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Vim plug-in for detecting your build system
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Plugin for detecting your build system.


You'll want to use this plugin if you work on a lot of projects with different build systems. You want your editor to be able to detect your current build system and set 'makeprg' accordingly.

To make building really fast, map the :make command to a function key in your vimrc.

nnoremap <F5> :<C-U>make<CR>


I recommend installing pathogen.vim, and then simply copy and paste:

cd ~/.vim/bundle
git clone git://
vim -cHelptags

Once help tags have been generated, you can view the manual with

:help makeshift

How it works

This plug-in works by looking for known build files in the current working directory upwards, and sets 'makeprg'; by default this happens on start-up. You can use the command to re-evaluate 'makeprg':


Sometimes your build script won't be in the current working directory, this is particularly common when 'autochdir' is set. For this reason :Makeshift sets b:makeshift_root to be the directory containing the build script that it used to determine the build system.

:MakeshiftBuild is a wrapper around Vim's own :make command, which changes directory to b:makeshift_root before calling :make with any arguments you provide and then returns to your working directory. If you often work in subdirectories, you may want to map the :MakeshiftBuild command to a function key in your vimrc:

nnoremap <F5> :<C-U>MakeshiftBuild<CR>
nnoremap <F6> :<C-U>MakeshiftBuild check<CR>

Alternatively you can use the makeshift_chdir option to automatically change the current working directory to the one containing your build script.


To tune the behaviour of this plugin, add any of the following switches to your vimrc:

let g:makeshift_on_startup = 0

To prevent Makeshift from setting 'makeprg' on BufRead:

let g:makeshift_on_bufread = 0

To prevent Makeshift from setting 'makeprg' on BufNewFile:

let g:makeshift_on_bufnewfile = 0

To prevent Makeshift from setting 'makeprg' on BufEnter:

let g:makeshift_on_bufenter = 0

To automatically change directory to 'b:makeshift_root' when it is discovered:

let g:makeshift_chdir = 1

To try the build file in the current directory before searching from the file directory:

let g:makeshift_use_pwd_first = 1

Build Systems

Makeshift currently associates the following files with their build systems:

* Jamfile: bjam
* Makefile: make
* GNUmakefile: make
* Rakefile: rake
* SConstruct: scons
* build.gradle: gradle
* build.xml: ant
* mix.exs: mix
* pom.xml: mvn
* ninja

Adding a new build system

If Makeshift doesn't already know about your build system, or you wish to override the default program for a given file, you can define a dictionary, which has filenames as keys and corresponding programs as values.

let g:makeshift_systems = {
    \'build.sbt ': 'sbt',

Removing a build system

If you don't want Makeshift to set 'makeprg' for a given build system, you can disable it by defining a list of the files to ignore.

let g:makeshift_ignored = ['Jamfile']


Makeshift is licensed under the same terms as Vim itself (see :help license).


If you find this plug-in useful, please follow this repository on GitHub and vote for it If you have something to say, you can contact johnsyweb on Twitter and GitHub.

Many thanks

I'm grateful for contributions to what was a solo project (hooray for GitHub :octocat:)! If you'd like to thank the contributors, you can find their details here:

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