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Autoconf is an extensible system which permits new macros to be written and shared between Autoconf users. Although it is possible to perform custom tests by placing fragments of shell code into your `configure.in' file, it is better practice to encapsulate that test in a macro. This encourages macro authors to make their macros more general purpose, easier to test and easier to share with other users.
This chapter presents some guidelines for designing and implementing good Autoconf macros. It will conclude with a discussion of the approaches being considered by the Autoconf development community for improving the creation and distribution of macros. A more general discussion of macros can be found in 21.3.2 Macros and macro expansion.