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Build & Project Configurations for Hieroglyph 3

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Jason Z


Building Hieroglyph 3

Hieroglyph 3 always has had an 'SDK' folder where the engine static library is built to in its various configuration and platform incarnations, and the include (*.h, *.inl) files are copied to an include folder. This lets a user of the engine have an easy way to build the engine and grab the result for use in another project that doesn't want to have a source copy of Hieroglyph 3 in the project. You can put the various different versions of the static library output into different folders using some of the built in macros to modify the build path. For example, I use the following setting for my Output Directory project property:


The sample applications included with the engine link against this SDK folder accordingly, and it works well in most situations. There are occasional issues when Visual Studio will open a copied header file from the SDK folder instead of the original source version, which leads to strange phantom bugs where edits that you made earlier disappear, but that is manageable with some diligence.

MSBuilding Hieroglyph 3

However, when trying to clean all configurations, or to build all configurations, doing so from the IDE is no fun - especially if you are building large projects that take some time. So I recently dove into using MSBuild from the command line and wrote a couple of batch files to build them all automatically for me. For example, here is the sdk_build.bat file:

[indent=1]msbuild Hieroglyph3_Desktop_SDK.sln /t:Rebuild /p:Configuration=Debug /m:4 /p:Platform=Win32
msbuild Hieroglyph3_Desktop_SDK.sln /t:Rebuild /p:Configuration=Release /m:4 /p:Platform=Win32
msbuild Hieroglyph3_Desktop_SDK.sln /t:Rebuild /p:Configuration=Debug /m:4 /p:Platform=x64
msbuild Hieroglyph3_Desktop_SDK.sln /t:Rebuild /p:Configuration=Release /m:4 /p:Platform=x64

This let's you fire and forget about the building process, and it allows for automatically generating the output of your project. There is a corresponding version for cleaning as well. This is my first time using msbuild from the command line (it is the same build system that the IDE uses) and I am quite happy with how easy it is to work with. One slightly alternate motive for experimenting with this is to eventually incorporate a continuous integration server into the project, which would also need some script driven build setups.

Dependency Linking

One other recent change that I made to the project settings is to set the 'Link Library Dependencies' to true for all of my static libraries that consume other static libraries. In the past, I always defaulted to making the end application collect and link to all static libraries used throughout the entire build chain. That started to get old really quick once I started incorporating more and more extension libraries. For example, I have Kinect and Oculus Rift extensions which have their own static libraries. Then the Hieroglyph 3 project has dependencies on Lua and DirectXTK which have their own static libs.

By using the 'Link Library Dependencies' I no longer have to pass the libs down the build chain - each library can link in whatever it is using, and the applications have a significantly simpler burden to get up and running. Simpler is better in my book!

Source Code Management

One other final note about source code management. Hieroglyph 3 has used SVN as its SCM for a long time. Times have changed, and open source development has come a long way since I started out on the project. I will be migrating the repository on Codeplex over to Git, which I think will make it much easier to accept contributions as well as to utilize modern open source tooling for history and tracking purposes. I use Git at work, and I really like the decentralized nature of it. It is time to move on...

Miscellaneous Stuff

I have also been playing around a little with the Visual Studio 2014 CTP, and some of the new C++ features that it brings with it. There is some good stuff in there (see here for some details) so check it out and see what you can do with them!

Also, it was recently announced that the CppCon sessions will be professionally video recorded. CppCon is going to be a big fat C++ fest with lots of great talks scheduled (6 tracks worth!), so if you haven't already registered, go do it now! The program and abstracts are available now, so take a look and see if it would be good for you to check it out!
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