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Building cquery

Piping edited this page Jan 12, 2019 · 10 revisions

To get started building cquery, first install the required dependencies:

  • CMake 3.1 or higher
  • C++ Compiler with C++14 support:
    • Clang 3.6 or higher
    • GCC 5 or higher
    • MSVC 2017 or higher (included with VS2017 Build Tools)

After installing the required dependencies, open your terminal and run the following commands:

git clone --recursive
cd cquery
git submodule update --init
mkdir build && cd build
cmake --build .
cmake --build . --target install

Change the -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=<dir to your choice> to install the binary to a place you want.

This command generates project files for your system's default generator (Linux: make, Windows: MSBuild). CMake defaults to a Release build and links cquery against the libclang library which it downloads from


On Windows you have to explicitly tell CMake to target 64-bit architecture by adding the -DCMAKE_GENERATOR_PLATFORM=x64 option to the cmake invocation (cmake -DCMAKE_GENERATOR_PLATFORM=x64 ..). 32-bit builds are not supported.

After CMake configuration cquery can be built from the root of the source tree by executing the corresponding generator command (Linux: make, Windows: MSBuild.exe) or the generic CMake build command (cmake --build .).

Due to how MSBuild works you it is impossible to default to a release build when MSBuild is used as the CMake generator. Instead the config has to be specified to MSBuild when building the project (after the configure step). The command to build then becomes: cmake --build . --config release

Finally, install cquery by executing the install target (cmake --build . --target install). This step is not optional and cquery might not work completely or at all if it is executed from the build directory. By default CMake installs to a directory that requires admin privileges to install to but this can be avoided by explicitly specifying the install directory with CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX

When using MSBuild we have to add the release config when installing as well: cmake --build . --target install --config release

Cquery CMake Options

CMake options can be specified when running CMake to change its behaviour. Options are passed to CMake via the command line by prepending them with -D. For example: cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug .. configures cquery to be built in release mode.

  • -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=(Debug|Release)

CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE can be used to set the build type. There are a few possible options, but the most important ones are Debug and Release. Generally you want to pass -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release to CMake to get the best performance out of cquery. Debug is recommended when debugging cquery with a debugger. Since cquery defaults to a Release build it usually isn't necessary to define this option unless you're debugging an issue in cquery with a debugger.


Enable SYSTEM_CLANG if you want to link cquery against a system installation of Clang instead of downloading Clang during the configure process.

Using a system-installed Clang is NOT recommended. Using cquery with a modified or earlier release of Clang will lead to bugs and errors when using cquery.

  • -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH="custom_install_path"

When you want to use a system installed Clang but it is not installed into any default CMake search location (for example if you built LLVM from source) you can tell CMake where to search by adding search paths to CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH. CMake searches the paths in CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH for 'include' and 'lib' subdirectories containing the required Clang headers and libraries. For example, to use a system installation of Clang on Windows you can add the following option: -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH="C:/Program Files/LLVM".

If the 'include' and 'lib' directories reside in two different parent directories (possible when building LLVM from source) you will have to add both these directories to CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH separated by a ';' (-DCMAKE\_PREFIX\_PATH="<include-parent-dir>;<lib-parent-dir>").

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