CMake module

Note: the functionality of this module is governed by Meson's rules on mixing build systems.

This module provides helper tools for generating cmake package files. It also supports the usage of CMake based subprojects, similar to the normal meson subprojects.


To use this module, just do: cmake = import('cmake'). The following functions will then be available as methods on the object with the name cmake. You can, of course, replace the name cmake with anything else.

It is generally recommended to use the latest Meson version and CMake >=3.17 for best compatibility. CMake subprojects will usually also work with older CMake versions. However, this can lead to unexpected issues in rare cases.

CMake subprojects

Using CMake subprojects is similar to using the "normal" meson subprojects. They also have to be located in the subprojects directory.


add_library(cm_lib SHARED ${SOURCES})
cmake = import('cmake')

# Configure the CMake project
sub_proj = cmake.subproject('libsimple_cmake')

# Fetch the dependency object
cm_lib = sub_proj.dependency('cm_lib')

executable(exe1, ['sources'], dependencies: [cm_lib])

The subproject method is almost identical to the normal meson subproject function. The only difference is that a CMake project instead of a meson project is configured.

Also, project specific CMake options can be added with the cmake_options key.

The returned sub_proj supports the same options as a "normal" subproject. Meson automatically detects CMake build targets, which can be accessed with the methods listed below.

It is usually enough to just use the dependency object returned by the dependency() method in the build targets. This is almost identical to using declare_dependency() object from a normal meson subproject.

It is also possible to use executables defined in the CMake project as code generators with the target() method:

add_executable(cm_exe ${EXE_SRC})
cmake = import('cmake')

# Subproject with the "code generator"
sub_pro = cmake.subproject('cmCodeGen')

# Fetch the code generator exe
sub_exe ='cm_exe')

# Use the code generator
generated = custom_target(
  input: [],
  output: ['test.cpp'],
  command: [sub_exe, '@OUTPUT@']

It should be noted that not all projects are guaranteed to work. The safest approach would still be to create a for the subprojects in question.

subproject object

This object is returned by the subproject function described above and supports the following methods:

  • dependency(target) returns a dependency object for any CMake target.
  • include_directories(target) returns a meson include_directories() object for the specified target. Using this function is not necessary if the dependency object is used.
  • target(target) returns the raw build target.
  • target_type(target) returns the type of the target as a string
  • target_list() returns a list of all target names.
  • get_variable(name) fetches the specified variable from inside the subproject. Usually dependency() or target() should be preferred to extract build targets.
  • found returns true if the subproject is available, otherwise false new in in 0.53.2

CMake configuration files


This function is the equivalent of the corresponding CMake function, it generates a name package version file.

  • name: the name of the package.
  • version: the version of the generated package file.
  • compatibility: a string indicating the kind of compatibility, the accepted values are AnyNewerVersion, SameMajorVersion, SameMinorVersion or ExactVersion. It defaults to AnyNewerVersion. Depending on your cmake installation some kind of compatibility may not be available.
  • install_dir: optional installation directory, it defaults to $(libdir)/cmake/$(name)


cmake = import('cmake')

cmake.write_basic_package_version_file(name: 'myProject', version: '1.0.0')


This function is the equivalent of the corresponding CMake function, it generates a name package configuration file from the input template file. Just like the cmake function in this file the @PACKAGE_INIT@ statement will be replaced by the appropriate piece of cmake code. The equivalent PATH_VARS argument is given through the configuration parameter.

  • name: the name of the package.
  • input: the template file where that will be treated for variable substitutions contained in configuration.
  • install_dir: optional installation directory, it defaults to $(libdir)/cmake/$(name).
  • configuration: a configuration_data object that will be used for variable substitution in the template file.


cmake = import('cmake')

conf = configuration_data()
conf.set_quoted('VAR', 'variable value')

    name: 'myProject',
    input: '',
    configuration: conf



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