Difference between revisions of "Development/Tutorials/Creating Libraries"

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{{Template:I18n/Language Navigation Bar|Development/Tutorials/Creating Libraries}}
{{Moved To Community | Guidelines_and_HOWTOs/CMake/Library}}
If a part of your code could be used by more than one software module, like other programs or plugins, you should put that part in a shared library. This tutorial tells how to add the library to the buildsystem and how to prepare the source code.
==Separating the code==
It is good practise to put all source files for a library in a separate directory.
This tutorial assumes you want to create a shared library named <tt>myshare</tt>, which contains the classes MyAClass and MyBClass. Both classes use internally the classes MyInternalCClass and MyInternalDClass, but these are not found in their public interfaces.
The classes are declared and defined in the files myaclass.h, myaclass.cpp, mybclass.h, mybclass.cpp, myinternalcclass.h, myinternalcclass.cpp, myinternaldclass.h, and myinternaldclass.cpp.
==Adding the library to the buildsystem==
You also need a file CMakeLists.txt in the same directory as the source files:
set( myshared_LIB_SRCS
kde4_add_library( myshared  SHARED ${myshared_LIB_SRCS} )
target_link_libraries( myshared
set_target_properties( myshared
The instructions are similar to the ones for a program. But instead of calling <tt>kde4_add_executable()</tt> you use <tt>kde4_add_library()</tt> to register  the library <tt>myshared</tt>. The parameter <tt>SHARED</tt> is needed as this declares the library is a shared one, not a static.
Like with a program, other libraries that are used have to be defined with <tt>target_link_libraries()</tt>.
The version number of the library is set by <tt>set_target_properties()</tt>.
And <tt>install()</tt> moves the library to a place where it can be loaded.
==Declaring exported classes and methods==
If a library gets compiled, all functions or class methods it offers get listed as so called symbols in a table. Each symbol points to the offset in the library where the corresponding code can be found.
Adding also functions or class methods to the table which are not intended to be called from the outside is of no use. It just bloats the table and asks others to make calls to them against your will. For the library myshared you do not want to add the methods of the classes MyInternalCClass and MyInternalDClass.
In the KDE buildsystem you need to put explicitly a tag to all the classes and functions which the library should provide externally. This tag has to have a different name for each library.
For this add a file myshared_export.h to the directory of the library, containing:
<code cpp>
// needed for KDE_EXPORT and KDE_IMPORT macros
#include <kdemacros.h>
# if defined(MAKE_MYSHARED_LIB)
  // We are building this library
# else
  // We are using this library
# endif
# endif
This macro code defines the tag <tt>MYSHARED_EXPORT</tt> for the library.
Now you prepare all classes by adding a include for the header with the library's export tag and putting the export tag defined above in front of the class name, like this:
<code cppqt>
#include "myshared_export.h"
// class declaration as usual
And the same with the other class:
<code cppqt>
#include "myshared_export.h"
// class declaration as usual
Beware that header-only classes, even additionally based on templates, must not have an export tag. Their methods do not end as any symbol in the library. Instead all machine code is created on demand in the external calling software, if compiled.}}
==Enabling others to compile using your library==
You need also tell the buildsystem to install the header files. Without this external code can not build, as it can not include the files and thus the class and methods declarations of your library. You do this by adding to the library's CMakeLists.txt:
set( myshared_LIB_HDRS
install( FILES ${myshared_LIB_HDRS}
Of course also myshared_export.h is installed, as it gets included by the headers of both classes.
External KDE code which should use the library's classes and functions now can include the headers by the lines:
<code cppqt>
#include <myshared/myaclass.h>
#include <myshared/mybclass.h>
By installing the header files you are releasing your library officially. External code will rely on the interfaces declared by the headers. So you need to care for binary and behaviour compatibility if developing your library further. Any changes in the next release should be reflected in the proper part of the version number, so external code gets compiled and linked against the matching version.}}

Latest revision as of 16:49, 11 March 2016

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This page was last edited on 11 March 2016, at 16:49. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.