Adding Custom File Extension Support

IXM supports injecting support for additional file formats when added to a target during a call to target_sources. This allows additional languages to possibly generate additional files before they are added to the target. One example of this would be protobuf or cython. The way this is supported is by requiring a user to define a command name target_sources_<ext>. Thus, adding support for protobuf files (which have extension .proto) requires that a command named target_sources_proto exist.

Generating Additional Source

As an example, we’ll show how IXM supports Cython for generating sources. Cython is a python-like language that can ingest a cython source file, and then generate python bindings for the source as necessary. IXM supports it as long as Python and Cython are available for use.

To add support for the sources, we do the following:

function (target_sources_pyx target visibility)
  set(interface PUBLIC;INTERFACE)
  set(private PRIVATE;PUBLIC)

  if (visibility IN_LIST interface)
    set_property(TARGET ${target} APPEND
  if (visibility IN_LIST private)
    set_property(TARGET ${target} APPEND PROPERTY CYTHON_SOURCES "${ARGN}")
endfunction ()

You’ll notice that this does not actually generate the Cython files themselves. To do this, we simply have to setup an add_custom_command call. We can do this explicitly or have it be called by another command. Regardless, the actual setup is as simple as doing:

# ${name} is the name of the target we were working with
set(output-file ${CMAKE_CURRENT_BINARY_DIR}/cython/${name}.cxx)
  COMMAND Python::Cython
    --output-file ${output-file}
  COMMENT "Generating ${output-file} for '${name}'"
  OUTPUT "${output-file}"
target_sources(${name} PRIVATE ${output-file})

As you can see, the actual generation of the code is quite simple. Additionally, we stick to the proper modern CMake approach by relying on targets and their properties for keeping track of state.