tree: fdf144ef78a5f8e78cbea3ca0511681e3e6d5c95 [path history] [tgz]
  1. CMakeLists.txt.template
  2. Makefile.template
  4. build_config.rb.template
  5. composer.json.template
  6. config.m4.template
  7. config.w32.template
  8. gRPC-C++.podspec.template
  9. gRPC-Core.podspec.template
  10. gRPC-ProtoRPC.podspec.template
  11. gRPC-RxLibrary.podspec.template
  12. gRPC.podspec.template
  13. grpc.def.template
  14. grpc.gemspec.template
  15. grpc.gyp.template
  16. include/
  17. package.xml.template
  18. src/
  19. test/
  20. tools/

Regenerating project files

Prerequisites: python, pip install mako, go

# Regenerate the projects files using templates

Quick justification

We‘ve approached the problem of the build system from a lot of different angles. The main issue was that there isn’t a single build system that was going to single handedly cover all of our usage cases.

So instead we decided to work the following way:

  • A build.yaml file at the root is the source of truth for listing all the targets and files needed to build grpc and its tests, as well as a basic system for dependency description.

  • Each project file (Makefile, Visual Studio project files, Bazel's BUILD) is a YAML file used by the build.yaml file to generate the final output file.

This way we can maintain as many project system as we see fit, without having to manually maintain them when we add or remove new code to the repository. Only the structure of the project file is relevant to the template. The actual list of source code and targets isn't.

We currently have template files for GNU Make, Visual Studio 2013, Bazel and gyp (albeit only for Node.js). In the future, we would like to expand to also generate cmake project files, XCode project files, and an file allowing to compile gRPC using Android's NDK.

We‘ll gladly accept contribution that’d create additional project files using that system.

Structure of build.yaml

The build.yaml file has the following structure:

settings:  # global settings, such as version number
filegroups:  # groups of files that are automatically expanded
libs:  # list of libraries to build
target:   # list of targets to build

The filegroups are helpful to re-use a subset of files in multiple targets. One filegroups entry has the following structure:

- name: "arbitrary string", # the name of the filegroup
  public_headers: # list of public headers defined in that filegroup
  - ...
  headers: # list of headers defined in that filegroup
  - ...
  src: # list of source files defined in that filegroup
  - ...

The libs collection contains the list of all the libraries we describe. Some may be helper libraries for the tests. Some may be installable libraries. Some may be helper libraries for installable binaries.

The targets array contains the list of all the binary targets we describe. Some may be installable binaries.

One libs or targets entry has the following structure (see below for details):

name: "arbitrary string", # the name of the library
build: "build type",      # in which situation we want that library to be
                          # built and potentially installed (see below).
language: "...",          # the language tag; "c" or "c++"
public_headers:           # list of public headers to install
headers:                  # list of headers used by that target
src:                      # list of files to compile
secure: boolean,          # see below
baselib: boolean,         # this is a low level library that has system
                          # dependencies
vs_project_guid: '{...}', # Visual Studio's unique guid for that project
filegroups:               # list of filegroups to merge to that project
                          # note that this will be expanded automatically
deps:                     # list of libraries this target depends on
deps_linkage: "..."       # "static"  or "dynamic". Used by the Makefile only to
                          # determine the way dependencies are linkned. Defaults
                          # to "dynamic".
dll: "..."                # see below.
dll_def: "..."            # Visual Studio's dll definition file.
vs_props:                 # List of property sheets to attach to that project.
vs_config_type: "..."     # DynamicLibrary/StaticLibrary. Used only when
                          # creating a library. Specifies if we're building a
                          # static library or a dll. Use in conjunction with `dll_def`.
vs_packages:              # List of nuget packages this project depends on.

The "build" tag

Currently, the “build” tag have these meanings:

  • "all": library to build on "make all", and install on the system.
  • "protoc": a protoc plugin to build on "make all" and install on the system.
  • "private": a library to only build for tests.
  • "test": a test binary to run on "make test".
  • "tool": a binary to be built upon "make tools".

All of the targets should always be present in the generated project file, if possible and applicable. But the build tag is what should group the targets together in a single build command.

The "secure" tag

This means this target requires OpenSSL one way or another. The values can be "yes", "no" and "check". The default value is "check". It means that the target requires OpenSSL, but that since the target depends on another one that is supposed to also import OpenSSL, the import should then be implicitely transitive. "check" should then only disable that target if OpenSSL hasn't been found or is unavailable.

The "baselib" boolean

This means this is a library that will provide most of the features for gRPC. In particular, if we're locally building OpenSSL, protobuf or zlib, then we should merge OpenSSL, protobuf or zlib inside that library. That effect depends on the "language" tag. OpenSSL and zlib are for "c" libraries, while protobuf is for "c++" ones.

The "dll" tag

Used only by Visual Studio‘s project files. “true” means the project will be built with both static and dynamic runtimes. “false” means it’ll only be built with static runtime. “only” means it'll only be built with the dll runtime.

The "dll_def" tag

Specifies the visual studio's dll definition file. When creating a DLL, you sometimes (not always) need a def file (see grpc.def).

The template system

We're currently using the mako templates renderer. That choice enables us to simply render text files without dragging with us a lot of other features. Feel free to explore the current templates in that directory. The simplest one is probably BUILD.template which is used to create the Bazel project file.

The renderer engine

As mentioned, the renderer is using mako templates, but some glue is needed to process all of that. See the buildgen folder for more details. We're mainly loading the build.json file, and massaging it, in order to get the list of properties we need, into a Python dictionary, that is then passed to the template while rending it.

The plugins

The file build.json itself isn't passed straight to the template files. It is first processed and modified by a few plugins. For example, the filegroups expander is a plugin.

The structure of a plugin is simple. The plugin must defined the function mako_plugin that takes a Python dictionary. That dictionary represents the current state of the build.json contents. The plugin can alter it to whatever feature it needs to add.