Using Premake

Tom van Dijck edited this page Jun 26, 2017 · 10 revisions

New to Premake? You might want to start with What is Premake?

Getting Premake

If you don't have Premake already, see Getting Premake to learn how.

Premake is a small command line executable, delivered as a single file. Just unpack the download and place the executable on your system search path, or anywhere else convenient.

Using Premake to Generate Project Files

The simplest Premake command is:

premake5 [action]

Premake defines the following list of actions out of the box; projects may also add their own custom actions.

Action Description
vs2017 Generate Visual Studio 2017 project files
vs2015 Generate Visual Studio 2015 project files
vs2013 Generate Visual Studio 2013 project files
vs2012 Generate Visual Studio 2012 project files
vs2010 Generate Visual Studio 2010 project files
vs2008 Generate Visual Studio 2008 project files
vs2005 Generate Visual Studio 2005 project files
gmake Generate GNU Makefiles (including Cygwin and MinGW)
xcode4 XCode projects (built-in extension)
codelite CodeLite projects (built-in extension)

(Premake4 supported some additional actions that haven't yet been ported to this new version; see the Available Feature Matrix for the whole list.)

To generate Visual Studio 2013 project files, use the command:

premake5 vs2013

You can see a complete list of the actions and other options supported by a project with the command:

premake5 --help

Using the Generated Projects

For toolsets like Visual Studio and Xcode, you can simply load the generated workspace or workspace into your IDE and build as you normally would.

If you have generated makefiles, running make with no options will build all targets using the default configuration, as set by the project author. To see the list of available configurations, type:

make help

To build a different configuration, add the config argument:

make config=release

To remove all generated binaries and intermediate files:

make clean                 # to clean the default target
make config=release clean  # to clean a different target

Premake generated makefiles do not (currently) support a make install step. Instead, project owners are encouraged to add an install action to their Premake scripts, which has the advantage of working with any toolset on any platform. You can check for the existence of an install action by viewing the help (run premake5 --help in the project directory).

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