Building a static library with Jam

4 Jul 2001 21:49 jam


Once again, we’re going to do what we did with the MFC application and DLL examples: build the project with AppWizard, and then get it built with jam.

Using AppWizard to generate the library

Run up Visual C++ and generate a new "Win32 Static Library" project. Call it win32_lib, and put it in the S:\jam-test\lib\win32_lib directory. For now we want neither "Pre-Compiled header" nor "MFC support".

This gives us a project with no files in it. We’ll create a C++ file, and a header file (something.cpp and something.h), and we’ll create a simple function:

/* something.cpp */

#include "something.h"
#include <string.h>

int something(const char *p)
    return strlen(p) + 42;
/* something.h */

int something(const char *p);

We’ll add these to the Visual C++ project, and check that it builds, as we did with the other examples: for sanity’s sake.

Creating the Jamfile

As we did with the other examples, we’ll create a simple Jamfile. We’ll also add all of the SubDir stuff necessary to integrate it into our overall build system:

SubDir TOP lib win32_lib ;

Library win32_lib : something.cpp ;

This builds, except that Jam says "warning: lib depends on itself". This is down to the fact that one of jam’s pseudotargets is called ‘lib’. The Jamfile.html documentation gives three different options to resolve this conflict:

  1. Change the name of the conflicting file.
  2. Modify Jambase and change the name of the pseudotarget.
  3. Use grist on the target name.

Now, I can’t change the name of the conflicting file (or, in this case, directory) – I’m looking to use jam to build empeg’s source code. We’ve had a directory called lib for over two years. It’s in CVS with that name, and there’s over 180KLOC in there. That rules out option one.

I haven’t figured out the implications of using grist on the target name, and a brief look at the example suggests that this isn’t viable anyway, so that kinda leaves us with option 2 – changing Jambase. See here.


Now we’ve built the static library, we’d better attempt to link with it. This involves modifying the application we built earlier, so that it calls the library. We’ll add this piece of code to InitInstance:

    int k = something("The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog");

We have to add a #include line, as well:

#include "win32_lib/something.h"

Of course, the compiler doesn’t know how to resolve this relative path, so we’ll fix it up in Jamrules:

HDRS += [ FDirName $(TOP) lib ] ;

We use the HDRS variable, rather than "C++FLAGS += /I" in order to tell Jam to search this directory for header files when doing dependency scans. Without this, it doesn’t rebuild mfc_app.cpp when something.h changes.

We use the FDirName function so that we don’t have to worry about slash (Unix) vs. backslash (DOS) vs. dot (VMS) vs. colon (Mac) – not that we build on anything other than NT or Unix at the moment (which both support slash).


It still doesn’t link, though: We’ve not told the linker about win32_lib.lib, so the application has unresolved externals. This is fixed with the LinkLibraries rule in mfc_exe\Jamfile:

Main mfc_exe : ChildFrm.cpp MainFrm.cpp mfc_exe.cpp mfc_exeDoc.cpp mfc_exeView.cpp StdAfx.cpp ;
Resource mfc_exe : mfc_exe.rc ;
LinkLibraries mfc_exe : win32_lib ;

This results in a warning from LINK about conflicting libraries. We just lift the SUBDIRC++FLAGS from mfc_exe\Jamfile and apply them to win32_lib\Jamfile, which fixes it.

Linking Sideways

Currently, it’s possible to build the project by invoking jam from the top-level directory. We’d like to be able to build a subset of the project by invoking jam from a subdirectory. It’s simple. We just add a SubInclude invocation to the relevant directory. For example, mfc_exe depends on win32_lib, so we just change mfc_exe\Jamfile:

SubDir TOP apps mfc_exe ;

SUBDIRC++FLAGS += /MDd /W3 /Gm /GX /ZI /Od /D "WIN32" /D "_DEBUG" /D "_WINDOWS" /D "_AFXDLL" /D "_MBCS" ;
RCFLAGS += /d "_DEBUG" /d "_AFXDLL" /l 0x809 ;

Main mfc_exe : ChildFrm.cpp MainFrm.cpp mfc_exe.cpp mfc_exeDoc.cpp mfc_exeView.cpp StdAfx.cpp ;
Resource mfc_exe : mfc_exe.rc ;
LinkLibraries mfc_exe : win32_lib ;

SubInclude TOP lib win32_lib ;

Note that we keep the SubInclude well clear of the rest of the Jamfile contents. It should either occur at the end, or before the SubDir rule.

You can find the source resulting from this here.