Created: 2012-03-22 15:43
Updated: 2019-02-11 23:54
License: other


Copyright © 2012 Grady O'Connell

See LICENSE for more information



Siege Tools is a plugin-based build automation toolset. Combined with Vim, or an equally powerful text editor, siege-tools attempts to narrow the gap between the CLI and traditional IDEs by introducing a set of plug-in-based/modular components responsible for the uniform build and execution of projects of incompatible types.

Currently, the only tools ready for use are SiegeMake (sgmake) and SiegeRun (sgrun).


###sgmake (SiegeMake)###

sgmake is a build automation system. It's job is to intelligently select and run the specific steps required by common build systems by analyzing the given directories (usually just the current directory), figuring out which build system was intended for the projects found, and attempting to build the projects. It takes into account limitations of the current platform, the project, and those rules set up by the user through config files. If no build system is found, it can look at the filetypes and even analyze the source files to see if the project can still be built.

Detector plug-ins run first, and provide information about each project to the other plug-ins, such as the count and percentages of certain filetypes, and other clues about the project environment. These clues inform plug-ins of how to build the project.

Each step of the build process has its own set of plug-ins. The plug-in types are detect, analyze, clean, preprocess, make, obfuscate, doc, sign, package, install, test, and deploy. Look below at the feature list to see a list of the plug-ins supported.

The goals of Sgmake are as follows:

  • Make it significantly easier to build source-based projects out of the box by removing the need for a person to manually recognize each system and manually execute each step build process. (Success)
  • Wrap most common systems and introduce a way to easily wrap any newer systems. (Success)
  • Wrap dependency sources. (Almost there)
  • Encourage (through plug-ins) saner behavior of older systems by optionally bringing in newer tools when they are supported by the system. (Success) )

Siege-tools builds makefile-projects significantly faster than the naive "make" in most cases, respects ram/tmp-mounted temporaries to improve lifetime of SSDs, and optionally uses ccache for faster rebuilds when detected.

What is Supported

  • Makefile
  • Premake
  • CMake
  • msbuild (Visual Studio)
  • Java source w/ manifest
  • Qt qmake
  • Mono xbuild
  • Node.js npm packages
  • Bower packages
  • Docker dockerfiles
  • Grunt (Javascript Task Runner)
  • Allatori obfuscation
  • Java Jar Signing
  • IZPack installer packaging
  • NSIS Installers (using Wine on non-windows platforms)
  • Automatic multi-threading
  • RAM-based compilation (auto-relinking of tmpfs-mounted obj folder)
  • Status notifications

Basic Usage

This example assumes you're using Linux, but MacOS should work similarly.

There's no installer right now, so simply create an alias using your shell to call the file when you type "sgmake", This is the best bet so you can keep the git repo current as I change things.


alias sgmake="/usr/bin/env python2 ~/bin/siege-tools/"

Or, make a new file /usr/bin/sgmake, with contents:

/usr/bin/env/python2 ~/bin/siege-tools/ "$@"

(Use your own path to siege-tools)

Then, give it execute permissions:

sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/sgmake

To detect and build a sgmake project do:


To build a batch of sgmake projects recursively:

sgmake -r

To detect and build a project from a deeply nested directory inside a project (such as in a src/ folder):

sgmake -R

To list the projects detected in a directory

sgmake -l

To list projects recursively:

sgmake -lr

Vim Integration

Setting sgmake as vim's "makeprg"

Add this to .vimrc

let makeprg=sgmake\ -R

Then, to build a project from a file inside a project dir, just type in vim:


Or async version (using AsyncCommand)


And to bring up the quicklist, type:


Eventually, siege-tools event plug-ins will allow you to jump into vim from the command at the context of the first error. I haven't written this part yet though. :)

Calling from Vim (alternative to above)

In your .vimrc add a line like this (assuming s is your choice for sgmake key):

nnoremap <leader>s :w<cr>:!sgmake -R %:p:h<cr>

When leader+s is pressed, sgmake does a backwards scan (-R option) for projects starting from the file you're editing, assuming you're probably editing in either the project or a nested source dir, and then runs the build on the first project it detects using the build system detected.

An async alternative to the above using vim-dispatch:

" (S)gmake (build) the associated project
nmap <leader>s :w<cr>:Dispatch! sgmake -Rd<cr>

You may also want to run the application once the build finishes:

" (R)un the associated program using sgrun
nmap <leader>r :w<cr>:Dispatch! sgrun<cr>

###sgrun (SiegeRun)###

Ever tried to simply run a program while editing its code in a deep nested directory? SiegeRun digs deep, attempts to figure out which binary you intended to run, and runs it.


Let's say your working dir is MyProject/src/video and you're editing Canvas.cpp

A 'sgrun' call, will find and run: "MyProject/bin/mybinary" w/ "MyProject/bin/" as the working directory

It also intelligently tries to avoid supplemental scripts and tests, if there is something better to run.

SiegeRun also forwards your parameters to the target, but looks for special "---"-prefixed flags to invokve special behavior. One such switch is "---e" which can filters targets using a regex expression.

SiegeRun also supports Node.js package.json files as target hints.


  • JSON-based dependencies, with system package managers and git-based providers

  • Installer

  • Improved documentation

  • Improved error handling

  • SiegeTap (sgtap)

    • Alternative to Unix "touch" but with basic project templates
    • Generating template projects to use with sgmake or your build system of choice
    • Context-aware file and project templates and generators


If you find this project useful, consider contributing or spreading the word to other developers. Once the addon system is done, I could use contributors to write addon steps for different languages and build systems.


Contact me at for questions, comments, etc.

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