ClangSharp provides Clang bindings written in C#. It is self-hosted and auto-generates itself by parsing the Clang C header files using ClangSharpPInvokeGenerator.
A nuget package for the project is provided here: https://www.nuget.org/packages/clangsharp. A .NET tool for the P/Invoke generator project is provided here: https://www.nuget.org/packages/ClangSharpPInvokeGenerator
NOTE: If you are running as a dotnet tool, you may need to manually copy the appropriate DLLs from NuGet due to limitations in the dotnet tool support.
A convenience package which provides the native libClang library for several platforms is provided here: https://www.nuget.org/packages/libclang
A helper package which exposes many Clang APIs missing from libClang is provided here: https://www.nuget.org/packages/libClangSharp
NOTE: libclang and libClangSharp are meta-packages which point to the platform-specific runtime packages (e.g.; see others owned by tannergooding). Several manual steps may be required to use them, see discussion in #46 and #118.
Nightly packages are available via the NuGet Feed URL: https://pkgs.clangsharp.dev/index.json
Source browsing is available via: https://source.clangsharp.dev/
Table of Contents
- Code of Conduct
- Building Managed
- Building Native
- Generating Bindings
- Using locally built versions
Code of Conduct
ClangSharp and everyone contributing (this includes issues, pull requests, the wiki, etc) must abide by the .NET Foundation Code of Conduct: https://dotnetfoundation.org/about/code-of-conduct.
Instances of abusive, harassing, or otherwise unacceptable behavior may be reported by contacting the project team at email@example.com.
Copyright (c) .NET Foundation and Contributors. All Rights Reserved. Licensed under the MIT License (MIT). See LICENSE.md in the repository root for more information.
- Auto-generated using Clang C headers files, and supports all functionality exposed by them ~ which means you can build tooling around C/C++
- Exposes the raw unsafe API for performance
- Exposes a slightly higher abstraction that is type safe (CXIndex and CXTranslationUnit are different types, despite being pointers internally)
- Exposes an again slightly higher abstraction that tries to mirror the Clang C++ Type Hierarchy where possible
- Nearly identical to the Clang C APIs, e.g.
clang_getDiagnosticSpellingin C, vs.
clang.getDiagnosticSpelling(notice the . in the C# API)
ClangSharp requires the .NET 8 SDK and can be built simply with
dotnet build -c Release.
You can reproduce what the CI environment does by running
./scripts/cibuild.cmd on Windows or
./scripts.cibuild.sh on Unix.
This will download the required .NET SDK locally and use that to build the repo; it will also run through all available actions in the appropriate order.
There are also several build scripts in the repository root. On Windows these scripts end with
.cmd and expect arguments with a
- prefix. On Unix these scripts end with
.sh and expect arguments with a
By default, each script performs only the action specified in its name (i.e.
restore only restores,
build only builds,
test only tests, and
pack only packs). You can specify additional actions to be run by passing that name as an argument to the script (e.g.
build.cmd -restore will perform a package restore and build;
test.cmd -pack will run tests and package artifacts).
Certain actions are dependent on a previous action having been run at least once.
build depends on
test depends on
pack depends on
build. This means the recommended first time action is
You can see any additional options that are available by passing
-help on Windows or
--help on Unix to the available build scripts.
ClangSharp provides a helper library,
libClangSharp, that exposes additional functionality that is not available in
Building this requires CMake 3.13 or later as well as a version of MSVC or Clang that supports C++ 17.
To successfully build
libClangSharp you must first build Clang (https://clang.llvm.org/get_started.html).
The process done on Windows is roughly:
git clone --single-branch --branch llvmorg-17.0.4 https://github.com/llvm/llvm-project cd llvm-project mkdir artifacts/bin cd artifacts/bin cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=../install -DLLVM_ENABLE_PROJECTS=clang -G "Visual Studio 17 2022" -A x64 -Thost=x64 ../../llvm
You can then open
LLVM.sln in Visual Studio, change the configuration to
Release and build the
Afterwards, you can then build
libClangSharp where the process followed is roughly:
git clone https://github.com/dotnet/clangsharp cd clangsharp mkdir artifacts/bin/native cd artifacts/bin/native cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=../install -DPATH_TO_LLVM=../../../../llvm-project/artifacts/install -G "Visual Studio 17 2022" -A x64 -Thost=x64 ../../..
You can then open
libClangSharp.sln in Visual Studio, change the configuration to
Release and build the
The process done on Linux is roughly:
git clone --single-branch --branch llvmorg-17.0.4 https://github.com/llvm/llvm-project cd llvm-project mkdir -p artifacts/bin cd artifacts/bin cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=../install -DLLVM_ENABLE_PROJECTS=clang ../../llvm make install
If you want your Linux build to be portable, you may also consider specifying the following options:
If you would prefer to use
Ninja, then make sure to pass in
-G Ninja and then invoke
ninja rather than
Afterwards, you can then build
libClangSharp where the process followed is roughly:
git clone https://github.com/dotnet/clangsharp cd clangsharp mkdir -p artifacts/bin/native cd artifacts/bin/native cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=../install -DPATH_TO_LLVM=../../../../llvm-project/artifacts/install make install
This program will take a given set of C or C++ header files and generate C# bindings from them. It is still a work-in-progress and not every declaration can have bindings generated today (contributions are welcome).
The simplest and recommended setup is to install the generator as a .NET tool and then use response files:
dotnet tool install --global ClangSharpPInvokeGenerator --version 17.0.0 ClangSharpPInvokeGenerator @generate.rsp
A response file allows you to specify and checkin the command line arguments in a text file, with one argument per line. For example: https://github.com/dotnet/ClangSharp/blob/main/sources/ClangSharpPInvokeGenerator/Properties/GenerateClang.rsp
At a minimum, the command line expects one or more input files (
-f), an output namespace (
-n), and an output location (
-o). A typical response file may also specify explicit files to traverse, configuration options, name remappings, and other fixups.
The full set of available switches:
ClangSharpPInvokeGenerator ClangSharp P/Invoke Binding Generator Usage: ClangSharpPInvokeGenerator [options] Options: -a, --additional <additional> An argument to pass to Clang when parsing the input files.  -c, --config <config> A configuration option that controls how the bindings are generated. Specify 'help' to see the available options.  -D, --define-macro <define-macro> Define <macro> to <value> (or 1 if <value> omitted).  -e, --exclude <exclude> A declaration name to exclude from binding generation.  -f, --file <file> A file to parse and generate bindings for.  -F, --file-directory <file-directory> The base path for files to parse.  -h, --headerFile <headerFile> A file which contains the header to prefix every generated file with.  -i, --include <include> A declaration name to include in binding generation.  -I, --include-directory <include-directory> Add directory to include search path.  -x, --language <language> Treat subsequent input files as having type <language>. [default: c++] -l, --libraryPath <libraryPath> The string to use in the DllImport attribute used when generating bindings.  -m, --methodClassName <methodClassName> The name of the static class that will contain the generated method bindings. [default: Methods] -n, --namespace <namespace> The namespace in which to place the generated bindings.  --nativeTypeNamesToStrip The contents to strip from the generated NativeTypeName attributes. -om, --output-mode <CSharp|Xml> The mode describing how the information collected from the headers are presented in the resultant bindings. [default: CSharp] -o, --output <output> The output location to write the generated bindings to.  -p, --prefixStrip <prefixStrip> The prefix to strip from the generated method bindings.  -r, --remap <remap> A declaration name to be remapped to another name during binding generation.  -std, --std <std> Language standard to compile for.  -to, --test-output <test-output> The output location to write the generated tests to.  -t, --traverse <traverse> A file name included either directly or indirectly by -f that should be traversed during binding generation.  -v, --version <version> Prints the current version information for the tool and its native dependencies. -was, --with-access-specifier <with-access-specifier> An access specifier to be used with the given qualified or remapped declaration name during binding generation. Supports wildcards.  -wa, --with-attribute <with-attribute> An attribute to be added to the given remapped declaration name during binding generation. Supports wildcards.  -wcc, --with-callconv <with-callconv> A calling convention to be used for the given declaration during binding generation. Supports wildcards.  -wc, --with-class <with-class> A class to be used for the given remapped constant or function declaration name during binding generation. Supports wildcards.  -wg, --with-guid <with-guid> A GUID to be used for the given declaration during binding generation. Supports wildcards.  -wlb, --with-librarypath <with-librarypath> A library path to be used for the given declaration during binding generation. Supports wildcards.  -wmi, --with-manual-import <with-manual-import> A remapped function name to be treated as a manual import during binding generation. Supports wildcards.  -wn, --with-namespace <with-namespace> A namespace to be used for the given remapped declaration name during binding generation. Supports wildcards.  -wp, --with-packing <with-packing> Overrides the StructLayoutAttribute.Pack property for the given type. Supports wildcards.  -wsle, --with-setlasterror <with-setlasterror> Add the SetLastError=true modifier to a given DllImport or UnmanagedFunctionPointer. Supports wildcards.  -wsgct, --with-suppressgctransition <with-suppressgctransition> Add the SuppressGCTransition calling convention to a given DllImport or UnmanagedFunctionPointer. Supports wildcards.  -wts, --with-transparent-struct <with-transparent-struct> A remapped type name to be treated as a transparent wrapper during binding generation. Supports wildcards.  -wt, --with-type <with-type> A type to be used for the given enum declaration during binding generation. Supports wildcards.  -wu, --with-using <with-using> A using directive to be included for the given remapped declaration name during binding generation. Supports wildcards.  -?, -h, --help Show help and usage information Wildcards: You can use * as catch-all rule for remapping procedures. For example if you want make all of your generated code internal you can use --with-access-specifier *=Internal.
The available configuration options (visible with
-c help) are:
--config, -c A configuration option that controls how the bindings are generated. Specify 'help' to see the available options. Options: ?, h, help Show help and usage information for -c, --config # Codegen Options compatible-codegen Bindings should be generated with .NET Standard 2.0 compatibility. Setting this disables preview code generation. default-codegen Bindings should be generated for the previous LTS version of .NET/C#. This is currently .NET 6/C# 10. latest-codegen Bindings should be generated for the current LTS/STS version of .NET/C#. This is currently .NET 8/C# 12. preview-codegen Bindings should be generated for the preview version of .NET/C#. This is currently .NET 9/C# 13. # File Options single-file Bindings should be generated to a single output file. This is the default. multi-file Bindings should be generated so there is approximately one type per file. # Type Options unix-types Bindings should be generated assuming Unix defaults. This is the default on Unix platforms. windows-types Bindings should be generated assuming Windows defaults. This is the default on Windows platforms. # Exclusion Options exclude-anonymous-field-helpers The helper ref properties generated for fields in nested anonymous structs and unions should not be generated. exclude-com-proxies Types recognized as COM proxies should not have bindings generated. Thes are currently function declarations ending with _UserFree, _UserMarshal, _UserSize, _UserUnmarshal, _Proxy, or _Stub. exclude-default-remappings Default remappings for well known types should not be added. This currently includes intptr_t, ptrdiff_t, size_t, and uintptr_t exclude-empty-records Bindings for records that contain no members should not be generated. These are commonly encountered for opaque handle like types such as HWND. exclude-enum-operators Bindings for operators over enum types should not be generated. These are largely unnecessary in C# as the operators are available by default. exclude-fnptr-codegen Generated bindings for latest or preview codegen should not use function pointers. exclude-funcs-with-body Bindings for functions with bodies should not be generated. exclude-using-statics-for-enums Enum usages should be fully qualified and should not include a corresponding 'using static EnumName;' # Vtbl Options explicit-vtbls VTBLs should have an explicit type generated with named fields per entry. implicit-vtbls VTBLs should be implicit to reduce metadata bloat. This is the current default trimmable-vtbls VTBLs should be defined but not used in helper methods to reduce metadata bloat when trimming. # Test Options generate-tests-nunit Basic tests validating size, blittability, and associated metadata should be generated for NUnit. generate-tests-xunit Basic tests validating size, blittability, and associated metadata should be generated for XUnit. # Generation Options generate-aggressive-inlining [MethodImpl(MethodImplOptions.AggressiveInlining)] should be added to generated helper functions. generate-callconv-member-function Instance function pointers should use [CallConvMemberFunction] where applicable. generate-cpp-attributes [CppAttributeList("")] should be generated to document the encountered C++ attributes. generate-disable-runtime-marshalling [assembly: DisableRuntimeMarshalling] should be generated. generate-doc-includes <include> xml documentation tags should be generated for declarations. generate-file-scoped-namespaces Namespaces should be scoped to the file to reduce nesting. generate-guid-member Types with an associated GUID should have a corresponding member generated. generate-helper-types Code files should be generated for various helper attributes and declared transparent structs. generate-macro-bindings Bindings for macro-definitions should be generated. This currently only works with value like macros and not function-like ones. generate-marker-interfaces Bindings for marker interfaces representing native inheritance hierarchies should be generated. generate-native-bitfield-attribute [NativeBitfield(\"\", offset: #, length: #)] attribute should be generated to document the encountered bitfield layout. generate-native-inheritance-attribute [NativeInheritance("")] attribute should be generated to document the encountered C++ base type. generate-setslastsystemerror-attribute [SetsLastSystemError] attribute should be generated rather than using SetLastError = true. generate-template-bindings Bindings for template-definitions should be generated. This is currently experimental. generate-unmanaged-constants Unmanaged constants should be generated using static ref readonly properties. This is currently experimental. generate-vtbl-index-attribute [VtblIndex(#)] attribute should be generated to document the underlying VTBL index for a helper method. # Logging Options log-exclusions A list of excluded declaration types should be generated. This will also log if the exclusion was due to an exact or partial match. log-potential-typedef-remappings A list of potential typedef remappings should be generated. This can help identify missing remappings. log-visited-files A list of the visited files should be generated. This can help identify traversal issues.
Using locally built versions
After you build local version, you can use executable from build location.
If you are on Linux
The P/Invoke Generator is currently used by several projects:
- dotnet/clangsharp - ClangSharp is self-hosting
- dotnet/llvmsharp - Bindings over libLLVM
- microsoft/win32metadata - Bindings over the Windows SDK meant for downstream use by projects such as CsWin32, RsWin32, etc
- terrafx/terrafx.interop.windows - Bindings for D3D10, D3D11, D3D12, D2D1, DWrite, WIC, User32, and more in a single NuGet
- terrafx/terrafx.interop.vulkan - Bindings for Vulkan
- terrafx/terrafx.interop.xlib - Bindings for Xlib