The Trouble with Hidden Targets

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  1. to build foo.o

    You'd hope that typing make foo.o would result in Make building foo.o from foo.c and if necessary building foo.c. But Make doesn't know how to build foo.c, it just happens by accident when building foo. So, if foo.c is missing make foo.o results in an error:

    		No rule to make target `foo.c', needed by `foo.o'.
    	 

Hopefully you're convinced now that hidden targets are a bad idea and can lead to all sorts of odd build problems.

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About the author

John Graham-Cumming's picture John Graham-Cumming

John Graham-Cumming is Co-Founder at Electric Cloud, Inc . Prior to joining Electric Cloud, John was a Venture Consultant with Accel Partners, VP of Internet Technology at Interwoven, Inc. (IWOV), VP of Engineering at Scriptics Corporation (acquired by Interwoven), and Chief Architect at Optimal Networks, Inc. John holds BA and MA degrees in Mathematics and Computation and a Doctorate in Computer Security from Oxford University. John is the creator of the highly acclaimed open source POPFile project. He also holds two patents in network analysis and has others pending.

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