cmake-generators man page

cmake-generators — CMake Generators Reference

Introduction

A CMake Generator is responsible for writing the input files for a native build system.  Exactly one of the CMake Generators must be selected for a build tree to determine what native build system is to be used.  Optionally one of the Extra Generators may be selected as a variant of some of the Command-Line Build Tool Generators to produce project files for an auxiliary IDE.

CMake Generators are platform-specific so each may be available only on certain platforms.  The cmake(1) command-line tool --help output lists available generators on the current platform.  Use its -G option to specify the generator for a new build tree. The cmake-gui(1) offers interactive selection of a generator when creating a new build tree.

Cmake Generators

Command-Line Build Tool Generators

These generators support command-line build tools.  In order to use them, one must launch CMake from a command-line prompt whose environment is already configured for the chosen compiler and build tool.

Makefile Generators

Borland Makefiles

Generates Borland makefiles.

MSYS Makefiles

Generates makefiles for use with MSYS (Minimal SYStem) make under the MSYS shell.

Use this generator in a MSYS shell prompt and using make as the build tool.  The generated makefiles use /bin/sh as the shell to launch build rules.  They are not compatible with a Windows command prompt.

To build under a Windows command prompt, use the MinGW Makefiles generator.

MinGW Makefiles

Generates makefiles for use with mingw32-make under a Windows command prompt.

Use this generator under a Windows command prompt with MinGW (Minimalist GNU for Windows) in the PATH and using mingw32-make as the build tool.  The generated makefiles use cmd.exe as the shell to launch build rules.  They are not compatible with MSYS or a unix shell.

To build under the MSYS shell, use the MSYS Makefiles generator.

NMake Makefiles

Generates NMake makefiles.

NMake Makefiles JOM

Generates JOM makefiles.

Unix Makefiles

Generates standard UNIX makefiles.

A hierarchy of UNIX makefiles is generated into the build tree.  Use any standard UNIX-style make program to build the project through the all target and install the project through the install (or install/strip) target.

For each subdirectory sub/dir of the project a UNIX makefile will be created, containing the following targets:

all

Depends on all targets required by the subdirectory.

install

Runs the install step in the subdirectory, if any.

install/strip

Runs the install step in the subdirectory followed by a CMAKE_STRIP command, if any.

The CMAKE_STRIP variable will contain the platform’s strip utility, which removes symbols information from generated binaries.

test

Runs the test step in the subdirectory, if any.

package

Runs the package step in the subdirectory, if any.

Watcom WMake

Generates Watcom WMake makefiles.

Ninja Generator

Ninja

Generates build.ninja files.

A build.ninja file is generated into the build tree.  Use the ninja program to build the project through the all target and install the project through the install (or install/strip) target.

For each subdirectory sub/dir of the project, additional targets are generated:

sub/dir/all

Depends on all targets required by the subdirectory.

sub/dir/install

Runs the install step in the subdirectory, if any.

sub/dir/install/strip

Runs the install step in the subdirectory followed by a CMAKE_STRIP command, if any.

The CMAKE_STRIP variable will contain the platform’s strip utility, which removes symbols information from generated binaries.

sub/dir/test

Runs the test step in the subdirectory, if any.

sub/dir/package

Runs the package step in the subdirectory, if any.

Fortran Support

The Ninja generator conditionally supports Fortran when the ninja tool has the required features.  As of this version of CMake the needed features have not been integrated into upstream Ninja.  Kitware maintains a branch of Ninja with the required features on github.com/Kitware/ninja.

IDE Build Tool Generators

These generators support Integrated Development Environment (IDE) project files.  Since the IDEs configure their own environment one may launch CMake from any environment.

Visual Studio Generators

Visual Studio 6

Removed.  This once generated Visual Studio 6 project files, but the generator has been removed since CMake 3.6.  It is still possible to build with VS 6 tools using the NMake Makefiles generator.

Visual Studio 7

Removed.  This once generated Visual Studio .NET 2002 project files, but the generator has been removed since CMake 3.6.  It is still possible to build with VS 7.0 tools using the NMake Makefiles generator.

Visual Studio 7 .NET 2003

Removed.  This once generated Visual Studio .NET 2003 project files, but the generator has been removed since CMake 3.9.  It is still possible to build with VS 7.1 tools using the NMake Makefiles generator.

Visual Studio 8 2005

Removed.  This once generated Visual Studio 8 2005 project files, but the generator has been removed since CMake 3.12.  It is still possible to build with VS 2005 tools using the NMake Makefiles generator.

Visual Studio 9 2008

Generates Visual Studio 9 2008 project files.

Platform Selection

The default target platform name (architecture) is Win32.

The CMAKE_GENERATOR_PLATFORM variable may be set, perhaps via the cmake(1) -A option, to specify a target platform name (architecture).  For example:

  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 9 2008" -A Win32
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 9 2008" -A x64
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 9 2008" -A Itanium
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 9 2008" -A <WinCE-SDK> (Specify a target platform matching a Windows CE SDK name.)

For compatibility with CMake versions prior to 3.1, one may specify a target platform name optionally at the end of the generator name. This is supported only for:

Visual Studio 9 2008 Win64

Specify target platform x64.

Visual Studio 9 2008 IA64

Specify target platform Itanium.

Visual Studio 9 2008 <WinCE-SDK>

Specify target platform matching a Windows CE SDK name.

Visual Studio 10 2010

Generates Visual Studio 10 (VS 2010) project files.

For compatibility with CMake versions prior to 3.0, one may specify this generator using the name Visual Studio 10 without the year component.

Project Types

Only Visual C++ and C# projects may be generated.  Other types of projects (Database, Website, etc.) are not supported.

Platform Selection

The default target platform name (architecture) is Win32.

The CMAKE_GENERATOR_PLATFORM variable may be set, perhaps via the cmake(1) -A option, to specify a target platform name (architecture).  For example:

  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 10 2010" -A Win32
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 10 2010" -A x64
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 10 2010" -A Itanium

For compatibility with CMake versions prior to 3.1, one may specify a target platform name optionally at the end of the generator name. This is supported only for:

Visual Studio 10 2010 Win64

Specify target platform x64.

Visual Studio 10 2010 IA64

Specify target platform Itanium.

Toolset Selection

The v100 toolset that comes with Visual Studio 10 2010 is selected by default.  The CMAKE_GENERATOR_TOOLSET option may be set, perhaps via the cmake(1) -T option, to specify another toolset.

Visual Studio 11 2012

Generates Visual Studio 11 (VS 2012) project files.

For compatibility with CMake versions prior to 3.0, one may specify this generator using the name “Visual Studio 11” without the year component.

Project Types

Only Visual C++ and C# projects may be generated.  Other types of projects (JavaScript, Database, Website, etc.) are not supported.

Platform Selection

The default target platform name (architecture) is Win32.

The CMAKE_GENERATOR_PLATFORM variable may be set, perhaps via the cmake(1) -A option, to specify a target platform name (architecture).  For example:

  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 11 2012" -A Win32
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 11 2012" -A x64
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 11 2012" -A ARM
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 11 2012" -A <WinCE-SDK> (Specify a target platform matching a Windows CE SDK name.)

For compatibility with CMake versions prior to 3.1, one may specify a target platform name optionally at the end of the generator name. This is supported only for:

Visual Studio 11 2012 Win64

Specify target platform x64.

Visual Studio 11 2012 ARM

Specify target platform ARM.

Visual Studio 11 2012 <WinCE-SDK>

Specify target platform matching a Windows CE SDK name.

Toolset Selection

The v110 toolset that comes with Visual Studio 11 2012 is selected by default.  The CMAKE_GENERATOR_TOOLSET option may be set, perhaps via the cmake(1) -T option, to specify another toolset.

Visual Studio 12 2013

Generates Visual Studio 12 (VS 2013) project files.

For compatibility with CMake versions prior to 3.0, one may specify this generator using the name “Visual Studio 12” without the year component.

Project Types

Only Visual C++ and C# projects may be generated.  Other types of projects (JavaScript, Powershell, Python, etc.) are not supported.

Platform Selection

The default target platform name (architecture) is Win32.

The CMAKE_GENERATOR_PLATFORM variable may be set, perhaps via the cmake(1) -A option, to specify a target platform name (architecture).  For example:

  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 12 2013" -A Win32
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 12 2013" -A x64
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 12 2013" -A ARM

For compatibility with CMake versions prior to 3.1, one may specify a target platform name optionally at the end of the generator name. This is supported only for:

Visual Studio 12 2013 Win64

Specify target platform x64.

Visual Studio 12 2013 ARM

Specify target platform ARM.

Toolset Selection

The v120 toolset that comes with Visual Studio 12 2013 is selected by default.  The CMAKE_GENERATOR_TOOLSET option may be set, perhaps via the cmake(1) -T option, to specify another toolset.

For each toolset that comes with this version of Visual Studio, there are variants that are themselves compiled for 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) hosts (independent of the architecture they target). By default this generator uses the 32-bit variant even on a 64-bit host. One may explicitly request use of either the 32-bit or 64-bit host tools by adding either host=x86 or host=x64 to the toolset specification. See the CMAKE_GENERATOR_TOOLSET variable for details.

Visual Studio 14 2015

Generates Visual Studio 14 (VS 2015) project files.

Project Types

Only Visual C++ and C# projects may be generated.  Other types of projects (JavaScript, Powershell, Python, etc.) are not supported.

Platform Selection

The default target platform name (architecture) is Win32.

The CMAKE_GENERATOR_PLATFORM variable may be set, perhaps via the cmake(1) -A option, to specify a target platform name (architecture).  For example:

  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 14 2015" -A Win32
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 14 2015" -A x64
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 14 2015" -A ARM

For compatibility with CMake versions prior to 3.1, one may specify a target platform name optionally at the end of the generator name. This is supported only for:

Visual Studio 14 2015 Win64

Specify target platform x64.

Visual Studio 14 2015 ARM

Specify target platform ARM.

Toolset Selection

The v140 toolset that comes with Visual Studio 14 2015 is selected by default.  The CMAKE_GENERATOR_TOOLSET option may be set, perhaps via the cmake(1) -T option, to specify another toolset.

For each toolset that comes with this version of Visual Studio, there are variants that are themselves compiled for 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) hosts (independent of the architecture they target). By default this generator uses the 32-bit variant even on a 64-bit host. One may explicitly request use of either the 32-bit or 64-bit host tools by adding either host=x86 or host=x64 to the toolset specification. See the CMAKE_GENERATOR_TOOLSET variable for details.

Visual Studio 15 2017

Generates Visual Studio 15 (VS 2017) project files.

Project Types

Only Visual C++ and C# projects may be generated.  Other types of projects (JavaScript, Powershell, Python, etc.) are not supported.

Instance Selection

VS 2017 supports multiple installations on the same machine. The CMAKE_GENERATOR_INSTANCE variable may be set as a cache entry containing the absolute path to a Visual Studio instance. If the value is not specified explicitly by the user or a toolchain file, CMake queries the Visual Studio Installer to locate VS instances, chooses one, and sets the variable as a cache entry to hold the value persistently.

When CMake first chooses an instance, if the VS150COMNTOOLS environment variable is set and points to the Common7/Tools directory within one of the instances, that instance will be used.  Otherwise, if more than one instance is installed we do not define which one is chosen by default.

Platform Selection

The default target platform name (architecture) is Win32.

The CMAKE_GENERATOR_PLATFORM variable may be set, perhaps via the cmake(1) -A option, to specify a target platform name (architecture).  For example:

  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 15 2017" -A Win32
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 15 2017" -A x64
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 15 2017" -A ARM
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 15 2017" -A ARM64

For compatibility with CMake versions prior to 3.1, one may specify a target platform name optionally at the end of the generator name. This is supported only for:

Visual Studio 15 2017 Win64

Specify target platform x64.

Visual Studio 15 2017 ARM

Specify target platform ARM.

Toolset Selection

The v141 toolset that comes with Visual Studio 15 2017 is selected by default.  The CMAKE_GENERATOR_TOOLSET option may be set, perhaps via the cmake(1) -T option, to specify another toolset.

For each toolset that comes with this version of Visual Studio, there are variants that are themselves compiled for 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) hosts (independent of the architecture they target). By default this generator uses the 32-bit variant even on a 64-bit host. One may explicitly request use of either the 32-bit or 64-bit host tools by adding either host=x86 or host=x64 to the toolset specification. See the CMAKE_GENERATOR_TOOLSET variable for details.

Visual Studio 16 2019

Generates Visual Studio 16 (VS 2019) project files.

Project Types

Only Visual C++ and C# projects may be generated.  Other types of projects (JavaScript, Powershell, Python, etc.) are not supported.

Instance Selection

VS 2019 supports multiple installations on the same machine. The CMAKE_GENERATOR_INSTANCE variable may be set as a cache entry containing the absolute path to a Visual Studio instance. If the value is not specified explicitly by the user or a toolchain file, CMake queries the Visual Studio Installer to locate VS instances, chooses one, and sets the variable as a cache entry to hold the value persistently.

When CMake first chooses an instance, if the VS160COMNTOOLS environment variable is set and points to the Common7/Tools directory within one of the instances, that instance will be used.  Otherwise, if more than one instance is installed we do not define which one is chosen by default.

Platform Selection

The default target platform name (architecture) is that of the host and is provided in the CMAKE_VS_PLATFORM_NAME_DEFAULT variable.

The CMAKE_GENERATOR_PLATFORM variable may be set, perhaps via the cmake(1) -A option, to specify a target platform name (architecture).  For example:

  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 16 2019" -A Win32
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 16 2019" -A x64
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 16 2019" -A ARM
  • cmake -G "Visual Studio 16 2019" -A ARM64

Toolset Selection

The v142 toolset that comes with Visual Studio 16 2019 is selected by default.  The CMAKE_GENERATOR_TOOLSET option may be set, perhaps via the cmake(1) -T option, to specify another toolset.

For each toolset that comes with this version of Visual Studio, there are variants that are themselves compiled for 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) hosts (independent of the architecture they target). By default this generator uses the 64-bit variant on x64 hosts and the 32-bit variant otherwise. One may explicitly request use of either the 32-bit or 64-bit host tools by adding either host=x86 or host=x64 to the toolset specification. See the CMAKE_GENERATOR_TOOLSET variable for details.

Other Generators

Green Hills MULTI

Generates Green Hills MULTI project files (experimental, work-in-progress).

The buildsystem has predetermined build-configuration settings that can be controlled via the CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE variable.

Customizations that are used to pick toolset and target system:

The -A <arch> can be supplied for setting the target architecture. <arch> usually is one of arm, ppc, 86, etcetera. If the target architecture is not specified then the default architecture of arm will be used.

The -T <toolset> option can be used to set the directory location of the toolset. Both absolute and relative paths are valid. Relative paths use GHS_TOOLSET_ROOT as the root. If the toolset is not specified then the latest toolset found in GHS_TOOLSET_ROOT will be used.

Cache variables that are used for toolset and target system customization:

  • GHS_TARGET_PLATFORM

    Defaults to integrity.
    Usual values are integrity, threadx, uvelosity, velosity,
    vxworks, standalone.
  • GHS_PRIMARY_TARGET

    Sets primaryTarget entry in project file.
    Defaults to <arch>_<GHS_TARGET_PLATFORM>.tgt.
  • GHS_TOOLSET_ROOT

    Root path for toolset searches.
    Defaults to C:/ghs in Windows or /usr/ghs in Linux.
  • GHS_OS_ROOT

    Root path for RTOS searches.
    Defaults to C:/ghs in Windows or /usr/ghs in Linux.
  • GHS_OS_DIR and GHS_OS_DIR_OPTION

    Sets -os_dir entry in project file.
    Defaults to latest platform OS installation at GHS_OS_ROOT.  Set this value if
    a specific RTOS is to be used.
    GHS_OS_DIR_OPTION default value is -os_dir.
  • GHS_BSP_NAME

    Sets -bsp entry in project file.
    Defaults to sim<arch> for integrity platforms.

Customizations are available through the following cache variables:

  • GHS_CUSTOMIZATION
  • GHS_GPJ_MACROS

The following properties are available:

  • GHS_INTEGRITY_APP
  • GHS_NO_SOURCE_GROUP_FILE
NOTE:

This generator is deemed experimental as of CMake 3.16.0 and is still a work in progress.  Future versions of CMake may make breaking changes as the generator matures.

Xcode

Generate Xcode project files.

This supports Xcode 5.0 and above.

Toolset Selection

By default Xcode is allowed to select its own default toolchain. The CMAKE_GENERATOR_TOOLSET option may be set, perhaps via the cmake(1) -T option, to specify another toolset.

Extra Generators

Some of the CMake Generators listed in the cmake(1) command-line tool --help output may have variants that specify an extra generator for an auxiliary IDE tool.  Such generator names have the form <extra-generator> - <main-generator>. The following extra generators are known to CMake.

CodeBlocks

Generates CodeBlocks project files.

Project files for CodeBlocks will be created in the top directory and in every subdirectory which features a CMakeLists.txt file containing a project() call.  Additionally a hierarchy of makefiles is generated into the build tree. The CMAKE_CODEBLOCKS_EXCLUDE_EXTERNAL_FILES variable may be set to ON to exclude any files which are located outside of the project root directory. The appropriate make program can build the project through the default all target.  An install target is also provided.

This “extra” generator may be specified as:

CodeBlocks - MinGW Makefiles

Generate with MinGW Makefiles.

CodeBlocks - NMake Makefiles

Generate with NMake Makefiles.

CodeBlocks - NMake Makefiles JOM

Generate with NMake Makefiles JOM.

CodeBlocks - Ninja

Generate with Ninja.

CodeBlocks - Unix Makefiles

Generate with Unix Makefiles.

CodeLite

Generates CodeLite project files.

Project files for CodeLite will be created in the top directory and in every subdirectory which features a CMakeLists.txt file containing a project() call. The CMAKE_CODELITE_USE_TARGETS variable may be set to ON to change the default behavior from projects to targets as the basis for project files. The appropriate make program can build the project through the default all target.  An install target is also provided.

This “extra” generator may be specified as:

CodeLite - MinGW Makefiles

Generate with MinGW Makefiles.

CodeLite - NMake Makefiles

Generate with NMake Makefiles.

CodeLite - Ninja

Generate with Ninja.

CodeLite - Unix Makefiles

Generate with Unix Makefiles.

Eclipse CDT4

Generates Eclipse CDT 4.0 project files.

Project files for Eclipse will be created in the top directory.  In out of source builds, a linked resource to the top level source directory will be created.  Additionally a hierarchy of makefiles is generated into the build tree.  The appropriate make program can build the project through the default all target.  An install target is also provided.

This “extra” generator may be specified as:

Eclipse CDT4 - MinGW Makefiles

Generate with MinGW Makefiles.

Eclipse CDT4 - NMake Makefiles

Generate with NMake Makefiles.

Eclipse CDT4 - Ninja

Generate with Ninja.

Eclipse CDT4 - Unix Makefiles

Generate with Unix Makefiles.

Kate

Generates Kate project files.

A project file for Kate will be created in the top directory in the top level build directory. To use it in Kate, the Project plugin must be enabled. The project file is loaded in Kate by opening the ProjectName.kateproject file in the editor. If the Kate Build-plugin is enabled, all targets generated by CMake are available for building.

This “extra” generator may be specified as:

Kate - MinGW Makefiles

Generate with MinGW Makefiles.

Kate - NMake Makefiles

Generate with NMake Makefiles.

Kate - Ninja

Generate with Ninja.

Kate - Unix Makefiles

Generate with Unix Makefiles.

Sublime Text 2

Generates Sublime Text 2 project files.

Project files for Sublime Text 2 will be created in the top directory and in every subdirectory which features a CMakeLists.txt file containing a project() call.  Additionally Makefiles (or build.ninja files) are generated into the build tree. The appropriate make program can build the project through the default all target.  An install target is also provided.

This “extra” generator may be specified as:

Sublime Text 2 - MinGW Makefiles

Generate with MinGW Makefiles.

Sublime Text 2 - NMake Makefiles

Generate with NMake Makefiles.

Sublime Text 2 - Ninja

Generate with Ninja.

Sublime Text 2 - Unix Makefiles

Generate with Unix Makefiles.

Referenced By

ccmake(1), cmake(1), cmake-variables(7), ctest(1).

Nov 26, 2019 3.16.0 CMake