Building HelloWorld with CMake

In the Installation Test your installation section, the HelloWorld test used the files in the default installation. Another way is to use the CMake build tool.

CMake is an open-source, cross-platform family of tools to build, test, and package software. It controls the software compilation process using simple platform and compiler-independent configuration files. It also generates the native makefiles, projects, and workspaces of your development environment. CMake’s main strength is built portability. The same CMake input files can be built with GNU make, Visual Studio (6,7,8) IDEs, Borland make, nmake, and XCode, and so on.

Another advantage of CMake is building out-of-source. It simply works out of the box. This facilitates:

  • Easy cleanup (no cluttering the source tree). Remove the build directory to start from scratch.

  • Multiple build targets. It is possible to have up-to-date debug and release targets without having to recompile the entire tree. It is easy for systems that do the cross-platform compilation to have up-to-date builds for the host and target platform.

To use CMake, you must provide a CMakeLists.txt, a copy of which, can be found in the <cyclonedds-directory>examples/helloworld directory that comes with the Hello World! example. The content is shown below:

The content of the CMakeLists.txt is:

 2# Copyright(c) 2019 to 2022 ZettaScale Technology and others
 4# This program and the accompanying materials are made available under the
 5# terms of the Eclipse Public License v. 2.0 which is available at
 6#, or the Eclipse Distribution License
 7# v. 1.0 which is available at
10# SPDX-License-Identifier: EPL-2.0 OR BSD-3-Clause
12cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.16)
13project(helloword LANGUAGES C)
15if(NOT TARGET CycloneDDS::ddsc)
16  # Find the CycloneDDS package.
17  find_package(CycloneDDS REQUIRED)
20# This is a convenience function, provided by the CycloneDDS package,
21# that will supply a library target related the the given idl file.
22# In short, it takes the idl file, generates the source files with
23# the proper data types and compiles them into a library.
24idlc_generate(TARGET HelloWorldData_lib FILES "HelloWorldData.idl" WARNINGS no-implicit-extensibility)
26# Both executables have only one related source file.
27add_executable(HelloworldPublisher publisher.c)
28add_executable(HelloworldSubscriber subscriber.c)
30# Both executables need to be linked to the idl data type library and
31# the ddsc API library.
32target_link_libraries(HelloworldPublisher HelloWorldData_lib CycloneDDS::ddsc)
33target_link_libraries(HelloworldSubscriber HelloWorldData_lib CycloneDDS::ddsc)

To build a Cyclone DDS based application, you must link your business code to the following:

  • The ddsc library that contains the DDS API for the application.

  • The helper functions and structures that represent your datatypes. These helpers are generated by the IDL compiler and can be accessed through the CMake (idlc_generate) call that takes the idl file (for example, HelloWorld.idl) as input, then packages the datatyped helpers in a library (for example, HelloWorldData_lib).

The idlc_generate call makes use of how the IDL compiler generates the helpers’ functions and structures. The following diagram shows the process:


The executables of the Cyclone DDS-based application (HelloworldPublisher and HelloworldSubscriber) are linked to Cyclone DDS with the CMake target_link_libraries() call. This call combines the ddsc lib, the datatype helper lib and the application code.


CMake attempts to find the CycloneDDS CMake package in the default system locations. If you experience problems with not being able to locate CycloneDDS it is often enough to include the Cyclone DDS <install-location> as CMake Prefix Path. For example: cmake -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=<install-location>. If you have further issues, please refer to CMake’s Using dependencies guide.

Building the HelloWorld Example


We recommend that to build examples or applications out-of-source, create a build directory inside the copy of the HelloWorld example directory.

  1. Open a terminal inside the directory with the HelloWorld files.

  2. Run:

    mkdir build
      cd build
  3. Configure the build environment:

    cmake -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=<install-location> ..
  4. CMake uses the CMakeLists.txt in the HelloWorld directory to create “makefiles” that target the native platform. The Cyclone DDS build directory is now ready to build the HelloworldPublisher and HelloworldSubscriber executables. Run:

    cmake --build .

    Your build directory now contains your executables (on Windows they may be in a Release or Debug subdirectory).

Test the build

  1. Open two terminals inside the directory with the HelloWorld files.

  2. In the first terminal, start the subscriber by running HelloWorldSubscriber.

  3. In the second terminal, start the publisher by running HelloWorldPublisher.


HelloworldPublisher appears as follows:


HelloworldSubscriber appears as follows: