Tweaking Configurations

So what if you find that the existing jobs do not suffice for you to achieve what you want? There is usually a layered approach of steps you can take, going from simple (but less powerful) to advanced (but more challenging). These steps are:

  • Adapt macros.
  • Extend existing jobs.
  • Define new jobs.

We will look at each of these steps in turn.


Macros are simple named placeholders that are used in Generator configuration files. They make it easy to define values that are used in multiple jobs in a single place (e.g. the application name), or expose a value in a specific job so this value can be customized (e.g. a list of packages to ignore when building an application-specific Apiviewer). One way to change a macro is to edit the config.json file of your application. Start your favorite text editor and load the configuration file.

Let's suppose you want to add support for additional locales to your application. Then locate the "let" entry in the configuration map. The let key lets you define macros. Locate the macro named "LOCALES", and add two more locales so the value looks something like this: [ "en", "fr", "de" ]. With the next run of the command translation files fr.po and de.po will be added to your source/translation directory.

There is also the possibility to pass a macro definition on the command line when you invoke the Generator: source --macro  CACHE:/tmp/cache

This tells the Generator to use the path /tmp/cache for its caching. Passing macros in this manner allows you to change a macro on a per-invocation basis. The command-line value will take precedence over a potential existing definition in config.json.

Overriding Existing Jobs

The second approach that goes beyond just modifying a macro is to override an existing job. The default config.json comes with a commented-out sample for this. Let's suppose you want to add some extra newlines that are sprinkled throughout the build version of your app. In the "jobs" section of the config you find a job entry named "build-script". It has a sub-key compile-options/code/format (the "/" indicates nesting in the Json maps) which is set to false (the default). Just uncomment this job, set the format value to true, run build again, and you'll find newlines added to the generated code. This illustrates the general principle:

  1. Identify the job you are not contempt with. This might require that you look at the Generator output, or consult the basic configuration file, tool/data/config/base.json, as some jobs which you can invoke with the Generator are broken down into sub-jobs.
  2. Add an entry of the same name in your config.json. The Generator, once you run it the next time, will indicate this by issuing a hint in the console output that the respective job has been shadowed.
  3. Add those keys to the job entry that you want to change, with suitable values. Use the default job's definition to find out which config key you need to tweak. To achieve this you can look at the job's definition, e.g. in base.json, or run the Generator with the -w command line flag; this will print the full job definition before the job is run.

As mentioned above, on the next time you run the Generator it will indicate that you have successfully overridden a predefined job. The message will be something like this:

- Warning: ! Shadowing job "build-script" with local one

(This is also helpful to prevent you from accidentally overriding an existing job with a custom job that is supposed to be new).

Custom Jobs

Custom jobs are jobs that you freely define in your config.json. You add them to the jobs section just as in the previous step, but making sure you are not using an existing name for them (check the Generator console output when you run the job to make sure). The challenge with a custom job is that you have to build it up from scratch, and it might take you through some trial-and-error until you come up with a job definition that is fully functional. To help you with that, many basic configuration entries that almost any job would need are available in dedicated job definitions of their own (like "cache" or "libraries"), and we recommend using them. (This gives you another hint at the configuration system of the tool chain: Jobs need not do anything useful; they can also just be containers for configuration snippets that can be included in other jobs to make their definition more modular or compliant). Here is a simple custom job that just copies two files to the build path of the application:

"myjob" :
  "extend" : ["cache"],
  "copy-files" :
    "files"  : ["foo1.txt", "foo2.txt"],
    "source" : "/home/myhome/tmp",
    "target" : "./build"

Don't forget to add the entry "myjob" in your config's "export" list, so it is available on the command line.

Further Resources

  • If you want to embark on the effort of creating custom jobs you're well advised to make yourself familiar with the general Generator configuration overview, and
  • the reference of configuration keys that can be used.
  • Also, there is an example configuration file in tool/data/config/example.json to look at.
  • The basic configuration file, tool/data/config/base.json,
  • and the configuration files for the Testrunner (component/testrunner/testrunner.json)
  • and Apiviewer (component/apiviewer/api.json) also provide good examples to learn from.