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The $STRING expansion in actions makes some assumptions:

     * if the expanded variable is a list of strings, each of them is a single argument to the final command. 
     * if the expanded variable is a single string, it is a space-separated list of arguments to the final command.

If you want to force a single string variable to be treated as a single argument, you can do this:

           * action = "compiler.exe ${[MYVAR]}"

The curly braces cause "[MYVAR]" to be evaluated as a Python expression. [MYVAR] is a list containing the single string MYVAR. So your end result is that MYVAR will be quoted as a single arg if it happens to contain spaces.