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Due to the LLVM community's planes to add the Bazel build files in the project's monorepo [1], I see no intent for the project.

Bazel to the LLVM Compiler Infrastructure bridge

Bazel is an open-source build and test tool similar to Make, Maven, and Gradle. It uses a human-readable, high-level build language. Bazel supports projects in multiple languages and builds outputs for multiple platforms. For example, Tensorflow - end-to-end open-source platform for machine learning - uses Bazel as the build system.

LLVM is a collection of modular and reusable compiler and toolchain technologies. The LLVM Core libraries provide a modern source- and target-independent optimizer and code generator that makes it easy to invent a new programming language or port an existing compiler. Also LLVM provides its own native C/C++ compiler - Clang, debugger - LLDB, an implementation of the C++ Standard Library, and many other interesting things. The full list of LLVM's primary sub-projects is available on the official web-site.

bazel-llvm-bridge provides a bridge that let you use static libraries from a local installation or kindly downloaded archive of LLVM in your projects when Bazel is used as a building tool. Each library from LLVM/Clang (including the special 'headers' library that provides LLVM's and Clang's headers) is available as a @local_llvm//:llvm_<library_name> dependency (@local_llvm//:llvm_headers for the headers library), where @local_llvm is the name of the used llvm_configure repository rule while llvm_, clang_ and mlir_ are the default prefixes for LLVM, Clang and MLIR specific rules, all these parameters can be configured in your WORKSPACE. Notice that a library will bring also its dependencies exactly how the CMake build works.

Platform-provided libraries such as "ncurses", "tinfo", "pthreads", "Z3" will be detected automatically using the *.cmake files generated by CMake during the LLVM build process.

Notice: The minimum supported version of Bazel is 0.25.0.

How to leverage the bridge in your project

In order to use any LLVM libraries in your targets, add the following to your WORKSPACE file:

load("@bazel_tools//tools/build_defs/repo:http.bzl", "http_archive")

    name = "bazel_llvm_bridge",
    sha256 = "0e0971ec02d5e061c2c472d185e390597a4d7842e3e457cfcda2f04c1839c05e",
    strip_prefix = "bazel-llvm-bridge-release-11-05",
    url = "",

load("@bazel_llvm_bridge//llvm:llvm_configure.bzl", "llvm_configure")

    name = "local_llvm",
    llvm_prefix = "llvm_",
    clang_prefix = "clang_",
    libcxx_prefix = "libcxx_",
    mlir_prefix = "mlir_",
    add_headers_to_deps = False,

Where name is whatever you want, default values for llvm_prefix, clang_prefix, libcxx_prefix and mlir_prefix may be omitted. By default, the header libraries will be automatically included as dependency to the generated targets (the LLVM header library to LLVM's, Clang's and other project's targets, the Clang header library to Clang's targets, etc.) If you would like to manually put the header libraries to dependencies, set up the add_headers_to_deps attribute of the reporitory rule to False.

The LLVM libraries are fetched from a local installation so the LLVM_INSTALL_PREFIX environment variable must point to the local installation.

The library's version number is matched to the version of LLVM and can be found in the release/<version>-<build> tag or release/<version>.x branch. For example:

$ git clone
$ git checkout release/9.x
$ git log --oneline -1

shows you the latest commit in the release branch. The commit can be used as a value of the commit attribute of the git_repository rule to checkout the compatible version of bazel-llvm-bridge for the used version of LLVM:

    name = "bazel_llvm_bridge",
    commit = "<THE LATEST COMMIT HERE>",
    remote = "",

Now the desired libraries can be added as dependencies (the deps attribute) to targets for your libraries and binaries (through the @local_llvm repository):

    name = 'llvm_bb_counter',
    srcs = [
    deps = [
    ] + if_cxx_linked([
    visibility = ["//visibility:private"],

How to build the project

To build your targets, do the following:

  1. Build from sources or download from an archive with an LLVM package for your platform. The package must be unarchived into a local directory.

  2. Set up the LLVM_INSTALL_PREFIX environment variable. The variable must contain a path to a local LLVM installation:

    $ export LLVM_INSTALL_PREFIX=~/dev/llvm_master

    or, on Windows:

    $ set LLVM_INSTALL_PREFIX=C:\Dev\llvm_master
  3. Run the build:

    $ bazel build //:llvm_bb_counter

    alternatively, the environment variables may be passed directly to the build command:

    $ bazel build --action_env LLVM_INSTALL_PREFIX=C:\Dev\llvm_master //:clang_list_methods

How to deal with targets

The bazel-llvm-bridge supports all out-of-the-box provided LLVM targets:

  • AArch64
  • ARM
  • AVR
  • BPF
  • Hexagon
  • Lanai
  • Mips
  • MSP430
  • PowerPC
  • Sparc
  • SystemZ
  • WebAssembly
  • X86
  • XCore

To link against a target, the user should to check whether the target is supported by the used local installation of LLVM. A set of if_has_<TARGET> functions are provided by @local_llvm//:llvm_config.bzl generated skylark file. Every function returns its first argument when the target <TARGET> is supported, otherwise it returns the second argument. The function is usable through the following way (see the //:llvm_print_supported_targets target in the examples/BUILD file):


    name = "llvm_print_supported_targets",
    srcs = [
    copts = llvm_copts()
        + if_has_aarch64(["-DLLVM_SUPPORTS_TARGET_AARCH64"])
        + if_has_x86(["-DLLVM_SUPPORTS_TARGET_X86"]),
    deps = if_has_aarch64([
    ]) +
       + if_has_x86([

How to deal with tablegen

LLVM, Clang and MLIR are very intensive users of the tablegen tool. For example, MLIR's Table-driven Declarative Rewrite Rule is based upon tablegen. Fortunately, bazel-llvm-bridge provides a rule to run the tablegen tools for LLVM as well as for MLIR (llvm-tblgen and mlir-tblgen respectively). The rules are defined in the llvm_tablegen.bzl and mlir_tablegen.bzl files.

To run the tablegen tool, the user should define one or more targets based on the <prefix>_tablegen rule in a BUILD file. The targets can be used by any other cc_ ones as dependencies and also can depend on any cc_library (the tablegen tool will use includes and headers provided by such libraries). For example:

load("@local_llvm//:llvm_tablegen.bzl", "tablegen")

    name = 'llvm_print_physical_registers',
    deps = [
    visibility = ["//visibility:private"],

    name = "tablegen_registers",
    srcs = [
    src = "llvm/target/",
    out = "target/",
    opts = ["-gen-register-info"],
    deps = ["@local_llvm//:headers"],
    visibility = ["//visibility:private"],

Notice: a target should be defined for every tablegen invocation.

The <prefix>_tablegen rule has the following attributes:

  • name - the target's name.
  • src - the tablegen (.td) file to be the input of the tablegen tool.
  • srcs - the tablegen and other files used by the 'src' file. This attribute may be required for sandboxing.
  • out - the generated file's name. Can be prefixed with any number of folders (for example, toy/
  • opts - command line options for the tablegen tool.
  • deps - the list of libraries that provide includes for the .td file.
  • includes - the list of include dirs to be added to the command line.

How to deal with Clang/LLVM/MLIR shared libraries

Important note for users of the libclang, libclang-cpp and LLVM-C shared libraries. There are three rules to bring these libraries from the LLVM installation into the bazel-bin: clang_copy_libclang, clang_copy_libclang_cpp and llvm_copy_c. Just add the targets into the data attribute of a rule and they will appear in a bazel-bin/external/<name of llvm_configure repository rule> directory. Then the libraries can be copied into the bazel-bin (see genrules in the examples/BUILD file) and be used for running your applications.

Linking against the libc++ standard library

Archives hosted on the official website are usually built against the libc++ standard library. A configuration has been added to the examples/.bazelrc file to make Bazel link the targets against libc++. To enable the configuration, an examples/libcxx.bazelrc file must be generated, the file contains a set of BAZEL_... repository environment variable to let Bazel know where to look for libc++'s headers and the shared library file.

To generate the file, a python script,, was developed and placed into the examples directory. The script accepts two parameters: -I<path to libc++ headers such as iostream or string> and -L<path to libc++ shared library,>. For example:

$ python3 -L/home/user/llvm/lib -I/home/user/llvm/include/c++/v1

Once a libcxx.bazelrc file has been generated, a build can be started with --config=libc++ option:

$ bazel build --repo_env LLVM_INSTALL_PREFIX=/home/user/llvm --config=libc++ //:clang_list_methods


Bazel repository_rule for using libraries from a local LLVM installation in your BUILD files. Supports LLVM, Clang and MLIR.




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