Using makefiles to package addons

Ahh final­ly putting your addon in a zip file and post­ing it, the most relax­ing part of devel­op­ment. Except when you have to do it often!

Generating the doc­u­men­ta­tion and includ­ing it as well as icons, py files, extra assets, etc. all while mak­ing sure I don’t include __pycache__ by mis­take is a chore on the lev­el of doing dish­es after christ­mas. It’s also very error prone, spe­cial­ly when you’re rush­ing embar­rass­ing bug­fix updates. Not that I ever had to do that **cough**

The solu­tion, of course, is automat­ing it.

There’s a tool devel­op­ers know well and is includ­ed with Linux and OS X: Make.
Make is a com­mand line util­i­ty used to sim­pli­fy the com­pil­ing process, how­ev­er it can be used like a shell script to auto­mate oth­er things (for instance, zip­ping files). Make uses a spe­cial for­mat file to set up the com­mands it has to run, these are files are called Makefiles.

A Makefile con­sists of one or more tar­gets. A tar­get is a group of com­mands iden­ti­fied by a name. You can be make indi­vid­ual tar­gets by run­ning make [target name].

Knowing this, we can now fig­ure out what com­mands to use and write a Makefile to take care of them for us.
Ok so now that we know how it works, how can we use make to get addons pack­aged?

Meet the addon Makefile

You can see the actu­al file below. Simply save it in your addon fold­er as “Makefile” (no exten­sion). To build (or “deploy”) open a ter­mi­nal in your addon direc­to­ry (where the make­file is) and sim­ply run make. A file brows­er will show you the fold­er con­tain­ing the zip file when it’s done.

Let’s look at the set­tings avail­able. You can change the FILE_BROWSER set­ting to what­ev­er you use to man­age files (find­er, ranger, thu­nar, etc.), or com­ment the last line if you don’t care about see­ing the zip file.

The FILES vari­able is passed as it is to the zip com­mand. Each file or direc­to­ry is sep­a­rat­ed by a space, and you can use wild­cards like I did in the exam­ple below.

BUILD_DIR refers to the direc­to­ry to put the zip file, it can be either a rel­a­tive or absolute path. The rest of the vari­ables are self-explana­to­ry.

After the set­tings, I have set the tar­gets. You can adapt the make­file to any project by tweak­ing the vari­ables, but you can also adapt tar­gets and com­mands to your needs.

I’ve writ­ten three tar­gets in the file:

docsregen­er­ate the doc­u­men­ta­tion
cleanDelete the zip
buildRun docs tar­get and cre­ate zip

The default tar­get is build. If you sim­ply run make with no argu­ments, it will use that tar­get.

Also as you can read below, this Makefile requires Sphinx to build the docs (since that’s what I use) and the zip com­mand. If you’re not using Sphinx you can com­ment out that line, or replace it with a com­mand of your own.

# ---------------------------------------------------------------
# Makefile for My_addon
# Diego Gangl - <>
# ---------------------------------------------------------------

# /./././././././././././././././././././././././././././././././
# /./././././././././././././././././././././././././././././././

NAME            = My_addon
VERSION         = 1_0
BUILD_DIR       = ../release/
FILES           = *.py icons/* docs/*
FILE_BROWSER    = nautilus

.DEFAULT_GOAL 	:= build

# /./././././././././././././././././././././././././././././././
# /./././././././././././././././././././././././././././././././

.PHONY: docs
	sphinx-build -b html docs_src docs

	rm -rf $(BUILD_FILE)
	@echo "Release zip deleted - " $(BUILD_FILE)

build: 	docs

	mkdir -p $(BUILD_DIR)

	zip -r9T $(BUILD_FILE) $(FILES)

	@echo $(NAME)" "$(VERSION) " is ready"

Hope this you found this use­ful. Feel free to use this code for any­thing, tweak it or even change the ASCII art.

Tutorials(Addon, Blender)Last updated 03.09.2018
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