--that won't
           change the underlying variable referenced. This sequence, for example,
           is OK:
             $env = new cons();
             Export qw( env INCLUDE LIB );
             Build qw( util/Conscript );
             $env = new cons(CFLAGS => '-O');
             Build qw( other/Conscript );
           It doesn't matter whether the variable is set before or after the
           'Export' command. The important thing is the value of the variable at
           the time the 'Build' command is executed. This is what gets squirreled
           away. Any subsequent 'Export' commands, by the way, invalidate the
           first: you must mention all the variables you wish to export on each
           'Export' command.
           example, is not imported).
           All the imported variables are automatically re-exported, so the
             Import qw ( env INCLUDE );
             Build qw ( beneath-me/Conscript );
           will supply both '$env' and '$INCLUDE' to the subsidiary file. If only
           '$env' is to be exported, then the following will suffice:
             Import qw ( env INCLUDE );
             Export qw ( env );
             Build qw ( beneath-me/Conscript );
           Needless to say, the variables may be modified locally before invoking
           'Build' on the subsidiary script.
           Build script evaluation order
           The only constraint on the ordering of build scripts is that superior
           scripts are evaluated before their inferior scripts. The top-level Con-
           struct file, for instance, is evaluated first, followed by any inferior
           scripts. This is all you really need to know about the evaluation
           order, since order is generally irrelevant. Consider the following
           'Build' command:
             Build qw(
           We've chosen to put the script names in alphabetical order, simply
           because that's the most convenient for maintenance purposes. Changing
           the order will make no difference to the build.

    A Model for sharing files

           Some simple conventions
           In any complex software system, a method for sharing build products
           needs to be established. We propose a simple set of conventions which
           are trivial to implement with Cons, but very effective.
           The basic rule is to require that all build products which need to be
           shared between directories are shared via an intermediate directory. We
           have typically called this export, and, in a C environment, provided
           conventional sub-directories of this directory, such as include, lib,
           bin, etc.
           These directories are defined by the top-level Construct file. A simple
             # A standard construction environment.
             $CONS = new cons (
                   CPPPATH => $INCLUDE,    # Include path for C Compilations
                   LIBPATH => $LIB,        # Library path for linking programs
                   LIBS => '-lworld',      # List of standard libraries
             Build qw(
           The world directory's Conscript file looks like this:
             # Conscript file for directory world
             Import qw( CONS INCLUDE LIB );
             # Install the products of this directory
             Install $CONS $LIB, 'libworld.a';
             Install $CONS $INCLUDE, 'world.h';
             # Internal products
             Library $CONS 'libworld.a', 'world.c';
           and the hello directory's Conscript file looks like this:
             # Conscript file for directory hello
             Import qw( CONS BIN );
             # Exported products
             Install $CONS $BIN, 'hello';
             # Internal products
             Program $CONS 'hello', 'hello.c';
           To construct a Hello, World! program with this directory structure, go
           to the top-level directory, and invoke 'cons' with the appropriate
           arguments. In the following example, we tell Cons to build the direc-
           tory export. To build a directory, Cons recursively builds all known
           products within that directory (only if they need rebuilding, of
           course). If any of those products depend upon other products in other
           directories, then those will be built, too.
             % cons export
             Install world/world.h as export/include/world.h
             cc -Iexport/include -c hello/hello.c -o hello/hello.o
             cc -Iexport/include -c world/world.c -o world/world.o
             ar r world/libworld.a world/world.o
             ar: creating world/libworld.a
             ranlib world/libworld.a
             Install world/libworld.a as export/lib/libworld.a
           makes this goal easy.
           Note, too, how Cons takes care of little details for you. All the
           export directories, for example, were made automatically. And the
           installed files were really hard-linked into the respective export
           directories, to save space and time. This attention to detail saves
           considerable work, and makes it even easier to produce simple, main-
           tainable scripts.

    Separating source and build trees

           It's often desirable to keep any derived files from the build com-
           pletely separate from the source files. This makes it much easier to
           keep track of just what is a source file, and also makes it simpler to
           handle variant builds, especially if you want the variant builds to co-
           Separating build and source directories using the Link command
           Cons provides a simple mechanism that handles all of these require-
           ments. The 'Link' command is invoked as in this example:
             Link 'build' => 'src';
           The specified directories are ''linked'' to the specified source direc-
           tory. Let's suppose that you setup a source directory, src, with the
           sub-directories world and hello below it, as in the previous example.
           You could then substitute for the original build lines the following:
             Build qw(
           Notice that you treat the Conscript file as if it existed in the build
           directory. Now if you type the same command as before, you will get the
           following results:
             % cons export
             Install build/world/world.h as export/include/world.h
             cc -Iexport/include -c build/hello/hello.c -o build/hello/hello.o
             cc -Iexport/include -c build/world/world.c -o build/world/world.o
             ar r build/world/libworld.a build/world/world.o
             ar: creating build/world/libworld.a
             ranlib build/world/libworld.a
             Install build/world/libworld.a as export/lib/libworld.a
             cc -o build/hello/hello build/hello/hello.o -Lexport/lib -lworld
             Install build/hello/hello as export/bin/hello
           Again, Cons has taken care of the details for you. In particular, you
           will notice that all the builds are done using source files and object
           files from the build directory. For example, build/world/world.o is
           compiled from build/world/world.c, and export/include/world.h is

    Variant builds

           Hello, World! for baNaNa and peAcH OS's
           Variant builds require just another simple extension. Let's take as an
           example a requirement to allow builds for both the baNaNa and peAcH
           operating systems. In this case, we are using a distributed file sys-
           tem, such as NFS to access the particular system, and only one or the
           other of the systems has to be compiled for any given invocation of
           'cons'. Here's one way we could set up the Construct file for our
           Hello, World!  application:
             # Construct file for Hello, World!
             die qq(OS must be specified) unless $OS = $ARG{OS};
             die qq(OS must be "peach" or "banana")
                   if $OS ne "peach" && $OS ne "banana";
             # Where to put all our shared products.
             $EXPORT = "#export/$OS";
             Export qw( CONS INCLUDE LIB BIN );
             # Standard directories for sharing products.
             $INCLUDE = "$EXPORT/include";
             $LIB = "$EXPORT/lib";
             $BIN = "$EXPORT/bin";
             # A standard construction environment.
             $CONS = new cons (
                   CPPPATH => $INCLUDE,    # Include path for C Compilations
                   LIBPATH => $LIB,        # Library path for linking programs
                   LIBS => '-lworld',      # List of standard libraries
             # $BUILD is where we will derive everything.
             $BUILD = "#build/$OS";
             # Tell cons where the source files for $BUILD are.
             Link $BUILD => 'src';
             Build (
           Now if we login to a peAcH system, we can build our Hello, World!
           application for that platform:
             % cons export OS=peach
             Install build/peach/world/world.h as export/peach/include/world.h
             cc -Iexport/peach/include -c build/peach/hello/hello.c -o build/peach/hello/hello.o
           define an alternative to '$INCLUDE' for platform-dependent files. Most
           Conscript files, generating purely platform-independent include files,
           would not have to change.
           You might also want to be able to compile your whole system with debug-
           ging or profiling, for example, enabled. You could do this with appro-
           priate command line options, such as 'DEBUG=on'. This would then be
           translated into the appropriate platform-specific requirements to
           enable debugging (this might include turning off optimization, for
           example). You could optionally vary the name space for these different
           types of systems, but, as we'll see in the next section, it's not
           essential to do this, since Cons is pretty smart about rebuilding
           things when you change options.


           MD5 cryptographic signatures
           Whenever Cons creates a derived file, it stores a signature for that
           file. The signature is stored in a separate file, one per directory.
           After the previous example was compiled, the .consign file in the
           build/peach/world directory looked like this:
             world.o:834179303 23844c0b102ecdc0b4548d1cd1cbd8c6
             libworld.a:834179304 9bf6587fa06ec49d864811a105222c00
           The first number is a timestamp--for a UNIX systems, this is typically
           the number of seconds since January 1st, 1970. The second value is an
           MD5 checksum. The Message Digest Algorithm is an algorithm that, given
           an input string, computes a strong cryptographic signature for that
           string. The MD5 checksum stored in the .consign file is, in effect, a
           digest of all the dependency information for the specified file. So,
           for example, for the world.o file, this includes at least the world.c
           file, and also any header files that Cons knows about that are
           included, directly or indirectly by world.c. Not only that, but the
           actual command line that was used to generate world.o is also fed into
           the computation of the signature. Similarly, libworld.a gets a signa-
           ture which ''includes'' all the signatures of its constituents (and
           hence, transitively, the signatures of their constituents), as well as
           the command line that created the file.
           The signature of a non-derived file is computed, by default, by taking
           the current modification time of the file and the file's entry name
           (unless there happens to be a current .consign entry for that file, in
           which case that signature is used).
           Notice that there is no need for a derived file to depend upon any par-
           ticular Construct or Conscript file--if changes to these files affect
           the file in question, then this will be automatically reflected in its
           signature, since relevant parts of the command line are included in the
           signature. Unrelated changes will have no effect.
           When Cons considers whether to derive a particular file, then, it first
           We'll demonstrate this with a simple example:
             # Simple "Hello, World!" Construct file
             $CFLAGS = '-g' if $ARG{DEBUG} eq 'on';
             $CONS = new cons(CFLAGS => $CFLAGS);
             Program $CONS 'hello', 'hello.c';
           Notice how Cons recompiles at the appropriate times:
             % cons hello
             cc -c hello.c -o hello.o
             cc -o hello hello.o
             % cons hello
             cons: "hello" is up-to-date.
             % cons DEBUG=on hello
             cc -g -c hello.c -o hello.o
             cc -o hello hello.o
             % cons DEBUG=on hello
             cons: "hello" is up-to-date.
             % cons hello
             cc -c hello.c -o hello.o
             cc -o hello hello.o

    Code Repositories

           Many software development organizations will have one or more central
           repository directory trees containing the current source code for one
           or more projects, as well as the derived object files, libraries, and
           executables.  In order to reduce unnecessary recompilation, it is use-
           ful to use files from the repository to build development soft-
           ware--assuming, of course, that no newer dependency file exists in the
           local build tree.
           Cons provides a mechanism to specify a list of code repositories that
           will be searched, in-order, for source files and derived files not
           found in the local build directory tree.
           The following lines in a Construct file will instruct Cons to look
           first under the /usr/experiment/repository directory and then under the
           /usr/product/repository directory:
             Repository qw (
           The repository directories specified may contain source files, derived
           files (objects, libraries and executables), or both.  If there is no
           repositories may be specified via '-R' options on the command line:
             % cons -R /usr/experiment/repository -R /usr/product/repository .
           Any repository directories specified in the Construct or Conscript
           files will be appended to the repository directories specified by com-
           mand-line '-R' options.
           Repository source files
           If the source code (include the Conscript file) for the library version
           of the Hello, World! C application is in a repository (with no derived
           files), Cons will use the repository source files to create the local
           object files and executable file:
             % cons -R /usr/src_only/repository hello
             gcc -c /usr/src_only/repository/hello.c -o hello.o
             gcc -c /usr/src_only/repository/world.c -o world.o
             ar r libworld.a world.o
             ar: creating libworld.a
             ranlib libworld.a
             gcc -o hello hello.o libworld.a
           Creating a local source file will cause Cons to rebuild the appropriate
           derived file or files:
             % pico world.c
             % cons -R /usr/src_only/repository hello
             gcc -c world.c -o world.o
             ar r libworld.a world.o
             ar: creating libworld.a
             ranlib libworld.a
             gcc -o hello hello.o libworld.a
           And removing the local source file will cause Cons to revert back to
           building the derived files from the repository source:
             % rm world.c
             % cons -R /usr/src_only/repository hello
             gcc -c /usr/src_only/repository/world.c -o world.o
             ar r libworld.a world.o
             ar: creating libworld.a
             ranlib libworld.a
             gcc -o hello hello.o libworld.a
           Repository derived files
           If a repository tree contains derived files (usually object files,
           libraries, or executables), Cons will perform its normal signature cal-
           culation to decide whether the repository file is up-to-date or a
             ar: creating libworld.a
             ranlib libworld.a
             gcc -o hello hello.o libworld.a
           (This is safe even if the Construct file lists the /usr/all/repository
           directory in a 'Repository' command because Cons will remove the cur-
           rent directory from the repository list.)
           Now if we want to build a copy of the application with our own hello.c
           file, we only need to create the one necessary source file, and use the
           '-R' option to have Cons use other files from the repository:
             % mkdir $HOME/build1
             % cd $HOME/build1
             % ed hello.c
             % cons -R /usr/all/repository hello
             gcc -c hello.c -o hello.o
             gcc -o hello hello.o /usr/all/repository/libworld.a
           Notice that Cons has not bothered to recreate a local libworld.a
           library (or recompile the world.o module), but instead uses the
           already-compiled version from the repository.
           Because the MD5 signatures that Cons puts in the .consign file contain
           timestamps for the derived files, the signature timestamps must match
           the file timestamps for a signature to be considered valid.
           Some software systems may alter the timestamps on repository files (by
           copying them, e.g.), in which case Cons will, by default, assume the
           repository signatures are invalid and rebuild files unnecessarily.
           This behavior may be altered by specifying:
             Repository_Sig_Times_OK 0;
           This tells Cons to ignore timestamps when deciding whether a signature
           is valid.  (Note that avoiding this sanity check means there must be
           proper control over the repository tree to ensure that the derived
           files cannot be modified without updating the .consign signature.)
           Local copies of files
           If the repository tree contains the complete results of a build, and we
           try to build from the repository without any files in our local tree,
           something moderately surprising happens:
             % mkdir $HOME/build2
             % cd $HOME/build2
             % cons -R /usr/all/repository hello
             cons: "hello" is up-to-date.
           Why does Cons say that the hello program is up-to-date when there is no
           Then, if we re-run the same command, Cons will make a local copy of the
           program from the repository copy (telling you that it is doing so):
             % cons -R /usr/all/repository hello
             Local copy of hello from /usr/all/repository/hello
             cons: "hello" is up-to-date.
           Notice that, because the act of making the local copy is not considered
           a "build" of the hello file, Cons still reports that it is up-to-date.
           Creating local copies is most useful for files that are being installed
           into an intermediate directory (for sharing with other directories) via
           the 'Install' command.  Accompanying the 'Install' command for a file
           with a companion 'Local' command is so common that Cons provides a
           'Install_Local' command as a convenient way to do both:
             Install_Local $env, '#export', 'hello';
           is exactly equivalent to:
             Install $env '#export', 'hello';
             Local '#export/hello';
           Both the 'Local' and 'Install_Local' commands update the local .consign
           file with the appropriate file signatures, so that future builds are
           performed correctly.
           Repository dependency analysis
           Due to its built-in scanning, Cons will search the specified repository
           trees for included .h files.  Unless the compiler also knows about the
           repository trees, though, it will be unable to find .h files that only
           exist in a repository.  If, for example, the hello.c file includes the
           hello.h file in its current directory:
             % cons -R /usr/all/repository hello
             gcc -c /usr/all/repository/hello.c -o hello.o
             /usr/all/repository/hello.c:1: hello.h: No such file or directory
           Solving this problem forces some requirements onto the way construction
           environments are defined and onto the way the C '#include' preprocessor
           directive is used to include files.
           In order to inform the compiler about the repository trees, Cons will
           add appropriate '-I' flags to the compilation commands.  This means
           that the 'CPPPATH' variable in the construct environment must explic-
           itly specify all subdirectories which are to be searched for included
           files, including the current directory.  Consequently, we can fix the
           above example by changing the environment creation in the Construct
           The order of the '-I' flags replicates, for the C preprocessor, the
           same repository-directory search path that Cons uses for its own depen-
           dency analysis.  If there are multiple repositories and multiple 'CPP-
           PATH' directories, Cons will append the repository directories to the
           beginning of each 'CPPPATH' directory, rapidly multiplying the number
           of '-I' flags.  As an extreme example, a Construct file containing:
             Repository qw(
             $env = new cons(
                   CPPPATH => 'a:b:c',
           Would yield a compilation command of:
             cc -Ia -I/u1/a -I/u2/a -Ib -I/u1/b -I/u2/b -Ic -I/u1/c -I/u2/c -c hello.c -o hello.o
           Because Cons relies on the compiler's '-I' flags to communicate the
           order in which repository directories must be searched, Cons' handling
           of repository directories is fundamentally incompatible with using dou-
           ble-quotes on the '#include' directives in your C source code:
             #include "file.h"     /* DON'T USE DOUBLE-QUOTES LIKE THIS */
           This is because most C preprocessors, when faced with such a directive,
           will always first search the directory containing the source file.
           This undermines the elaborate '-I' options that Cons constructs to make
           the preprocessor conform to its preferred search path.
           Consequently, when using repository trees in Cons, always use angle-
           brackets for included files:
             #include <file.h>     /* USE ANGLE-BRACKETS INSTEAD */
           Cons provides a 'Repository_List' command to return a list of all
           repository directories in their current search order.  This can be used
           for debugging, or to do more complex Perl stuff:
             @list = Repository_List;
             print join(' ', @list), "\n";
           Repository interaction with other Cons features
           Cons' handling of repository trees interacts correctly with other Cons
           Normally, Cons does not build anything unless a target is specified,
           but specifying '.' (the current directory) will build everything:
             % cons                # does not build anything
             % cons .              # builds everything under the top-level directory
           Adding the 'Default' method to any Construct or Conscript file will add
           the specified targets to a list of default targets.  Cons will build
           these defaults if there are no targets specified on the command line.
           So adding the following line to the top-level Construct file will mimic
           Make's typical behavior of building everything by default:
             Default '.';
           The following would add the hello and goodbye commands (in the same
           directory as the Construct or Conscript file) to the default list:
             Default qw(
           The 'Default' method may be used more than once to add targets to the
           default list.

    Selective builds

           Cons provides two methods for reducing the size of given build. The
           first is by specifying targets on the command line, and the second is a
           method for pruning the build tree. We'll consider target specification
           Selective targeting
           Like make, Cons allows the specification of ''targets'' on the command
           line. Cons targets may be either files or directories. When a directory
           is specified, this is simply a short-hand notation for every derivable
           product--that Cons knows about--in the specified directory and below.
           For example:
             % cons build/hello/hello.o
           means build hello.o and everything that hello.o might need. This is
           from a previous version of the Hello, World! program in which hello.o
           depended upon export/include/world.h. If that file is not up-to-date
           (because someone modified src/world/world.h), then it will be rebuilt,
           even though it is in a directory remote from build/hello.
           In this example:
             % cons build
           No ''special'' targets
           With Cons, make-style ''special'' targets are not required. The sim-
           plest analog with Cons is to use special export directories, instead.
           Let's suppose, for example, that you have a whole series of unit tests
           that are associated with your code. The tests live in the source direc-
           tory near the code. Normally, however, you don't want to build these
           tests. One solution is to provide all the build instructions for creat-
           ing the tests, and then to install the tests into a separate part of
           the tree. If we install the tests in a top-level directory called
           tests, then:
             % cons tests
           will build all the tests.
             % cons export
           will build the production version of the system (but not the tests),
             % cons build
           should probably be avoided (since it will compile tests unecessarily).
           If you want to build just a single test, then you could explicitly name
           the test (in either the tests directory or the build directory). You
           could also aggregate the tests into a convenient hierarchy within the
           tests directory. This hierarchy need not necessarily match the source
           hierarchy, in much the same manner that the include hierarchy probably
           doesn't match the source hierarchy (the include hierarchy is unlikely
           to be more than two levels deep, for C programs).
           If you want to build absolutely everything in the tree (subject to
           whatever options you select), you can use:
             % cons .
           This is not particularly efficient, since it will redundantly walk all
           the trees, including the source tree. The source tree, of course, may
           have buildable objects in it--nothing stops you from doing this, even
           if you normally build in a separate build tree.

    Build Pruning

           In conjunction with target selection, build pruning can be used to
           reduce the scope of the build. In the previous peAcH and baNaNa exam-
           ple, we have already seen how script-driven build pruning can be used
           to make only half of the potential build available for any given invo-
           cation of 'cons'. Cons also provides, as a convenience, a command line
           convention that allows you to specify which Conscript files actually
           get ''built''--that is, incorporated into the build tree. For example:
           archive will be built, however, if need be.
           There are a couple of uses for build pruning via the command line. Per-
           haps the most useful is the ability to make local changes, and then,
           with sufficient knowledge of the consequences of those changes,
           restrict the size of the build tree in order to speed up the rebuild
           time. A second use for build pruning is to actively prevent the recom-
           pilation of certain files that you know will recompile due to, for
           example, a modified header file. You may know that either the changes
           to the header file are immaterial, or that the changes may be safely
           ignored for most of the tree, for testing purposes.With Cons, the view
           is that it is pragmatic to admit this type of behavior, with the under-
           standing that on the next full build everything that needs to be
           rebuilt will be. There is no equivalent to a ''make touch'' command, to
           mark files as permanently up-to-date. So any risk that is incurred by
           build pruning is mitigated. For release quality work, obviously, we
           recommend that you do not use build pruning (it's perfectly OK to use
           during integration, however, for checking compilation, etc. Just be
           sure to do an unconstrained build before committing the integration).

    Temporary overrides

           Cons provides a very simple mechanism for overriding aspects of a
           build. The essence is that you write an override file containing one or
           more 'Override' commands, and you specify this on the command line,
           when you run 'cons':
             % cons -o over export
           will build the export directory, with all derived files subject to the
           overrides present in the over file. If you leave out the '-o' option,
           then everything necessary to remove all overrides will be rebuilt.
           Overriding environment variables
           The override file can contain two types of overrides. The first is
           incoming environment variables. These are normally accessible by the
           Construct file from the '%ENV' hash variable. These can trivially be
           overridden in the override file by setting the appropriate elements of
           '%ENV' (these could also be overridden in the user's environment, of
           The Override command
           The second type of override is accomplished with the 'Override' com-
           mand, which looks like this:
             Override <regexp>, <var1> => <value1>, <var2> => <value2>, ...;
           The regular expression regexp is matched against every derived file
           that is a candidate for the build. If the derived file matches, then
           the variable/value pairs are used to override the values in the con-
           struction environment associated with the derived file.
           this environment will cause them to be compiled with '-O 'and no '-g'.
           The override could, of course, be restricted to a single directory by
           the appropriate selection of a regular expression.
           Here's the original version of the Hello, World! program, built with
           this environment. Note that Cons rebuilds the appropriate pieces when
           the override is applied or removed:
             % cons hello
             cc -g -c hello.c -o hello.o
             cc -o hello hello.o
             % cons -o over hello
             cc -O -c hello.c -o hello.o
             cc -o hello hello.o
             % cons -o over hello
             cons: "hello" is up-to-date.
             % cons hello
             cc -g -c hello.c -o hello.o
             cc -o hello hello.o
           It's important that the 'Override' command only be used for temporary,
           on-the-fly overrides necessary for development because the overrides
           are not platform independent and because they rely too much on intimate
           knowledge of the workings of the scripts. For temporary use, however,
           they are exactly what you want.
           Note that it is still useful to provide, say, the ability to create a
           fully optimized version of a system for production use--from the Con-
           struct and Conscript files. This way you can tailor the optimized sys-
           tem to the platform. Where optimizer trade-offs need to be made (par-
           ticular files may not be compiled with full optimization, for example),
           then these can be recorded for posterity (and reproducibility) directly
           in the scripts.

    More on construction environments

           Default construction variables
           We have mentioned, and used, the concept of a construction environment,
           many times in the preceding pages. Now it's time to make this a little
           more concrete. With the following statement:
             $env = new cons();
           a reference to a new, default construction environment is created. This
           contains a number of construction variables and some methods. At the
           present writing, the default list of construction variables is defined
           as follows:
             CC            => 'cc',
             CFLAGS        => '',
             CCCOM         => '%CC %CFLAGS %_IFLAGS -c %< -o %>',
             INCDIRPREFIX  => '-I',
             LD            => 'ld',
             LDFLAGS       => '',
             PREFLIB       => 'lib',
             SUFLIB        => '.a',
             SUFLIBS       => '.so:.a',
             SUFOBJ        => '.o',
             ENV           => { 'PATH' => '/bin:/usr/bin' },
           On Win32 systems (Windows NT), the following construction variables are
           overridden in the default:
             CC            => 'cl',
             CFLAGS        => '/nologo',
             CCCOM         => '%CC %CFLAGS %_IFLAGS /c %< /Fo%>',
             CXXCOM        => '%CXX %CXXFLAGS %_IFLAGS /c %< /Fo%>',
             INCDIRPREFIX  => '/I',
             LINK          => 'link',
             LINKCOM       => '%LINK %LDFLAGS /out:%> %< %_LDIRS %LIBS',
             LINKMODULECOM => '%LD /r /o %> %<',
             LIBDIRPREFIX  => '/LIBPATH:',
             AR            => 'lib',
             ARFLAGS       => '/nologo ',
             ARCOM         => "%AR %ARFLAGS /out:%> %<",
             RANLIB        => '',
             LD            => 'link',
             LDFLAGS       => '/nologo ',
             PREFLIB       => '',
             SUFEXE        => '.exe',
             SUFLIB        => '.lib',
             SUFLIBS       => '.dll:.lib',
             SUFOBJ        => '.obj',
           These variables are used by the various methods associated with the
           environment, in particular any method that ultimately invokes an exter-
           nal command will substitute these variables into the final command, as
           appropriate. For example, the 'Objects' method takes a number of source
           files and arranges to derive, if necessary, the corresponding object
           files. For example:
             Objects $env 'foo.c', 'bar.c';
           This will arrange to produce, if necessary, foo.o and bar.o. The com-
           mand invoked is simply '%CCCOM', which expands through substitution, to
           the appropriate external command required to build each object. We will
           explore the substitution rules further under the 'Command' method,
           The construction variables are also used for other purposes. For exam-
           ple, 'CPPPATH' is used to specify a colon-separated path of include
           directories. These are intended to be passed to the C preprocessor and
           are also used by the C-file scanning machinery to determine the depen-
           dencies involved in a C Compilation. Variables beginning with under-
           passing options to the compiler, loader, and archiver, respectively.
           Less obviously, the 'INCDIRPREFIX' variable specifies the option string
           to be appended to the beginning of each include directory so that the
           compiler knows where to find .h files.  Similarly, the 'LIBDIRPREFIX'
           variable specifies the option string to be appended to the beginning of
           each directory that the linker should search for libraries.
           Another variable, 'ENV', is used to determine the system environment
           during the execution of an external command. By default, the only envi-
           ronment variable that is set is 'PATH', which is the execution path for
           a UNIX command. For the utmost reproducibility, you should really
           arrange to set your own execution path, in your top-level Construct
           file (or perhaps by importing an appropriate construction package with
           the Perl 'use' command). The default variables are intended to get you
           off the ground.
           Interpolating construction variables
           Construction environment variables may be interpolated in the source
           and target file names by prefixing the construction variable name with
             $env = new cons(
                   DESTDIR =>      'programs',
                   SRCDIR  =>      'src',
             Program $env '%DESTDIR/hello', '%SRCDIR/hello.c';
           Expansion of construction variables is recursive--that is, the file
           name(s) will be re-expanded until no more substitutions can be made. If
           a construction variable is not defined in the environment, then the
           null string will be substituted.

    Default construction methods

           The list of default construction methods includes the following:
           The 'new' constructor
           The 'new' method is a Perl object constructor. That is, it is not
           invoked via a reference to an existing construction environment refer-
           ence, but, rather statically, using the name of the Perl package where
           the constructor is defined. The method is invoked like this:
             $env = new cons(<overrides>);
           The environment you get back is blessed into the package 'cons', which
           means that it will have associated with it the default methods
           described below. Individual construction variables can be overridden by
           providing name/value pairs in an override list. Note that to override
           any command environment variable (i.e. anything under 'ENV'), you will
           have to override all of them. You can get around this difficulty by
           using the 'copy' method on an existing construction environment.
           The 'copy' method extracts the externally defined construction vari-
           ables from an environment and returns them as a list of name/value
           pairs. Overrides can also be provided, in which case, the overridden
           values will be returned, as appropriate. The returned list can be
           assigned to a hash, as shown in the prototype, below, but it can also
           be manipulated in other ways:
             %env = $env1->copy(<overrides>);
           The value of 'ENV', which is itself a hash, is also copied to a new
           hash, so this may be changed without fear of affecting the original
           environment. So, for example, if you really want to override just the
           'PATH' variable in the default environment, you could do the following:
             %cons = new cons()->copy();
             $cons{ENV}{PATH} = "<your path here>";
             $cons = new cons(%cons);
           This will leave anything else that might be in the default execution
           environment undisturbed.
           The 'Install' method
           The 'Install' method arranges for the specified files to be installed
           in the specified directory. The installation is optimized: the file is
           not copied if it can be linked. If this is not the desired behavior,
           you will need to use a different method to install the file. It is
           called as follows:
             Install $env <directory>, <names>;
           Note that, while the files to be installed may be arbitrarily named,
           only the last component of each name is used for the installed target
           name. So, for example, if you arrange to install foo/bar in baz, this
           will create a bar file in the baz directory (not foo/bar).
           The 'InstallAs' method
           The 'InstallAs' method arranges for the specified source file(s) to be
           installed as the specified target file(s). Multiple files should be
           specified as a file list. The installation is optimized: the file is
           not copied if it can be linked. If this is not the desired behavior,
           you will need to use a different method to install the file. It is
           called as follows:
           'InstallAs' works in two ways:
           Single file install:
             InstallAs $env TgtFile, SrcFile;
           The 'Precious' method asks cons not to delete the specified file or
           list of files before building them again.  It is invoked as:
             Precious <files>;
           This is especially useful for allowing incremental updates to libraries
           or debug information files which are updated rather than rebuilt anew
           each time.  Cons will still delete the files when the '-r' flag is
           The 'Command' method
           The 'Command' method is a catchall method which can be used to arrange
           for any external command to be called to update the target. For this
           command, a target file and list of inputs is provided. In addition a
           construction command line, or lines, is provided as a string (this
           string may have multiple commands embedded within it, separated by new
           lines). 'Command' is called as follows:
             Command $env <target>, <inputs>, <construction command>;
           The target is made dependent upon the list of input files specified,
           and the inputs must be built successfully or Cons will not attempt to
           build the target.
           Within the construction command, any variable from the construction
           environment may be introduced by prefixing the name of the construction
           variable with '%'. This is recursive: the command is expanded until no
           more substitutions can be made. If a construction variable is not
           defined in the environment, then the null string will be substituted.
           A doubled '%%' will be replaced by a single '%' in the construction
           There are several pseudo variables which will also be expanded:
           %>        The target file name (in a multi-target command, this is
                     always the first target mentioned).
           %0        Same as '%>'.
           %1, %2, ..., %9
                     These refer to the first through ninth input file, respec-
           %<        The full set of inputs. If any of these have been used any-
                     where else in the current command line (via '%1', '%2',
                     etc.), then those will be deleted from the list provided by
                     '%<'. Consider the following command found in a Conscript
                     file in the test directory:
                       Command $env 'tgt', qw(foo bar baz), qq(
                             echo %< -i %1 > %>
           the following suffixes to select a portion of the expanded path name:
             :a    the absolute path to the file name
             :b    the directory plus the file name stripped of any suffix
             :d    the directory
             :f    the file name
             :s    the file name suffix
             :F    the file name stripped of any suffix
           Continuing with the above example, '%<:f' would expand to 'foo bar
           baz', and '%':d> would expand to 'test'.
           It is possible to programmatically rewrite part of the command by
           enclosing part of it between '%[' and '%]'.  This will call the con-
           struction variable named as the first word enclosed in the brackets as
           a Perl code reference; the results of this call will be used to replace
           the contents of the brackets in the command line.  For example, given
           an existing input file named
             @keywords = qw(foo bar baz);
             $env = new cons(X_COMMA => sub { join(",", @_) });
             Command $env 'tgt', '', qq(
                   echo '# Keywords: %[X_COMMA @keywords %]' > %>
                   cat %< >> %>
           This will execute:
             echo '# Keywords: foo,bar,baz' > tgt
             cat >> tgt
           After substitution occurs, strings of white space are converted into
           single blanks, and leading and trailing white space is eliminated. It
           is therefore not possible to introduce variable length white space in
           strings passed into a command, without resorting to some sort of shell
           If a multi-line command string is provided, the commands are executed
           sequentially. If any of the commands fails, then none of the rest are
           executed, and the target is not marked as updated, i.e. a new signature
           is not stored for the target.
           Normally, if all the commands succeed, and return a zero status (or
           whatever platform-specific indication of success is required), then a
           new signature is stored for the target. If a command erroneously
           reports success even after a failure, then Cons will assume that the
           target file created by that command is accurate and up-to-date.
           The first word of each command string, after expansion, is assumed to
           be an executable command looked up on the 'PATH' environment variable
           (which is, in turn, specified by the 'ENV' construction variable). If
           this command is found on the path, then the target will depend upon it:
             $env = new cons();
             Command $env 'foo',
               qq([perl] open(FOO,'>foo');print FOO "hi\\n"; close(FOO); 1);
           Note that when the command is executed, you are in the same package as
           when the Construct or Conscript file was read, so you can call Perl
           functions you've defined in the same Construct or Conscript file in
           which the 'Command' appears:
             $env = new cons();
             sub create_file {
                   my $file = shift;
                   open(FILE, ">$file");
                   print FILE "hi\n";
                   return 1;
             Command $env 'foo', "[perl] &create_file('%>')";
           The Perl string will be used to generate the signature for the derived
           file, so if you change the string, the file will be rebuilt.  The con-
           tents of any subroutines you call, however, are not part of the signa-
           ture, so if you modify a called subroutine such as 'create_file' above,
           the target will not be rebuilt.  Caveat user.
           Cons normally prints a command before executing it.  This behavior is
           suppressed if the first character of the command is '@'.  Note that you
           may need to separate the '@' from the command name or escape it to pre-
           vent '@cmd' from looking like an array to Perl quote operators that
           perform interpolation:
             # The first command line is incorrect,
             # because "@cp" looks like an array
             # to the Perl qq// function.
             # Use the second form instead.
             Command $env 'foo', '', qq(
                   @cp %< tempfile
                   @ cp tempfile %>
           If there are shell meta characters anywhere in the expanded command
           line, such as '<', '>', quotes, or semi-colon, then the command will
           actually be executed by invoking a shell. This means that a command
           such as:
             cd foo
           alone will typically fail, since there is no command 'cd' on the path.
           But the command string:
             cd $<:d; tar cf $>:f $<:f
           foo.h and foo.c.
           The 'Objects' method
           The 'Objects' method arranges to create the object files that corre-
           spond to the specified source files. It is invoked as shown below:
             @files = Objects $env <source or object files>;
           Under Unix, source files ending in .s and .c are currently supported,
           and will be compiled into a name of the same file ending in .o. By
           default, all files are created by invoking the external command which
           results from expanding the 'CCCOM' construction variable, with '%<' and
           '%>' set to the source and object files, respectively (see the 'Com-
           mand' method for expansion details).  The variable 'CPPPATH' is also
           used when scanning source files for dependencies. This is a colon sepa-
           rated list of pathnames, and is also used to create the construction
           variable '_IFLAGS,' which will contain the appropriate list of -'I'
           options for the compilation. Any relative pathnames in 'CPPPATH' is
           interpreted relative to the directory in which the associated construc-
           tion environment was created (absolute and top-relative names may also
           be used). This variable is used by 'CCCOM'. The behavior of this com-
           mand can be modified by changing any of the variables which are inter-
           polated into 'CCCOM', such as 'CC', 'CFLAGS', and, indirectly, 'CPP-
           PATH'. It's also possible to replace the value of 'CCCOM', itself. As a
           convenience, this file returns the list of object filenames.
           The 'Program' method
           The 'Program' method arranges to link the specified program with the
           specified object files. It is invoked in the following manner:
             Program $env <program name>, <source or object files>;
           The program name will have the value of the 'SUFEXE' construction vari-
           able appended (by default, '.exe' on Win32 systems, nothing on Unix
           systems) if the suffix is not already present.
           Source files may be specified in place of objects files--the 'Objects'
           method will be invoked to arrange the conversion of all the files into
           object files, and hence all the observations about the 'Objects'
           method, above, apply to this method also.
           The actual linking of the program will be handled by an external com-
           mand which results from expanding the 'LINKCOM' construction variable,
           with '%<' set to the object files to be linked (in the order pre-
           sented), and '%>' set to the target (see the 'Command' method for
           expansion details). The user may set additional variables in the con-
           struction environment, including 'LINK', to define which program to use
           for linking, 'LIBPATH', a colon-separated list of library search paths,
           for use with library specifications of the form -llib, and 'LIBS',
           specifying the list of libraries to link against (in either -llib form
           The library name will have the value of the 'SUFLIB' construction vari-
           able appended (by default, '.lib' on Win32 systems, '.a' on Unix sys-
           tems) if the suffix is not already present.
           Source files may be specified in place of objects files--the 'Objects'
           method will be invoked to arrange the conversion of all the files into
           object files, and hence all the observations about the 'Objects'
           method, above, apply to this method also.
           The actual creation of the library will be handled by an external com-
           mand which results from expanding the 'ARCOM' construction variable,
           with '%<' set to the library members (in the order presented), and '%>'
           to the library to be created (see the 'Command' method for expansion
           details). The user may set variables in the construction environment
           which will affect the operation of the command. These include 'AR', the
           archive program to use, 'ARFLAGS', which can be used to modify the
           flags given to the program specified by 'AR', and 'RANLIB', the name of
           a archive index generation program, if needed (if the particular need
           does not require the latter functionality, then 'ARCOM' must be rede-
           fined to not reference 'RANLIB').
           The 'Library' method allows the same library to be specified in multi-
           ple method invocations. All of the contributing objects from all the
           invocations (which may be from different directories) are combined and
           generated by a single archive command. Note, however, that if you prune
           a build so that only part of a library is specified, then only that
           part of the library will be generated (the rest will disappear!).
           The 'Module' method
           The 'Module' method is a combination of the 'Program' and 'Command'
           methods. Rather than generating an executable program directly, this
           command allows you to specify your own command to actually generate a
           module. The method is invoked as follows:
             Module $env <module name>, <source or object files>, <construction command>;
           This command is useful in instances where you wish to create, for exam-
           ple, dynamically loaded modules, or statically linked code libraries.
           The 'Depends' method
           The 'Depends' method allows you to specify additional dependencies for
           a target.  It is invoked as follows:
             Depends $env <target>, <dependencies>;
           This may be occasionally useful, especially in cases where no scanner
           exists (or is writable) for particular types of files. Normally, depen-
           dencies are calculated automatically from a combination of the explicit
           dependencies set up by the method invocation or by scanning source
           Cons infers on its own.  It is invoked as follows:
             Ignore <patterns>;
           This can be used to avoid recompilations due to changes in system
           header files or utilities that are known to not affect the generated
           If, for example, a program is built in an NFS-mounted directory on mul-
           tiple systems that have different copies of stdio.h, the differences
           will affect the signatures of all derived targets built from source
           files that '#include <stdio.h>'.  This will cause all those targets to
           be rebuilt when changing systems.  If this is not desirable behavior,
           then the following line will remove the dependencies on the stdio.h
             Ignore '^/usr/include/stdio\.h$';
           Note that the arguments to the 'Ignore' method are regular expressions,
           so special characters must be escaped and you may wish to anchor the
           beginning or end of the expression with '^' or '$' characters.
           The 'Salt' method
           The 'Salt' method adds a constant value to the signature calculation
           for every derived file.  It is invoked as follows:
             Salt $string;
           Changing the Salt value will force a complete rebuild of every derived
           file.  This can be used to force rebuilds in certain desired circum-
           stances.  For example,
             Salt 'uname -s';
           Would force a complete rebuild of every derived file whenever the oper-
           ating system on which the build is performed (as reported by 'uname
           -s') changes.
           The 'UseCache' method
           The 'UseCache' method instructs Cons to maintain a cache of derived
           files, to be shared among separate build trees of the same project.
             UseCache("cache/<buildname>") || warn("cache directory not found");
           The 'SourcePath' method
           The 'SourcePath' mathod returns the real source path name of a file, as
           opposted to the path name within a build directory.  It is invoked as
           The 'SplitPath' method looks up multiple path names in a string sepa-
           rated by the default path separator for the operating system (':' on
           UNIX systems, ';' on Windows NT), and returns the fully-qualified
           names.  It is invoked as follows:
             @paths = SplitPath <pathlist>;
           The 'SplitPath' method will convert  names prefixed '#' to the appro-
           priate top-level build name (without the '#') and will convert relative
           names to top-level names.
           The 'DirPath' method
           The 'DirPath' method returns the build path name(s) of a directory or
           list of directories.  It is invoked as follows:
             $cwd = DirPath <paths>;
           The most common use for the 'DirPath' method is:
             $cwd = DirPath '.';
           to fetch the path to the current directory of a subsidiary Conscript
           The 'FilePath' method
           The 'FilePath' method returns the build path name(s) of a file or list
           of files.  It is invoked as follows:
             $file = FilePath <path>;
           The 'Help' method
           The 'Help' method specifies help text that will be displayed when the
           user invokes 'cons -h'.  This can be used to provide documentation of
           specific targets, values, build options, etc. for the build tree.  It
           is invoked as follows:
             Help <helptext>;
           The 'Help' method may only be called once, and should typically be
           specified in the top-level Construct file.

    Extending Cons

           Overriding construction variables
           There are several ways of extending Cons, which vary in degree of dif-
           ficulty. The simplest method is to define your own construction envi-
           ronment, based on the default environment, but modified to reflect your
           particular needs. This will often suffice for C-based applications. You
             # path $BIN_DIR.
             sub cons::InstallScript {
                   my ($env, $dst, $src) = @_;
                   Command $env $dst, $src, qq(
                           sed s+your-path-here+$BIN_DIR+ %< > %>
                           chmod oug+x %>
           Notice that this method is defined directly in the 'cons' package (by
           prefixing the name with 'cons::'). A change made in this manner will be
           globally visible to all environments, and could be called as in the
           following example:
             InstallScript $env "$BIN/foo", "foo.tcl";
           For a small improvement in generality, the 'BINDIR' variable could be
           passed in as an argument or taken from the construction environment--as
           Overriding methods
           Instead of adding the method to the 'cons' name space, you could define
           a new package which inherits existing methods from the 'cons' package
           and overrides or adds others. This can be done using Perl's inheritance
           The following example defines a new package 'cons::switch' which over-
           rides the standard 'Library' method. The overridden method builds
           linked library modules, rather than library archives. A new constructor
           is provided. Environments created with this constructor will have the
           new library method; others won't.
             package cons::switch;
             BEGIN {@ISA = 'cons'}
             sub new {
                   bless new cons(@_);
             sub Library {
                   my($env) = shift;
                   my($lib) = shift;
                   my(@objs) = Objects $env @_;
                   Command $env $lib, @objs, q(
                           %LD -r %LDFLAGS %< -o %>
           This functionality could be invoked as in the following example:
           the '-t' argument, it will walk up the directory hierarchy looking for
           a Construct file.  (An alternate name may still be specified with
           '-f'.)  The targets supplied on the command line will be modified to be
           relative to the discovered Construct file.  For example, from a direc-
           tory containing a top-level Construct file, the following invocation:
             % cd libfoo/subdir
             % cons -t target
           is exactly equivalent to:
             % cons libfoo/subdir/target
           If there are any 'Default' targets specified in the directory hierar-
           chy's Construct or Conscript files, only the default targets at or
           below the directory from which 'cons -t' was invoked will be built.
           The command is invoked as follows:
             cons <arguments> -- <construct-args>
           where arguments can be any of the following, in any order:
           target    Build the specified target. If target is a directory, then
                     recursively build everything within that directory.
           +pattern  Limit the Conscript files considered to just those that match
                     pattern, which is a Perl regular expression. Multiple '+'
                     arguments are accepted.
                     Sets name to value val in the 'ARG' hash passed to the top-
                     level Construct file.
           '-cc'     Show command that would have been executed, when retrieving
                     from cache. No indication that the file has been retrieved is
                     given; this is useful for generating build logs that can be
                     compared with real build logs.
           '-cd'     Disable all caching. Do not retrieve from cache nor flush to
           '-cr'     Build dependencies in random order. This is useful when
                     building multiple similar trees with caching enabled.
           '-cs'     Synchronize existing build targets that are found to be up-
                     to-date with cache. This is useful if caching has been dis-
                     abled with -cc or just recently enabled with UseCache.
           '-d'      Enable dependency debugging.
           '-f' <file>
           '-pa'     Show construction products and associated actions. No build
                     is attempted.
           '-pw'     Show products and where they are defined. No build is
           '-q'      Don't be verbose about Installing and Removing targets.
           '-r'      Remove construction products associated with <targets>. No
                     build is attempted.
           '-R' <repos>
                     Search for files in repos.  Multiple -R repos directories are
                     searched in the order specified.
           '-t'      Traverse up the directory hierarchy looking for a Construct
                     file, if none exists in the current directory.  Targets will
                     be modified to be relative to the Construct file.
           '-v'      Show 'cons' version and continue processing.
           '-V'      Show 'cons' version and exit.
           '-wf' <file>
                     Write all filenames considered into file.
           '-x'      Show a help message similar to this one, and exit.
           And construct-args can be any arguments that you wish to process in the
           Construct file. Note that there should be a -- separating the arguments
           to cons and the arguments that you wish to process in the Construct
           Processing of construct-args can be done by any standard package like
           Getopt or its variants, or any user defined package. cons will pass in
           the construct-args as @ARGV and will not attempt to interpret anything
           after the --.
             % cons -R /usr/local/repository -d os=solaris +driver -- -c test -f DEBUG
           would pass the following to cons
             -R /usr/local/repository -d os=solaris +driver
           and the following, to the top level Construct file as @ARGV
             -c test -f DEBUG
           Note that 'cons -r .' is equivalent to a full recursive 'make clean',
           but requires no support in the Construct file or any Conscript files.
           This is most useful if you are compiling files into source directories
           (if you separate the build and export directories, then you can just
           QuickScan is invoked as follows:
             QuickScan CONSENV CODEREF, FILENAME [, PATH]
           The subroutine referenced by CODEREF is expected to return a list of
           filenames included directly by FILE. These filenames will, in turn, be
           scanned. The optional PATH argument supplies a lookup path for finding
           FILENAME and/or files returned by the user-supplied subroutine.  The
           PATH may be a reference to an array of lookup-directory names, or a
           string of names separated by the system's separator character (':' on
           UNIX systems, ';' on Windows NT).
           The subroutine is called once for each line in the file, with $_ set to
           the current line. If the subroutine needs to look at additional lines,
           or, for that matter, the entire file, then it may read them itself,
           from the filehandle SCAN. It may also terminate the loop, if it knows
           that no further include information is available, by closing the file-
           Whether or not a lookup path is provided, QuickScan first tries to
           lookup the file relative to the current directory (for the top-level
           file supplied directly to QuickScan), or from the directory containing
           the file which referenced the file. This is not very general, but seems
           good enough--especially if you have the luxury of writing your own
           utilities and can control the use of the search path in a standard way.
           Finally, the search path is, currently, colon separated. This may not
           make the NT camp happy.
           Here's a real example, taken from a Construct file here:
             sub cons::SMFgen {
                 my($env, @tables) = @_;
                 foreach $t (@tables) {
                     $env->QuickScan(sub { /\b\S*?\.smf\b/g }, "$t.smf",
                         ["$","$t.smdb.h","$","$", "$"],
                           smfgen %( %SMF_INCLUDE_OPT %) %<
           [NOTE that the form '$env->QuickScan ...'  and '$env->Command ...'
           should not be necessary, but, for some reason, is required for this
           particular invocation. This appears to be a bug in Perl or a misunder-
           standing on my part; this invocation style does not always appear to be
           This finds all names of the form <name>.smf in the file. It will return
                 do {
                     push(@includes, /\b\S*?\.smf\b/g);
                 } while <SCAN>;
           Note that the order of the loop is reversed, with the loop test at the
           end. This is because the first line is already read for you. This scan-
           ner can be attached to a source file by:
               QuickScan $env \myscan, "$_.smf";


           Cons is maintained by the user community.  To subscribe, send mail to
  with body subscribe.
           Please report any suggestions through the mailing


           Sure to be some. Please report any bugs through the
           mailing list.


           Information about CONS can be obtained from the official cons web site
  or its mirrors listed there.
           The cons maintainers can be contacted by email at cons-maintain-


           Originally by Bob Sidebotham. Then significantly enriched by the mem-
           bers of the Cons community
           The Cons community would like to thank Ulrich Pfeifer for the original
           pod documentation derived from the cons.html file. Cons documentation
           is now a part of the program itself.

    3rd Berkeley Distribution 2.2.0 CONS(1)


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