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Simple make wrapper script

The main purpose of this script is that you can build your project from any directory inside the project without manually changing to the build folder, entering 'make' and cd'ing back. This script does this for you and you simply need to type 'mk'.

But the script also does a lot of more things:

  • Smart detection of your build folder
  • finding the top level directory inside git respositories and search/create the build dir relative to this
  • using some default folder structures as fallback if you don't use git
  • manual configuration of the build directory by exporting MK_BLDDIR
  • Creation of the build dir if it does not exist
  • It executes CMake automatically when creating the build dir
  • It creates a compile_commands.json file using CMake so the semantic completion inside Vim works automatically if you are using the YouCompleteMe plugin
  • It also supports plain Makefike based projects. So 'mk' behaves like typing 'make' if a Makefile exists in the current dir.
  • [NEW] Now it supports also the Ninja build system instead of GNU Make. Ninja will be detected automatically and will be used by default instead of make to speed things up. If no Ninja is available it will fallback to Make. The speedup for clean rebuilds with Ninja+CCache is enormous. I measured performance improvement about a factor 10 for my projects. If you don't no Ninja yet, checkout and


The following demo video shows how to create the build dir, invoke cmake and build with a single mk call. Also you can see how this integrate into Vim, so that you can build the project inside Vim, no matter what your current directory is. In Vim you can also see that YCM completion just works without any project specific configuration.

Mk Script Demo


Just copy/link the script into /usr/local/bin. Ensure that it is executable and that /usr/local/bin is in your PATH variable.


Smart make wrapper script







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