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38.4 Creating Packages

Internally a package is simply a gzipped tar file that contains a top level directory of any given name. This directory will in the following be referred to as package and may contain the following files:

package/CITATION

This is am optional file describing instructions on how to cite the package for publication. It will be displayed verbatim by the function citation.

package/COPYING

This is a required file containing the license of the package. No restrictions is made on the license in general. If however the package contains dynamically linked functions the license must be compatible with the GNU General Public License.

package/DESCRIPTION

This is a required file containing information about the package. See The DESCRIPTION File, for details on this file.

package/ChangeLog

This is an optional file describing all the changes made to the package source files.

package/INDEX

This is an optional file describing the functions provided by the package. If this file is not given then one with be created automatically from the functions in the package and the Categories keyword in the DESCRIPTION file. See The INDEX File, for details on this file.

package/NEWS

This is an optional file describing all user-visible changes worth mentioning. As this file increases on size, old entries can be moved into package/ONEWS.

package/ONEWS

This is an optional file describing old entries from the NEWS file.

package/PKG_ADD

An optional file that includes commands that are run when the package is added to the users path. Note that PKG_ADD directives in the source code of the package will also be added to this file by the Octave package manager. Note that symbolic links are to be avoided in packages, as symbolic links do not exist on some file systems, and so a typical use for this file is the replacement of the symbolic link

ln -s foo.oct bar.oct

with an autoload directive like

autoload ('bar', which ('foo'));

See PKG_ADD and PKG_DEL Directives, for details on PKG_ADD directives.

package/PKG_DEL

An optional file that includes commands that are run when the package is removed from the users path. Note that PKG_DEL directives in the source code of the package will also be added to this file by the Octave package manager. See PKG_ADD and PKG_DEL Directives, for details on PKG_DEL directives.

package/pre_install.m

This is an optional function that is run prior to the installation of a package. This function is called with a single argument, a struct with fields names after the data in the DESCRIPTION, and the paths where the package functions will be installed.

package/post_install.m

This is an optional function that is run after the installation of a package. This function is called with a single argument, a struct with fields names after the data in the DESCRIPTION, and the paths where the package functions were installed.

package/on_uninstall.m

This is an optional function that is run prior to the removal of a package. This function is called with a single argument, a struct with fields names after the data in the DESCRIPTION, the paths where the package functions are installed, and whether the package is currently loaded.

Besides the above mentioned files, a package can also contain on or more of the following directories:

package/inst

An optional directory containing any files that are directly installed by the package. Typically this will include any m-files.

package/src

An optional directory containing code that must be built prior to the packages installation. The Octave package manager will execute ./configure in this directory if this script exists, and will then call make if a file Makefile exists in this directory. make install will however not be called. The environment variables MKOCTFILE, OCTAVE_CONFIG, and OCTAVE will be set to the full paths of the programs mkoctfile, octave-config, and octave, respectively, of the correct version when configure and make are called. If a file called FILES exists all files listed there will be copied to the inst directory, so they also will be installed. If the FILES file doesn’t exist, src/*.m and src/*.oct will be copied to the inst directory.

package/doc

An optional directory containing documentation for the package. The files in this directory will be directly installed in a sub-directory of the installed package for future reference.

package/bin

An optional directory containing files that will be added to the Octave EXEC_PATH when the package is loaded. This might contain external scripts, etc., called by functions within the package.


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