Building SFGUI into a static library

Recently I had to integrate SFGUI into one of my projects, and I discovered that this particular library did not come with precompiled headers or prebuilt static/dynamic libraries.

This was a new challenge for me, and it took me a bit to wrap my head around it how to get it done. Up until now I had never needed to build a library from source. But the process itself when examined is relatively simple.

I decided that I would build the source into a static library for ease of use. Dynamic linking is nice, but an unnecessary complication for my purpose.

Building a static library requires two things:

  1. Using CMake to generate the project files.
  2. Building the project files themselves in order to obtain the shared library.

CMake should require no introduction, it’s a popular meta-build tool. It operates through the use of Makefiles, the exact specifics of which are still arcane to me, but the process of writing one shall be a subsequent blog post so check this space later!

Building the project files can be done in an IDE like Visual Studio (which is what I used) or a compiler suite like GCC.

Download CMake here:
https://cmake.org/

Download SFGUI source here:
http://sfgui.sfml-dev.de/

It goes without saying that SFGUI had a dependency on SFML, so SFML will need to be integrated into your development environment in order for SFGUI to function, as well as linked to the CMake build process in order for the build to work.

CMakes’ GUI makes things pretty simple:

Capture

The Source and Destination of the build are specified as the same directory here. I preferred this so as to have my newly built library easily found in the same place as the SFGUI source, but this isn’t necessary.

Once these paths are specified, hit ‘Configure’ in order to get CMake to begin analyzing and listing the options for the build.

There will be some errors, but thats okay! We need to set up CMake in order to build the project files, so the errors are just informing you of settings that haven’t been set yet.

Make sure ‘Grouped’ and ‘Advanced’ (The checkboxes in the top right) are ticked so as to access a more organized view of the settings as well as ALL the necessary details.

 

In order to add an entry hit the button with the plus sign on it, to the right of the checkboxes.

The CMake settings group remains mostly unchanged except for the addition of:

CMAKE_MODULE_PATH which is a PATH type variable and which needs to point the location of the makefiles in the SFML root directory of your installation. It will follow this format:

“*SFMLDirectory*\CMake\Modules”

The settings under SFML provide the location of the various libraries and include files of SFML and are similar to the integration of a library into a project using an IDE, so the process should be familiar.

In this situation I’ve left the dynamic library locations unfilled as we are not building a dll (dynamic linked library) for SFGUI.

For a static library of SFGUI, we require the static libraries of SFML. Pretty straightforward.

Obviously, replace the directory of SFML to where ever the root directory of SFML is in your own system.

Capture.JPG

This is what your settings under ‘Ungrouped Entries’, ‘OPENGL’ and ‘SFGUI’ should look like:

Capture

After all this is setup, hit Configure once again to check if there are any errors, if not hit Generate, choose the compiler toolchain you’d prefer to use, (SFGUI requires C++ 11 features so using a version of Visual C++ that is ahead of 2013 seems to be necessary), and the process should be done shortly.

This generates the project files in the SFGUI directory. Open this project in the IDE of your choice and build it. In my build setup there were still some errors, but the process succeeded. I have yet to see if these errors will affect me in some way. Hopefully not.

After this, the library should be found in the directory of SFGUI, under the ‘lib’ subfolder.

Link this into your project environments as you usually would, after specifying the include directories as always.

Hope this helps!

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