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20.2 Limits of Conditionals

Conditionals should enclose complete statements like variables or rules definitions. Automake cannot deal with conditionals used inside a variable definition, for instance, and is not even able to diagnose this situation. The following example would not work:

# This syntax is not understood by Automake
AM_CPPFLAGS = \
  -DFEATURE_A \
if WANT_DEBUG
  -DDEBUG \
endif
  -DFEATURE_B

However the intended definition of AM_CPPFLAGS can be achieved with

if WANT_DEBUG
  DEBUGFLAGS = -DDEBUG
endif
AM_CPPFLAGS = -DFEATURE_A $(DEBUGFLAGS) -DFEATURE_B

or

AM_CPPFLAGS = -DFEATURE_A
if WANT_DEBUG
AM_CPPFLAGS += -DDEBUG
endif
AM_CPPFLAGS += -DFEATURE_B

More details and examples of conditionals are described alongside various Automake features in this manual (see section Conditional Subdirectories, see section Conditional compilation of sources, see section Conditional compilation of programs, see section Building Libtool Libraries Conditionally, see section Libtool Libraries with Conditional Sources).


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