[Israel.pm] Installer for a Perl and Web Meta Language based program.

Gaal Yahas gaal at forum2.org
Wed Apr 14 23:40:17 PDT 2004

On Thu, Apr 15, 2004 at 12:04:13AM +0000, Mikhael Goikhman wrote:
> I like their power.

After you put in enough intimidation, they get the job done, yes.

> Writting Makefile.am files is easy once you get the idea.
> Writting configure.in/configure.ac is an art, you should know shell
> scripting and m4. I know portable /bin/sh scripting and m4.

Well pardon me, but I'd rather spend my energy on the art of programming,
not the art of twiddling configuration macros. configure.ac is *not*
clear or fun. Putting conditionals there is not straightforward. The
docs are not very useful. If it's a development environment all in itself
then perhaps it needs tools?

> Typing "./configure; make; make install" is a piece of cake for users.
> Typing "make dist", "make distcheck" and similar is a piece of cake for
> developers.

As I said, the final result is acceptable. If you like the pain required
to get there, more power to you.

> In the next lecture (no idea whether Gabor scheduled it already or not)
> I will mention my project that is going to be autoconf'iscated yet.
> This is a web-based app, so there is no usual bindir, mandir, datadir;
> there is cgi, perl library, conf dir, run-time dir (cache), html-media
> dir (images), non-html dir (run time templates). And I will still use
> autoconf/automake, because these are good/easy for me and users. :-)

And I have a pet project written in c that works with or without a GUI,
on unix or on windows, with or without several other features, or with or
without loading them at runtime with dl_open(); in some cases the users
might prefer to have them statically compiled. It can use one of several
networking backends according to availability or user preference. The
whole thing, when compiled without a GUI, can be targeted as a library
instead of an executable, for use by *other* tools. The perfect fit for
the GNU build/config tools, and obviously complex enough that *some*
effort is to be expected. But this isn't effort, this is hell.

Again, when you feed it enough blood and it's quiet it does do the job
and it's a job I wouldn't want for myself. *Developing* with it is what
we're stuck with as opposed to blessed with.

Gaal Yahas <gaal at forum2.org>

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