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8.8 The value Function

The value function provides a way for you to use the value of a variable without having it expanded. Please note that this does not undo expansions which have already occurred; for example if you create a simply expanded variable its value is expanded during the definition; in that case the value function will return the same result as using the variable directly.

The syntax of the value function is:

     $(value variable)

Note that variable is the name of a variable, not a reference to that variable. Therefore you would not normally use a ‘$’ or parentheses when writing it. (You can, however, use a variable reference in the name if you want the name not to be a constant.)

The result of this function is a string containing the value of variable, without any expansion occurring. For example, in this makefile:

     FOO = $PATH
     
     all:
             @echo $(FOO)
             @echo $(value FOO)

The first output line would be ATH, since the “$P” would be expanded as a make variable, while the second output line would be the current value of your $PATH environment variable, since the value function avoided the expansion.

The value function is most often used in conjunction with the eval function (see Eval Function).