[c++] How to create a shared library with cmake?


Answers

This minimal CMakeLists.txt file compiles a simple shared library:

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 2.8)

project (test)
set(CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE Release)

include_directories(${CMAKE_CURRENT_SOURCE_DIR}/include)
add_library(test SHARED src/test.cpp)

However, I have no experience copying files to a different destination with CMake. The file command with the COPY/INSTALL signature looks like it might be useful.

Question

I have written a library that I used to compile using a self-written Makefile, but now I want to switch to cmake. The tree looks like this (I removed all the irrelevant files):

.
├── include
│   ├── animation.h
│   ├── buffers.h
│   ├── ...
│   ├── vertex.h
│   └── world.h
└── src
    ├── animation.cpp
    ├── buffers.cpp
    ├── ...
    ├── vertex.cpp
    └── world.cpp

So what I am trying to do is just to compile the source into a shared library and then install it with the header files.

Most examples that I have found compile executables with some shared libraries but never just a plain shared library. It would also be helpful if someone could just tell me a very simple library that uses cmake, so I can use this as an example.




First, this is the directory layout that I am using:

.
├── include
│   ├── class1.hpp
│   ├── ...
│   └── class2.hpp
└── src
    ├── class1.cpp
    ├── ...
    └── class2.cpp

After a couple of days taking a look into this, this is my favourite way of doing this thanks to modern CMake:

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.5)
project(mylib VERSION 1.0.0 LANGUAGES CXX)

set(DEFAULT_BUILD_TYPE "Release")

if(NOT CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE AND NOT CMAKE_CONFIGURATION_TYPES)
  message(STATUS "Setting build type to '${DEFAULT_BUILD_TYPE}' as none was specified.")
  set(CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE "${DEFAULT_BUILD_TYPE}" CACHE STRING "Choose the type of build." FORCE)
  # Set the possible values of build type for cmake-gui
  set_property(CACHE CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE PROPERTY STRINGS "Debug" "Release" "MinSizeRel" "RelWithDebInfo")
endif()

include(GNUInstallDirs)

set(SOURCE_FILES src/class1.cpp src/class2.cpp)

target_include_directories(${PROJECT_NAME} PUBLIC
    $<BUILD_INTERFACE:${CMAKE_CURRENT_SOURCE_DIR}/include>
    $<INSTALL_INTERFACE:include>
    PRIVATE src)

set_target_properties(${PROJECT_NAME} PROPERTIES
    VERSION ${PROJECT_VERSION}
    SOVERSION 1)

install(TARGETS ${PROJECT_NAME} EXPORT MyLibConfig
    ARCHIVE  DESTINATION ${CMAKE_INSTALL_LIBDIR}
    LIBRARY  DESTINATION ${CMAKE_INSTALL_LIBDIR}
    RUNTIME  DESTINATION ${CMAKE_INSTALL_BINDIR})
install(DIRECTORY include/ DESTINATION ${CMAKE_INSTALL_INCLUDEDIR}/${PROJECT_NAME})

install(EXPORT MyLibConfig DESTINATION share/MyLib/cmake)

export(TARGETS ${PROJECT_NAME} FILE MyLibConfig.cmake)

After running CMake and installing the library, there is no need to use Find***.cmake files, it can be used like this:

find_package(MyLib REQUIRED)

#No need to perform include_directories(...)
target_link_libraries(${TARGET} mylib)

That's it, if it has been installed in a standard directory it will be found and there is no need to do anything else. If it has been installed in a non-standard path, it is also easy, just tell CMake where to find MyLibConfig.cmake using:

cmake -DMyLib_DIR=/non/standard/install/path ..

I hope this helps everybody as much as it has helped me. Old ways of doing this were quite cumbersome.




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