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wxWidgets for Mac OS X installation
wxWidgets can be compiled using Apple's Carbon or Cocoa libraries.
Carbon is the older library, and Cocoa is the more modern library.
In wxWidgets 2.8.x, Carbon is the recommended library because it is the
more stable. Cocoa is incomplete in wxWidgets 2.8.x. If you are interested
in using Cocoa, you should start with wxWidgets 2.9.x where Cocoa is
much more complete.
Most Mac OS X developers should start by downloading and installing Xcode
from It is a free IDE from Apple that provides
all of the tools you need for working with wxWidgets.
After Xcode is installed, download either wxWidgets-{version}.tar.gz or
wxMac-{version}.tar.gz and then double-click on it to unpack it to create
a wxWidgets directory.
Next use Terminal (under Applications, Utilities, Terminal) to access a command
prompt. Use cd to change directory to your wxWidgets directory and execute
one of the following sets of commands:
# For Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or later, with a 64-bit processor, build the
# Carbon libraries like this
mkdir build-carbon-debug
cd build-carbon-debug
arch_flags="-arch i386"
../configure CFLAGS="$arch_flags" CXXFLAGS="$arch_flags" CPPFLAGS="$arch_flags" LDFLAGS="$arch_flags" OBJCFLAGS="$arch_flags" OBJCXXFLAGS="$arch_flags" --enable-unicode --enable-debug --disable-shared
make;cd ..
# Build the samples and demos
cd build-carbon-debug/samples;make;cd ../..
cd build-carbon-debug/demos; make;cd ../..
# For Mac OS X 10.5 or older or with a 32-bit processor, build Carbon like this:
mkdir build-carbon-debug
cd build-carbon-debug
../configure --enable-unicode --enable-debug --disable-shared
make;cd ..
# Build the samples and demos
cd build-carbon-debug/samples;make;cd ../..
cd build-carbon-debug/demos; make;cd ../..
# For Mac OS X 10.5 or older or with a 32-bit processor, you can build the
# Cocoa libraries like this, but wxWidgets 2.9.x is really much better than 2.8.x
mkdir build-cocoa-debug
cd build-cocoa-debug
../configure --enable-unicode --enable-debug --disable-shared --with-cocoa
make;cd ..
# Build the samples and demos
cd build-cocoa-debug/samples; make;cd ../..
cd build-cocoa-debug/demos; make;cd ../..
After the compilation completes, use Finder to run the samples and demos
Go to build-carbon-debug/samples to experiment with the Carbon samples.
Go to build-carbon-debug/demos to experiment with the Carbon demos.
Go to build-cocoa-debug/samples to experiment with the Cocoa samples.
Go to biuld-cocoa-debug/demos to experiment with the Cocoa demos.
Double-click on the executables which have an icon showing three small squares.
The source code for the samples is in wxWidgets/samples
The source code for the demos is in wxWidgets/demos
More information about building on Mac OS X is available in the wxWiki.
Here are two useful links
More advanced topics are covered below.
Apple Developer Tools: command line
If you want to install the library into the system directories you'll need
to do this as root. The accepted way of running commands as root is to
use the built-in sudo mechanism. First of all, you must be using an
account marked as a "Computer Administrator". Then
6) sudo make install
Note that while using this method is okay for development, it is not
recommended that you require endusers to install wxWidgets into their
system directories in order to use your program. One way to avoid this
is to configure wxWidgets with --disable-shared. Another way to avoid
it is to make a framework for wxWidgets. Making frameworks is beyond
the scope of this document.
We recommend you configure a static library instead:
4) ../configure --disable-shared
or activate OpenGL:
4) ../configure --with-opengl
It is rarely desirable to install non-Apple software into system directories.
By configuring the library with --disable-shared and using the full path
to wx-config with the --in-place option you can avoid installing the library.
Apple Developer Tools: XCode
You can use the project in src/wxWindows.xcodeproj to build wxWidgets,
and there is a sample project supplied with the minimal sample.
Creating universal binaries
The Xcode projects for the wxWidgets library and minimal project are set up
to create universal binaries.
If using the Apple command line tools, pass --enable-universal_binary when
configuring wxWidgets. If you use wx-config --libs to link your application,
he necessary linker flags will be added. When compiling your own files,
you need to add -arch ppc -arch i386 to your CFLAGS.
As an alternative to using --enable-universal_binary, you can build for
each architecture separately and then use the lipo tool to glue the
binaries together. Assuming building on a PPC system:
1. First build in the usual way to get the PPC library.
2. Then, build for Intel, in a different folder. This time use:
export CFLAGS="-g -isysroot /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.4u.sdk -arch i386"
export LDFLAGS="-syslibroot,/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.4u.sdk"
./configure --disable-dependency-tracking --enable-static=yes --enable-shared=no \
--target=i386-apple-darwin8 --host=powerpc-apple-darwin8 --build=i386-apple-darwin8
You will need to reverse the powerpc and i386 parameters everywhere to build PPC on an Intel
3. Use lipo to glue the binaries together.
See also:
Building with CodeWarrior
(Note that using the Apple tools is recommended.)
Installing latest headers (and Carbon Support)
Patching headers: CodeWarrior 8.x
If you run into trouble with WCHAR_MIN and WCHAR_MAX the for
MacOS X Support:Headers:(wchar_t Support fix):machine:ansi.h,
apply the patch ansi.diff.
You may also need to comment out the _T definition in
ctype.h if you get multiple definition errors.
in order to build wxMac with CodeWarrior, you must copy or alias the file
include/wx/mac/setup0.h to include/wx/setup.h.
this step is not needed when using the Apple Developer Tools under Mac OS X
since the setup.h file is automatically generated during the configuration.
In order to build opengl support with CodeWarrior, you must install the opengl
libraries and headers from
If you want OpenGL support with CodeWarrior, set wxUSE_OPENGL to 1 in
If you don't want OpenGl support, set wxUSE_OPENGL to 0 (the
default) and remove the file OpenGLLibraryStub from the project
before compilation.
If you want OpenGL support with the Apple Developer Tools under Mac OS X, add
--with-opengl to the arguments of configure when configuring wxMac.
Project Files
The project files are stored as xml text files and converted to binary
CodeWarrior projects in the distribution (see AppleScript Files below):
- *M8.xml -> *M8.mcp for CodeWarrior 8 and above.
AppleScript Files
Several AppleScript files are provided in the docs:mac directory:
- M8xml2mcp.applescript to convert xml files to CodeWarrior 8 projects
- M8mcp2xml.applescript to convert CodeWarrior 8 projects to xml files
- SetXMLCreator.applescript to set correct creator type (see below)
To run the XML to MCP conversion scripts:
Double click on e.g. docs/mac/M8xml2mcp.applescript, then "run"
the applescript and when asked for a folder pick src/. Then it
takes a while to scan all dirs for the xml files and convert
them to mcps. If some conversions fail it means an mcp already
exists (back them up prior to running the script).
To set the correct creator type for importing into CodeWarrior,
you may need to run SetXMLCreator.applescript.
Problems with .xpm files
if you have downloaded all the files and get errors like :
Error : the file 'wx/generic/tip.xpm' cannot be opened
tipdlg.cpp line 201 #include "wx/generic/tip.xpm"
then your cvs has changed the type of the .xpm files to something other than
text, in order to fix this either change the type by using a resource editor
or drag the files from /include/wx/generic/..xpm on the SetTypeFromExtension
application that is included in this folder. This small applet itself queries
the Internet Config, so you will have to associate the "xpm" extension with
CodeWarrior before making use of this applet.
Missing PLStringFuncsLib
You will have to build All Targets for MacOS Support:Libraries:Sources:PLStringFuncs:Glue:PLStringFuncsGlue.mcp