Python Makefiles... are they possible?

Roy Smith roy at
Wed Feb 13 02:06:35 CET 2013

In article <mailman.1731.1360717275.2939.python-list at>,
 Oscar Benjamin <oscar.j.benjamin at> wrote:

> On 13 February 2013 00:44, Malcolm White <white.m88 at> wrote:
> > I have written a piece of code that will be part of a larger repository of 
> > related programs. Within this repository, it is standard to issue a 'make' 
> > command to compile any desired program. Is it possible to create a Makefile 
> > to compile a simple Python program? Based on what I have come across so 
> > far, this is not (at least not typically) the way things are done with 
> > Python.
> You can use a Makefile for anything you want in a Python project.
> However Python code is not (typically) compiled so it is not common
> practise to compile it with or without a Makefile. When part of a
> Python project is compiled because, for example it bundles some C code
> to be used within Python, the compilation needs to performed in way
> that will be compatible with Python so the process is normally
> controlled by Python, through a file. In this case
> compilation is done with something like 'python build' (Of
> course there's nothing to stop you from adding that command to a
> Makefile and invoking it with 'make').
> I often use Makefiles in Python projects for other purposes, though,
> such as running tests with 'make test' or building documentation with
> 'make doc'.

One thing we do in our Makefiles is "find . -name '*.pyc' | xargs rm".  
It avoids all sorts of nasty and hard to track down bugs (consider what 
happens if you move a .py file from one place in your source tree to 
another and leave the old .pyc behind).

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