Conditional settings, options and requirements

Remember, in your you can use the value of your options to:

  • Add requirements dynamically

  • Change values of other options

  • Assign values to options of your requirements

The configure() method might be used to hardcoded values for options of the requirements. It is strongly discouraged to use it to change the settings values. Please remember that settings are a configuration input, so it doesn’t make sense to modify it in the recipes.

Also, for options, a more flexible solution is to define dependencies options values in the default_options, not in the configure() method. Setting the values in configure() won’t allow to override them and it will make really hard (even impossible) to resolve some conflicts. Use it only when it is absolutely necessary that the package dependencies use those options.

Here is an example of what we could do in our configure method:

class Recipe(ConanFile):
  requires = "poco/1.9.4" # We will add OpenSSL dynamically "openssl/1.0.2t"

  def configure(self):
      # We can control the options of our dependencies based on current options
      self.options["openssl"].shared = self.options.shared

      # Maybe in windows we know that OpenSSL works better as shared (false)
      if self.settings.os == "Windows":
         self.options["openssl"].shared = True

         # Or adjust any other available option
         self.options["poco"].other_option = "foo"

      # We could check the presence of an option
      if "shared" in self.options:

  def requirements(self):
      # Or add a new requirement!
      if self.options.testing:

  def build(self):
      # We can check the final values of options of our requirements
      if self.options['poco'].that_option != "bar":
          raise ConanInvalidConfiguration("Who modified this option?!")

Constrain settings and options

Sometimes there are libraries that are not compatible with specific settings like libraries that are not compatible with an architecture, or options that only make sense for an operating system. It can also be useful when there are settings under development.

There are two approaches for this situation:

  • Use validate() to raise an error for non-supported configurations:

    This approach is the first one evaluated when Conan loads the recipe so it is quite handy to perform checks of the input settings. It relies on the set of possible settings inside your settings.yml file, so it can be used to constrain any recipe.

    from conans.errors import ConanInvalidConfiguration
    def validate(self):
        if self.settings.os == "Windows":
          raise ConanInvalidConfiguration("This library is not compatible with Windows")


    Use the Invalid configuration exception to make Conan return with a special error code. This will indicate that the configuration used for settings or options is not supported.

    This same method is also valid for options and config_options() method and it is commonly used to remove options for one setting:

    def config_options(self):
        if self.settings.os == "Windows":
            del self.options.fPIC


For managing invalid configurations, please check the new validate() method (validate()).

  • Constrain settings inside a recipe:

    This approach constrains the settings inside a recipe to a subset of them, and it is normally used in recipes that are never supposed to work out of the restricted settings.

    from conans import ConanFile
    class MyConan(ConanFile):
        name = "myconanlibrary"
        version = "1.0.0"
        settings = {"os": None, "build_type": None, "compiler": None, "arch": ["x86_64"]}

    The disadvantage of this is that possible settings are hardcoded in the recipe, and in case new values are used in the future, it will require the recipe to be modified explicitly.


    Note: the use of the None value in the os, compiler and build_type settings described above will allow them to take the values from settings.yml file

We strongly recommend the use of the first approach whenever it is possible, and use the second one only for those cases where a stronger constrain is needed for a particular recipe.

See also

Check the reference section configure(), config_options() to find out more.