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Package Manager Custom Target Layouts

Introduction

This proposal enhances the Package.swift manifest APIs to support custom target layouts, and removes a convention which allowed omission of targets from the manifest.

Motivation

The Package Manager uses a convention system to infer targets structure from disk layout. This works well for most packages, which can easily adopt the conventions, and frees users from needing to update their Package.swift file every time they add or remove sources. Adopting the conventions is more difficult for some packages, however – especially existing C libraries or large projects, which would be difficult to reorganize. We intend to give users a way to make such projects into packages without needing to conform to our conventions.

The current convention rules make it very convenient to add new targets and source files by inferring them automatically from disk, but they also can be confusing, overly-implicit, and difficult to debug; for example, if the user does not follow the conventions correctly which determine their targets, they may wind up with targets they don't expect, or not having targets they did expect, and either way their clients can't easily see which targets are available by looking at the Package.swift manifest. We want to retain convenience where it really matters, such as easy addition of new source files, but require explicit declarations where being explicit adds significant value. We also want to make sure that the implicit conventions we keep are straightforward and easy to remember.

Proposed solution

  • We propose to stop inferring targets from disk. They must be explicitly declared in the manifest file. The inference was not very useful, as targets eventually need to be declared in order to use common features such as product and target dependencies, or build settings (which are planned for Swift 4). Explicit target declarations make a package easier to understand by clients, and allow us to provide good diagnostics when the layout on disk does not match the declarations.

  • We propose to remove the requirement that name of a test target must have suffix "Tests". Instead, test targets will be explicitly declared as such in the manifest file.

  • We propose a list of pre-defined search paths for declared targets.

    When a target does not declare an explicit path, these directories will be used to search for the target. The name of the directory must match the name of the target. The search will be done in order and will be case-sensitive.

    Regular targets: package root, Sources, Source, src, srcs. Test targets: Tests, package root, Sources, Source, src, srcs.

    It is an error if a target is found in more than one of these paths. In such cases, the path should be explicitly declared using the path property proposed below.

  • We propose to add a factory method testTarget to the Target class, to define test targets.

    .testTarget(name: "FooTests", dependencies: ["Foo"])
  • We propose to add three properties to the Target class: path, sources and exclude.

    • path: This property defines the path to the top-level directory containing the target's sources, relative to the package root. It is not legal for this path to escape the package root, i.e., values like "../Foo", "/Foo" are invalid. The default value of this property will be nil, which means the target will be searched for in the pre-defined paths. The empty string ("") or dot (".") implies that the target's sources are directly inside the package root.

    • sources: This property defines the source files to be included in the target. The default value of this property will be nil, which means all valid source files found in the target's path will be included. This can contain directories and individual source files. Directories will be searched recursively for valid source files. Paths specified are relative to the target path.

      Each source file will be represented by String type. In future, we will consider upgrading this to its own type to allow per-file build settings. The new type would conform to CustomStringConvertible, so existing declarations would continue to work (except where the strings were constructed programatically).

    • exclude: This property can be used to exclude certain files and directories from being picked up as sources. Exclude paths are relative to the target path. This property has more precedence than sources property.

      Note: We plan to support globbing in future, but to keep this proposal short we are not proposing it right now.

  • It is an error if the paths of two targets overlap (unless resolved with exclude).

    // This is an error:
    .target(name: "Bar", path: "Sources/Bar"),
    .testTarget(name: "BarTests", dependencies: ["Bar"], path: "Sources/Bar/Tests"),
    
    // This works:
    .target(name: "Bar", path: "Sources/Bar", exclude: ["Tests"]),
    .testTarget(name: "BarTests", dependencies: ["Bar"], path: "Sources/Bar/Tests"),
  • For C family library targets, we propose to add a publicHeadersPath property.

    This property defines the path to the directory containing public headers of a C target. This path is relative to the target path and default value of this property is include. This mechanism should be further improved in the future, but there are several behaviors, such as modulemap generation, which currently depend of having only one public headers directory. We will address those issues separately in a future proposal.

    All existing rules related to custom and automatic modulemap remain intact.

  • Remove exclude from Package class.

    This property is no longer required because of the above proposed per-target exclude property.

  • The templates provided by the swift package init subcommand will be updated according to the above rules, so that users do not need to manually add their first target to the manifest.

Examples:

  • Dummy manifest containing all Swift code.
let package = Package(
    name: "SwiftyJSON",
    targets: [
        .target(
            name: "Utility",
            path: "Sources/BasicCode"
        ),

        .target(
            name: "SwiftyJSON",
            dependencies: ["Utility"],
            path: "SJ",
            sources: ["SwiftyJSON.swift"]
        ),

        .testTarget(
            name: "AllTests",
            dependencies: ["Utility", "SwiftyJSON"],
            path: "Tests",
            exclude: ["Fixtures"]
        ),
    ]
)
  • LibYAML
let packages = Package(
    name: "LibYAML",
    targets: [
        .target(
            name: "libyaml",
            sources: ["src"]
        )
    ]
)
  • Node.js http-parser
let packages = Package(
    name: "http-parser",
    targets: [
        .target(
            name: "http-parser",
            publicHeaders: ".",
            sources: ["http_parser.c"]
        )
    ]
)
  • swift-build-tool
let packages = Package(
    name: "llbuild",
    targets: [
        .target(
            name: "swift-build-tool",
            path: ".",
            sources: [
                "lib/Basic",
                "lib/llvm/Support",
                "lib/Core",
                "lib/BuildSystem",
                "products/swift-build-tool/swift-build-tool.cpp",
            ]
        )
    ]
)

Impact on existing code

These enhancements will be added to the version 4 manifest API, which will release with Swift 4. There will be no impact on packages using the version 3 manifest API. When packages update their minimum tools version to 4.0, they will need to update the manifest according to the changes in this proposal.

There are two flat layouts supported in Swift 3:

  1. Source files directly in the package root.
  2. Source files directly inside a Sources/ directory.

If packages want to continue using either of these flat layouts, they will need to explicitly set a target path to the flat directory; otherwise, a directory named after the target is expected. For example, if a package Foo has following layout:

Package.swift
Sources/main.swift
Sources/foo.swift

The updated manifest will look like this:

// swift-tools-version:4.0
import PackageDescription

let package = Package(
    name: "Foo",
    targets: [
        .target(name: "Foo", path: "Sources"),
    ]
)

Alternatives considered

We considered making a more minimal change which disabled the flat layouts by default, and provided a top-level property to allow opting back in to them. This would allow us to discourage these layouts – which we would like to do before the package ecosystem grows – without needing to add a fully customizable API. However, we think the fuller API we've proposed here is fairly straightforward and provides the ability to make a number of existing projects into packages, so we think this is worth doing at this time.