Skip to content
Switch branches/tags

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time


Helper makefile for Pure Data external libraries. Written by Katja Vetter March-June 2015 for the public domain and since then developed as a Pd community project. No warranties. Inspired by Hans Christoph Steiner's Makefile Template and Stephan Beal's ShakeNMake.

GNU make version >= 3.81 required.


  • defines build settings based on autodetected target platform
  • defines rules to build Pd class- or lib executables from C or C++ sources
  • defines rules for libdir installation
  • defines convenience targets for developer and user
  • evaluates implicit dependencies for non-clean builds

basic usage

In your Makefile, define your Pd lib name and class files, and include Makefile.pdlibbuilder at the end of the Makefile. Like so:

  # Makefile for mylib = mylib

  class.sources = myclass1.c myclass2.c

  datafiles = myclass1-help.pd myclass2-help.pd README.txt LICENSE.txt

  include Makefile.pdlibbuilder

For files in class.sources it is assumed that class name == source file basename. The default target builds all classes as individual executables with Pd's default extension for the platform. For anything more than the most basic usage, read the documentation sections in Makefile.pdlibbuilder.


Makefile.pdlibbuilder >= v0.4.0 supports pd path variables which can be defined not only as make command argument but also in the environment, to override platform-dependent defaults:

PDDIR: Root directory of 'portable' pd package. When defined, PDINCLUDEDIR and PDBINDIR will be evaluated as $(PDDIR)/src and $(PDDIR)/bin.

PDINCLUDEDIR: Directory where Pd API m_pd.h should be found, and other Pd header files. Overrides the default search path.

PDBINDIR: Directory where pd.dll should be found for linking (Windows only). Overrides the default search path.

PDLIBDIR: Root directory for installation of Pd library directories. Overrides the default install location.

platform detection and predefined variables

Makefile.pdlibbuilder tries to detect architecture and operating system in order to define platform-specific variables. Since v0.6.0 we let the compiler report target platform, rather than taking the build machine as reference. This simplifies cross compilation. The kind of build options that are predefined:

  • optimizations useful for realtime DSP processing
  • options strictly required for the platform
  • options to make the build work accross a range of CPU's and OS versions

The exact choice and definition predefined variables changes over time, as new platforms arrive and older platforms become obsolete. The easiest way to get an overview for your platform is by checking the flags categories in the output of target vars. Variables written in capitals (like CFLAGS) are intentionally exposed as user variables, although technically all makefile variables can be overridden by make command arguments.

specific language versions

Makefile.pdlibbuilder handles C and C++, but can not detect if your code uses features of a specific version (like C99, C++11, C++14 etc.). In such cases your makefile should specify that version as compiler option:

cflags = -std=c++11

Also you may need to be explicit about minimum OSX version. For example, C++11 needs OSX 10.9 or higher:

define forDarwin
  cflags = -mmacosx-version-min=10.9


This provides only basic information. A large comment section inside Makefile.pdlibbuilder lists and explains the available user variables, default paths, and targets. The internal documentation reflects the exact functionality of the particular version. For suggestions about project maintenance and advanced compilation see


The project is versioned in MAJOR.MINOR.BUGFIX format (see, and maintained at Pd lib developers are invited to regulary check for updates, and to contribute and discuss improvements here. If you really need to distribute a personalized version with your library, rename Makefile.pdlibbuilder to avoid confusion.


The list of projects using pd-lib-builder can be helpful if you are looking for examples, from the simplest use case to more complex implementations.

  • helloworld: traditional illustration of simplest use case
  • pd-windowing: straightforward real world use case of a small library
  • pd-nilwind / pd-cyclone: more elaborate source tree
  • zexy: migrated from autotools to pd-lib-builder

projects using pd-lib-builder

non-exhaustive list


Helper makefile for building Pure Data externals



No packages published