You should see if there is a SlackBuild script for the program/library you are compiling. These scripts will build your Slackware package; and the ones provided by slackbuilds.org are very reliable. The process of using a SlackBuild is fairly straightforward and can be quite educational.
As an example, today I built DOSBOX using a SlackBuild.
This is all pretty straightforward but things can become more complicated when dependencies are involved. If the README for a SlackBuild lists a dependency, that dependency must be installed before you can build your package. Most projects only have a couple of dependencies but occasionally there are more.
- I found the program on SlackBuilds.org (making sure it was for my SW 12.1 system).
- I checked the README file to see if there were any special instructions or dependencies that needed to be met (there were none).
- I downloaded the file to my ~/Source directory, entered that directory, and extracted the tarball's contents using 'tar zxf dosbox.tar.gz'.
- I downloaded the source tarball using the link provided by SB.o; placing it in ~/Source/dosbox/ (the directory created in the previous step).
- I entered the directory, logged in a root, and executed './dosbox.SlackBuild'.
- After a few minutes of compiling, the Slackware package was created in /tmp.
- I then installed the package using 'installpkg /tmp/dosbox-0.70-i486-1_SBo.tgz'
- I then logged out of the root account.
For example, when I built AbiWord the README specifies seven dependencies (gail, wv, libgnomecanvas, libgnomeprintui, libgnomeprint, libgnomecups, and enchant). This high number of dependencies is because AbiWord is a GNOME project and Slackware does not include GNOME.
In this case, you should download all the SlackBuilds for the required dependencies and start building and installing them one-by-one (start with the libraries that don't list any dependencies in their README file).
If there is no SlackBuild available for the program you are compiling, it is not too difficult to create your own, but I would recommend using a few SlackBuilds first until you understand the process.
"We visited sixty-six islands and landed eighty-one times, wading, swimming (to shore). Most of the people were friendly and delightful; only two arrows shot at us, and only one went near -- So much for savages!" - J.C. Patterson