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aap, a powerful build tool


aap [-f recipe] [option ...] [VAR=value ...] [target ...]


Aap executes recipes. A recipe has the structure of a Makefile: dependencies and build commands. Aap includes support for downloading, uploading, version control, Python commands and much more.

The default recipe used is "main.aap" in the current directory. Another one may be specified with the "-f" argument. For example, to use the recipe "doit.aap":

aap -f doit.aap

The recipe may be a URL. It will be downloaded to the current directory before it is executed. Example:

aap -f

An alternative is to use the "-u" or "--up" argument to search upwards in the directory tree for a "main.aap" recipe.

For the format of the recipe and the supported commands see the A−A−P web site: http://www.A−A− You may find it locally as /tmp/buildd/aap-1.072/debian/aap/usr/lib/aap/Exec-1.072/doc/index.html.

Here is an example for a recipe that compiles the "foobar" program from three source files:

:program foobar : main.c common.c version.c

Target arguments indicate the files or virtual targets that are to be built. For example, this command builds the two targets "foo" and "bar":

aap foo bar

When no target is specified on the command line, the "all" target specified in the recipe is built. If there is no "all" target the programs and libraries specified with ":program", ":lib" and similar commands are built. If none of these targets are specified this results in an error.

Assignments take the form "VAR=value". "VAR" is the name of a variable and "value" the value assigned to it. Example:

aap GUI=motif

Note that aap does not use environment variables for internal variables to avoid unexpected side effects. Assignments on the command line do not overrule assignments in the recipe.

Here is an example that uses all of the above arguments to use the recipe "foo.aap", set the "BUILD" variable to "debug" and build the "test" target:

aap -f foo.aap BUILD=debug test


The options may be given in any order, before or after targets and assignments. Options without an argument can be combined after a single dash.


End of options, only targets and assignments follow. Use this if a target starts with "-".

-a, --nocache

Always download files, do not use the cache.

-c CMD, --command CMD

After reading the recipe execute CMD. No targets are built other than the one(s) specified in the command line.

--changed FILE

The file FILE is considered changed, no matter whether it was really changed. Similar to the recipe command ":changed FILE".

-C, --contents

Targets are only considered outdated when file contents changed, not when attributes or build signatures changed. Useful after changing a "publish" attribute that should not cause uploading or changing build commands that should not trigger them to be executed.

-d FLAGS, --debug FLAGS

Debug the specified items. Not yet implemented.

-f FILE, --recipe FILE

Specify the recipe to execute. If this is omitted the "main.aap" recipe will be used.

-F, --force

Force building targets even when they are up-to-date.

-h, --help

Print a help message and exit.

-I DIR, --include DIR

Directory to search for included recipes.

--install PACKAGE

Install the package PACKAGE. Only works for a few packages that are supported, such as "scp" and "unzip". Does not read a recipe in the usual way, only the specified package is installed.

-j N, --jobs N

Maximum number of parallel jobs (not implemented yet).

-k, --continue

Continue building after encountering an error. (Not fully implemented yet)

-l, --local

Do not recurse into subdirectories. Applies to the "add" and "remove" targets. Also for "revise" concerning removing files.

-n, --nobuild

Do not execute build commands, only display them. Commands at the toplevel and commands to discover dependencies will still be executed. System commands, commands that download, upload, write or delete files and version control commands are skipped. ":child" and ":include" commands won’t work for recipes that have not been downloaded yet.

-N, --nofetch-recipe

Do not fetch recipes when using the "fetch" or "update" argument, only fetch files.

--profile FILE

Profile execution and write the results in FILE. Use the Python pstats module to view the results. The PrintProfile module in aap lists the most useful info.

-R, --fetch-recipe

For recipes that have a "fetch" attribute, obtain the latest version (refresh). This is done automatically for the "refresh", "fetch" and "update" targets, unless --nofetch-recipe was specified.

-s, --silent

Print less information while executing recipes.

-S, --stop

Stop building after encountering an error (this is the default).

-t, --touch

Do not execute build commands but do update signatures as if they were built. After doing this the specified targets will be considered up-to-date. Commands at the toplevel will also be executed, except system commands, commands that write a file and version control commands.

-u, --search-up, --up

Search the directory tree upwards for a "main.aap" recipe.

-v, --verbose

Print more information while executing recipes.

-V, --version

Print version information and exit.



The aap documentation in HTML.


The aap documentation in PDF. Useful for printing.

AAPDIR/log, AAPDIR/log1, AAPDIR/log2, ..., AAPDIR/log9

The log file with detailed messages about executing a recipe. Older log files are called log1, log2, etc.


For recent info see the A−A−P web site:


aap exits with a non-zero value when something went wrong.


Project leader for A−A−P is Bram Moolenaar <Bram@A−A−>.


Probably. Not everything has been properly tested. For recent info see the A−A−P web site: