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How to compile openFrameworks from github

Follow these instructions only if you want to submit a pull request or if you want to always use the most recent version of openFrameworks. In other cases you will not need to clone the entire openFrameworks repository.

If you are a developer, or if you want to submit a pull request, read this first

Clone the master branch

Let's start by cloning the last master branch of openFrameworks and its submodules.

git clone --recursive

Before continuing make sure your new openFrameworks path has no spaces. Many of the shell scripts below will fail on paths that include spaces.

Download dependencies

As the external dependencies are not found in the repository, you need to download them. To make things simpler, use the bash script called which can be found in the scripts folder. In this folder, there are several subfolders, one for each platform. Assuming you are, for example, using OSX, you need to run /bin/bash scripts/osx/

Get the Project Generator

Now that you have all the required files, you need to compile them and set up all the projects contained in the examples folder. The easiest way to do this is by using the Project Generator to compile all the examples. The Project Generator app facilitates creating new openFrameworks projects and adding or removing addons to existing projects. As it is a separate project with a well defined scope, the openFrameworks developers decided to put it into its own repository. You can get the project generator in two different ways:

  • Initialize and update all the git submodules (including the Project Generator) by first running git submodule init and then git submodule update.
  • Or, easier, download an already packaged openFrameworks installation from the download page, and copy the projectGenerator folder into your openFrameworks installation.

As the first option can lead to unexpected results, we suggest you use the second approach.

Compile all the examples

Now that you have the Project Generator, you are ready to compile all the examples:

Option 1 - With the Project Generator app

  • Start the Project Generator application by double clicking on it.
  • Hit the cog wheel on the right side of the Project Generator window and select advanced options.
  • Select the update multiple tab, enter the path to the examples folder inside the current OpenFrameworks repo folder.
  • Make sure to select your platform in the platforms field below.
  • Click on update multiple and wait. This operation can take a while depending on your hardware.

Once the success message appears you are done.

Option 2 - With the command line Project Generator

  • from the OF root directory, run projectGenerator -r -o"." examples

How to update openFrameworks from github

It's likely that at some point you will want to update your local openFrameworks to include new changes available in github. To update openFrameworks, we first need to figure out if you have several remotes already configured. Run

git remote -v

And study the output. It may look something like this:

origin (fetch)
origin (push)
upstream (fetch)
upstream (push)

This means that there are two remotes:

  • the first two lines point at your own fork in github
  • the next two lines point at the official openFrameworks repository

It is possible that you only have one or the other. If you are missing the official remote you can add it like this:

git remote add upstream

Note that upstream is a name you choose, and it's how you will refer to the official openframeworks repository. Use that same name in the following command to update your local copy of openFrameworks:

git pull upstream master

Update the submodules

The openFrameworks git repository has submodules (so far the Project Generator). The submodules rarely change, but if they did, you can update them too. If you never downloaded the submodules, do it now:

git submodule update --init --recursive

If you did already download them, this is how you update them:

git submodule update --recursive

Try if everything worked

Once all changes are downloaded try to compile a program. It if fails it is possible that the dependecies are out of date. In that case please repeat the step Download dependencies found above.

Finally, if your setup depends on some of the scripts from the scripts folder, you may need to re-run them. For instance, if you use Qt Creator and have trouble creating new OF projects you may want to run scripts/qtcreator/ again.

Note: master vs patch-release branches

After an openFrameworks release, bug fixes will be eventually added to the patch-release branch while new features will land in the master branch instead.

If you need the recent bug fixes, run git branch to see if patch-release is already in your system.

A. If it's not, get that branch:

$ git fetch origin patch-release
$ git checkout -b patch-release

B. If it's already there, switch to it:

$ git checkout patch-release

Finally run

$ git pull

to download those bug fixes to your local patch-release branch, then try compile your program and see if the bug that was troubling you is now gone.

How to submit your pull requests

If you plan to submit pull requests to openFrameworks, the procedure is almost identical to what we described above, with one little difference: you should clone your own fork of openFrameworks:

A. Fork and clone openFrameworks

git clone --recursive

Replace YOUR-USER-NAME with your GitHub user name in the previous command.

  • Add the external dependencies and the project generator as explained in the top section.
  • Follow the Next steps below.

B. If you cloned openFrameworks without forking

If you followed the top section of this document and cloned openFrameworks from, downloaded the dependencies and compiled the examples and then decided you want to submit a pull request, you don't need to start from scratch. You only need to fork openFrameworks, and then point your local repository to your new fork:

  • Visit and click Fork to create your own copy of the project.
  • Edit the .git/config file inside your local openFrameworks folder and update the url line so it points to your own fork. Do this by substituting openframeworks/openFrameworks.git by YOUR-USER-NAME/openFrameworks.git (where YOUR-USER-NAME is your GitHub user name).

Next steps

This help page by GitHub explains the pull request process. Please read it before starting.

In the openFrameworks repository you can find instructions about how to contribute.