williamblevins edited this page Jun 18, 2015 · 2 revisions

Persist Data Between Runs

!bug 1678 is about being able to keep --srcdir command-line options between runs. Since I see a need to keep configuration information between runs as well, I view fixing that bug as a prerequisite for future configuration work, so I'm providing as much insight as I can to make it easier to do. And once a generic facility is in place, there's other information that could be kept between runs as well.

I'm going to make a very concrete description of one way this might work. Be clear that it's not the only way, and it may not be the best way. And I'm not wed to any of the names; they are made up purely to make it easier to describe the process.

Working Top

The top of the working directory is identified by a file which we'll call, although .sconfigure might be a more attractive name. (This is where .sconsign is currently created, so one option would be to merge them.) The file is the place where all values are kept that should survive between runs.

For purposes of discussion, we'll assume it's a text file, but it could just as well be XML or binary. The file is created even if it is empty; it's purpose is to identify the top of the tree reliably even if other markers (liks a SConstruct) are missing.

There's an internal API for putting stuff in the file; some aspects of the API may be exposed to the public, probably indirectly.

Top Calculation

Here are the conditions that can affect what needs to be done. (Presumably something very similar to this scheme is already done to determine the location of the .sconsign file, but I wanted to make it explicit.) OUCH: Steven has pointed out that the SConstruct file may be in SCCS or RCS, so the search needs to include the default SourceCode() lookup as well.

Name Condition
top is present in current directory
cur A SConstruct flavor (SConstruct, Sconstruct, or sconstruct file) is found in the current directory
src --srcdir options are present on command line
up one of the --up options is present

Here are the actions that must be taken based upon the state of the contitions. If a condition must be true, its column is marked with a '+'; if false, with a '-'; if don't care, with an 'x'. The action column describes what to do. A letter in parenthesis indicates a common action that is used in more than one place.

top cur src up action
  • | x | + | x | Error "extraneous --srcdir options present"
  • | x | - | x | (A) process and proceed normally
  • | + | x | x | (B) create and proceed normally
  • | - | - | + | Scan up. If, use (A); if SConstruct flavor, use (B); otherwise error "SConstruct not found when scanning up"
  • | - | + | - | (C) If SConstruct flavor via --srcdir, use (B); otherwise error "SConscript not found"
  • | - | - | - | (GNU compatibility) set --srcdir=.. and use (C)
  • | - | + | + | Damifino; needs a decision: is this more 'src' or 'up'?

Action (B) to create a file uses the primitive operation below to place a SourceDir(dirname) line in the file for each --srcdir command-line option.

Action (A) to process the file executes it in a special context where the persistence names (see below) like SourceDir are defined. (Other schemes are possible; remember I'm not wedded to this one.) The SourceDir method causes its parameter to be treated as if it were present on the command line as a --srcdir option.

Primitive Operations

There are two primitive operations: one to accumulate the file content and one to flush the file contents to disk if the new content differs.

There's an internal primitive that is handed pieces of text to add to the file, which it keeps in a buffer. It's likely that it will be that dirt simple, but it's possible that it may need to keep track of several buffers so they can be written in the correct order.

When the scons command is terminated normally, the second primitive compares the buffer(s) against the file contents and overwrites the file contents if there's a difference.


To extend persistence to other values, add a method to the persistence names. When run, this method should produce the effects requested by its arguments and then reinsert itself with the same arguments in the file.

Possible extensions include cached configuration values to avoid recalculations and external variant build directories with pre-configured parameters.

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