18.7. Where To Put Your Custom Builders and Tools

The site_scons directories give you a place to put Python modules and packages that you can import into your SConscript files (site_scons), add-on tools that can integrate into SCons (site_scons/site_tools), and a site_scons/site_init.py file that gets read before any SConstruct or SConscript file, allowing you to change SCons's default behavior.

Each system type (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.) searches a canonical set of directories for site_scons; see the man page for details. The top-level SConstruct's site_scons dir is always searched last, and its dir is placed first in the tool path so it overrides all others.

If you get a tool from somewhere (the SCons wiki or a third party, for instance) and you'd like to use it in your project, a site_scons dir is the simplest place to put it. Tools come in two flavors; either a Python function that operates on an Environment or a Python module or package containing two functions, exists() and generate().

A single-function Tool can just be included in your site_scons/site_init.py file where it will be parsed and made available for use. For instance, you could have a site_scons/site_init.py file like this:

   """A Tool to add a header from $HEADER to the source file"""
   add_header = Builder(action=['echo "$HEADER" > $TARGET',
                                'cat $SOURCE >> $TARGET'])
   env.Append(BUILDERS = {'AddHeader' : add_header})
   env['HEADER'] = '' # set default value

and a SConstruct like this:

# Use TOOL_ADD_HEADER from site_scons/site_init.py
env=Environment(tools=['default', TOOL_ADD_HEADER], HEADER="=====")
env.AddHeader('tgt', 'src')

The TOOL_ADD_HEADER tool method will be called to add the AddHeader tool to the environment.

A more full-fledged tool with exists() and generate() methods can be installed either as a module in the file site_scons/site_tools/toolname.py or as a package in the directory site_scons/site_tools/toolname. In the case of using a package, the exists() and generate() are in the file site_scons/site_tools/toolname/__init__.py. (In all the above case toolname is replaced by the name of the tool.) Since site_scons/site_tools is automatically added to the head of the tool search path, any tool found there will be available to all environments. Furthermore, a tool found there will override a built-in tool of the same name, so if you need to change the behavior of a built-in tool, site_scons gives you the hook you need.

Many people have a library of utility Python functions they'd like to include in SConscripts; just put that module in site_scons/my_utils.py or any valid Python module name of your choice. For instance you can do something like this in site_scons/my_utils.py to add build_id and MakeWorkDir functions:

from SCons.Script import *   # for Execute and Mkdir
def build_id():
   """Return a build ID (stub version)"""
   return "100"
def MakeWorkDir(workdir):
   """Create the specified dir immediately"""

And then in your SConscript or any sub-SConscript anywhere in your build, you can import my_utils and use it:

import my_utils
print("build_id=" + my_utils.build_id())

Note that although you can put this library in site_scons/site_init.py, it is no better there than site_scons/my_utils.py since you still have to import that module into your SConscript. Also note that in order to refer to objects in the SCons namespace such as Environment or Mkdir or Execute in any file other than a SConstruct or SConscript you always need to do

from SCons.Script import *

This is true in modules in site_scons such as site_scons/site_init.py as well.

You can use any of the user- or machine-wide site dirs such as ~/.scons/site_scons instead of ./site_scons, or use the --site-dir option to point to your own dir. site_init.py and site_tools will be located under that dir. To avoid using a site_scons dir at all, even if it exists, use the --no-site-dir option.