conan.tools.microsoft

These tools allow a native integration for Microsoft Visual Studio, natively (without using CMake, but using directly Visual Studio solutions, projects and property files).

Warning

These tools are experimental and subject to breaking changes.

MSBuildDeps

The MSBuildDeps is the dependency information generator for Microsoft MSBuild build system. It will generate multiple xxxx.props properties files one per dependency of a package, to be used by consumers using MSBuild or Visual Studio, just adding the generated properties files to the solution and projects.

Important

This class will require very soon to define both the “host” and “build” profiles. It is very recommended to start defining both profiles immediately to avoid future breaking. Furthermore, some features, like trying to cross-compile might not work at all if the “build” profile is not provided.

It is important to highlight that this one is a dependencies generator and it is focused on the dependencies of a conanfile, not the current build.

The MSBuildDeps generator can be used by name in conanfiles:

conanfile.py
class Pkg(ConanFile):
    generators = "MSBuildDeps"
conanfile.txt
[generators]
MSBuildDeps

And it can also be fully instantiated in the conanfile generate() method:

conanfile.py
from conans import ConanFile
from conan.tools.microsoft import MSBuildDeps

class Pkg(ConanFile):
    settings = "os", "compiler", "arch", "build_type"
    requires = "zlib/1.2.11", "bzip2/1.0.8"

    def generate(self):
        ms = MSBuildDeps(self)
        ms.generate()

When the MSBuildDeps generator is used, every invocation of conan install will generate properties files, one per dependency and per configuration. For the last conanfile.py above:

$ conan install conanfile.py # default is Release
$ conan install conanfile.py -s build_type=Debug

This is a multi-configuration generator, and will generate different files for the different Debug/Release configuration. The above commands the following files will be generated:

  • conan_zlib_vars_release_x64.props: Conanzlibxxxx variables definitions for the zlib dependency, Release config, like ConanzlibIncludeDirs, ConanzlibLibs, etc.
  • conan_zlib_vars_debug_x64.props: Same Conanzlib``variables for ``zlib dependency, Debug config
  • conan_zlib_release_x64.props: Activation of Conanzlibxxxx variables in the current build as standard C/C++ build configuration, Release config. This file contains also the transitive dependencies definitions.
  • conan_zlib_debug_x64.props: Same activation of Conanzlibxxxx variables, Debug config, also inclusion of transitive dependencies.
  • conan_zlib.props: Properties file for zlib. It conditionally includes, depending on the configuration, one of the two immediately above Release/Debug properties files.
  • Same 5 files will be generated for every dependency in the graph, in this case conan_bzip.props too, which will conditionally include the Release/Debug bzip properties files.
  • conandeps.props: Properties files including all direct dependencies, in this case, it includes conan_zlib.props and conan_bzip2.props

You will be adding the conandeps.props to your solution project files if you want to depend on all the declared dependencies. For single project solutions, this is probably the way to go. For multi-project solutions, you might be more efficient and add properties files per project. You could add conan_zlib.props properties to “project1” in the solution and conan_bzip2.props to “project2” in the solution for example.

Custom configurations

If your Visual Studio project defines custom configurations, like ReleaseShared, or MyCustomConfig, it is possible to define it into the MSBuildDeps generator, so different project configurations can use different set of dependencies. Let’s say that our current project can be built as a shared library, with the custom configuration ReleaseShared, and the package also controls this with the shared option:

from conans import ConanFile
from conan.tools.microsoft import MSBuildDeps

class Pkg(ConanFile):
    settings = "os", "compiler", "arch", "build_type"
    options = {"shared": [True, False]}
    default_options = {"shared": False}
    requires = "zlib/1.2.11"

    def generate(self):
        ms = MSBuildDeps(self)
        # We assume that -o *:shared=True is used to install all shared deps too
        if self.options.shared:
            ms.configuration = str(self.settings.build_type) + "Shared"
        ms.generate()

This will manage to generate new properties files for this custom configuration, and switching it in the IDE allows to be switching dependencies configuration like Debug/Release, it could be also switching dependencies from static to shared libraries.

Included dependencies

MSBuildDeps uses the new experimental self.dependencies access to dependencies. The following dependencies will be translated to properties files:

  • All direct dependencies, that is, the ones declared by the current conanfile, that lives in the host context: all regular requires, plus the build_requires that are in the host context, for example test frameworks as gtest or catch.
  • All transitive requires of those direct dependencies (all in the host context)
  • Build requires, in the build context, that is, application and executables that run in the build machine irrespective of the destination platform, are added exclusively to the <ExecutablePath> property, taking the value from $(Conan{{name}}BinaryDirectories) defined properties. This allows to define custom build commands, invoke code generation tools, with the <CustomBuild> and <Command> elements.

MSBuildToolchain

The MSBuildToolchain is the toolchain generator for MSBuild. It will generate MSBuild properties files that can be added to the Visual Studio solution projects. This generator translates the current package configuration, settings, and options, into MSBuild properties files syntax.

Important

This class will require very soon to define both the “host” and “build” profiles. It is very recommended to start defining both profiles immediately to avoid future breaking. Furthermore, some features, like trying to cross-compile might not work at all if the “build” profile is not provided.

The MSBuildToolchain generator can be used by name in conanfiles:

conanfile.py
class Pkg(ConanFile):
    generators = "MSBuildToolchain"
conanfile.txt
[generators]
MSBuildToolchain

And it can also be fully instantiated in the conanfile generate() method:

from conans import ConanFile
from conan.tools.microsoft import MSBuildToolchain

class App(ConanFile):
    settings = "os", "arch", "compiler", "build_type"

    def generate(self):
        tc = MSBuildToolchain(self)
        tc.generate()

The MSBuildToolchain will generate three files after a conan install command:

$ conan install conanfile.py # default is Release
$ conan install conanfile.py -s build_type=Debug
  • The main conantoolchain.props file, to be added to the project.
  • A conantoolchain_<config>.props file, that will be conditionally included from the previous conantoolchain.props file based on the configuration and platform, e.g.: conantoolchain_release_x86.props
  • A conanvcvars.bat file with the necessary vcvars invocation to define the build environment if necessary to build from the command line or from automated tools (might not be necessary if opening the IDE). This file will be automatically called by the tools.microsoft.MSBuild helper build() method.

Every invocation to conan install with different configuration will create a new properties .props file, that will also be conditionally included. This allows to install different configurations, then switch among them directly from the Visual Studio IDE.

The MSBuildToolchain files can configure:

  • The Visual Studio runtime (MT/MD/MTd/MDd), obtained from Conan input settings
  • The C++ standard, obtained from Conan input settings

One of the advantages of using toolchains is that they can help to achieve the exact same build with local development flows, than when the package is created in the cache.

MSBuild

The MSBuild build helper is a wrapper around the command line invocation of MSBuild. It will abstract the calls like msbuild "MyProject.sln" /p:Configuration=<conf> /p:Platform=<platform> into Python method calls.

The MSBuild helper can be used like:

from conans import conanfile
from conan.tools.microsoft import MSBuild

class App(ConanFile):
    settings = "os", "arch", "compiler", "build_type"

    def build(self):
        msbuild = MSBuild(self)
        msbuild.build("MyProject.sln")

The MSBuild.build() method internally implements a call to msbuild like:

$ <vcvars-cmd> && msbuild "MyProject.sln" /p:Configuration=<conf> /p:Platform=<platform>

Where:

  • vcvars-cmd is calling the Visual Studio prompt that matches the current recipe settings
  • conf is the configuration, typically Release, Debug, which will be obtained from settings.build_type but this will be configurable. Please open a Github issue if you want to define custom configurations.
  • platform is the architecture, a mapping from the settings.arch to the common ‘x86’, ‘x64’, ‘ARM’, ‘ARM64’. If your platform is unsupported, please report in Github issues as well.

conf

  • tools.microsoft.msbuild:verbosity will accept one of "Quiet", "Minimal", "Normal", "Detailed", "Diagnostic" to be passed to the MSBuild.build() call as msbuild .... /verbosity:XXX

VCVars

Generates a file called conanvcvars.bat that activate the Visual Studio developer command prompt according to the current settings by wrapping the vcvarsall Microsoft bash script.

The VCVars generator can be used by name in conanfiles:

conanfile.py
class Pkg(ConanFile):
    generators = "VCVars"
conanfile.txt
[generators]
VCVars

And it can also be fully instantiated in the conanfile generate() method:

conanfile.py
from conans import ConanFile
from conan.tools.microsoft import VCVars

class Pkg(ConanFile):
    settings = "os", "compiler", "arch", "build_type"
    requires = "zlib/1.2.11", "bzip2/1.0.8"

    def generate(self):
        ms = VCVars(self)
        ms.generate()

Constructor

def __init__(self, conanfile):
  • conanfile: the current recipe object. Always use self.

generate()

def generate(self, scope="build"):

Parameters:

  • scope (Defaulted to "build"): Add the launcher automatically to the conanbuild launcher. Read more in the Environment documentation.