< Policies
Revision as of 20:06, 14 January 2012 by Neundorf (talk | contribs)

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

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

Most important: use consistent upper- or lowercasing within one file !

In general, in KDE the all-lowercase style is preferred.

So, this is recommended:

add_executable(foo foo.c)

This is also acceptable:


Mixed casing as shown below works too, but should not be done within KDE:

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

End commands

To make the code easier to read, use empty commands for endforeach(), endif(), endfunction(), endmacro() and endwhile(). Also, use empty else() commands.

For example, do this:


and not this:


(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.

Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.