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Using Premake

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

If you haven't already, you can download Premake here, or build it from source. 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.

vs2022Generate Visual Studio 2022 project files
vs2019Generate Visual Studio 2019 project files
vs2017Generate Visual Studio 2017 project files
vs2015Generate Visual Studio 2015 project files
vs2013Generate Visual Studio 2013 project files
vs2012Generate Visual Studio 2012 project files
vs2010Generate Visual Studio 2010 project files
vs2008Generate Visual Studio 2008 project files
vs2005Generate Visual Studio 2005 project files
gmakeGenerate GNU Makefiles (This generator is deprecated by gmake2)
gmake2Generate GNU Makefiles (including Cygwin and MinGW)
xcode4XCode projects
codeliteCodeLite projects

(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 solution 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).