In my last blogpost you might have already stumbled over me using a Makefile to simplify a project task. My enthusiasm for Makefiles goes a bit further and I add one to most of my projects by now. Here is why I do this and how they make my everyday developer life a bit easier.
Besides the different set of tools belonging to a platform (e.g. Node’s npm, PHP’s Composer and Ruby’s Bundler) there are a few more difference between projects that I created a shortcut for: To run a project locally it might be anything between
npm run, a Docker container or a Vagrantbox. And on the plain level of a project’s structure there is also a wide variance: Everything might be in the root directory, or split in a
docker/ directory. Every project is its own special snowflake in this regard.
After a short trial with shell scripts to do repetitive tasks always from the project root I quickly switched to use
make instead. It’s widely available and make it easy to handle different commands. So I started to develop my strategy for Makefiles. It’s schema applies to most of my web-based projects perfectly:
make setup– Does everything which might be necessary on the first setup like installing the dependencies, like run
npm installfor a node-project.
make run– This will mostly default to
docker-compose up. Or to
bundle exec jekyll serve --draftsfor this blog.
make test– You might have guessed it: This one executes the unit tests of the project.
Of course it doesn’t stop there. There are often a bunch more commands which might for example trigger an existing build system like ant. Or just as an alias for the
npm scripts. Nonetheless it’s a great shortcut saving me quite some time when switching between projects.
A small example for a PHP project, which uses Composer and comes with a Docker-Compose setup. The tests are executed within the Docker container.
.PHONY: setup setup: @cd src/ && \ composer install .PHONY: test test: docker-compose run web /bin/bash -c 'composer test' && exit .PHONY: run run: docker-compose up -d
So if you also happen to often switch between diverse projects, maybe you also want to give Makefiles a try.