< Policies
Revision as of 15:47, 17 September 2011 by Winterz (talk | contribs) (lowercase)

Policies/CMake Coding Style

This document describes the recommended coding style for CMake files in KDE, i.e. CMakeLists.txt files and *.cmake files.


Indent all code correctly, i.e. the body of

  • if/else/endif
  • foreach/endforeach
  • while/endwhile
  • macro/endmacro
  • function/endfunction (CMake 2.6)

Use spaces for indenting, 2, 3 or 4 spaces preferably. Use the same amount of spaces for indenting as is used in the rest of the file. Do not use tabs.

Upper/lower casing

CMake commands are case-insensitive (only the commands, not the arguments or variable names). So all the following versions work:

add_executable(foo foo.c)
Add_Executable(hello hello.c)
aDd_ExEcUtAbLe(blub blub.c)

But this would be ugly.

In KDE the all-lowercase style is preferred. Mixing upper- and lowercase should not be done in KDE CMake files.

(Not) Using pkg-config

You are free to use pkg-config in FindXXX.cmake modules, as long as the following conditions are met:

  • the FindXXX.cmake must also work without pkg-config, as long as the package is either installed to one of the default locations (as /usr or /usr/local) or if CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH is set accordingly
  • use only find_package(PkgConfig), don't use include(UsePkgConfig), this one is deprecated
  • make sure the variables created by pkg_check_modules() are all prefixed with "PC_", so they don't mix up with other variables, e.g. set via find_path() etc.
  • FindLibXml2.cmake as shipped with CMake 2.8.5 is a good example how pkg-config should be handled
  • putting something like if(NOT WIN32) around the pkg-config stuff is not necessary (and should be removed if it is somewhere). If pkg-config is not found, e.g. on Windows, the macros simply do nothing.

Writing CMake Find-modules

  • Follow the style guide from CMake when writing some FindFoo.cmake module:


  • For checking the results inside the Find-module, the macro find_package_handle_standard_args() (coming with CMake) should be used, using the new extended syntax, which supports also version checking.
  • Micro-optimizations like
  ... execute the whole find-logic

should be removed, the find-logic should be executed always. These shortcuts can cause problems e.g. when the same file is used from multiple directories but e.g. with different required versions or components etc.

This page was last edited on 27 April 2017, at 11:27. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.