Recipe and sources in the same repo

Sometimes, especially if you are developing and packaging your own libraries recipe (not third parties) it is more convenient to have the recipe together with your source code, in the same repository.

There are two different approaches:

1. Using the exports sources attribute of the conanfile to exporting all the source code together with the recipe. This way it is self-contained and it doesn’t require to fetch code from external origins when it is necessary to build from sources. It could be considered as a “snapshot” of the source code.

2. Using the scm attribute of the conanfile to capture automatically the remote and commit of your repository.

Exporting the sources with the recipe: exports_sources

This could be an appropriate approach if we want the package recipe to live in the same repository as the source code it is packaging.

First, let’s get the initial source code and create the basic package recipe:

$ conan new Hello/0.1 -t -s

A src folder will be created with the same “hello” source code than in the previous example. You can have a look at it, is straightforward code.

Now lets have a look to the

from conans import ConanFile, CMake

class HelloConan(ConanFile):
    name = "Hello"
    version = "0.1"
    license = "<Put the package license here>"
    url = "<Package recipe repository url here, for issues about the package>"
    description = "<Description of Hello here>"
    settings = "os", "compiler", "build_type", "arch"
    options = {"shared": [True, False]}
    default_options = "shared=False"
    generators = "cmake"
    exports_sources = "src/*"

    def build(self):
        cmake = CMake(self)

        # Explicit way:
        #'cmake "%s/src" %s' % (self.source_folder, cmake.command_line))
        #"cmake --build . %s" % cmake.build_config)

    def package(self):
        self.copy("*.h", dst="include", src="src")
        self.copy("*.lib", dst="lib", keep_path=False)
        self.copy("*.dll", dst="bin", keep_path=False)
        self.copy("*.dylib*", dst="lib", keep_path=False)
        self.copy("*.so", dst="lib", keep_path=False)
        self.copy("*.a", dst="lib", keep_path=False)

    def package_info(self):
        self.cpp_info.libs = ["hello"]

There are two important changes:

  • Added the exports_sources field, to tell conan to copy all the files from the local src folder into the package recipe.
  • Removed the source() method, it is not necessary anymore to retrieve external sources.

Also, you can notice the two CMake lines:


They are not added in the package recipe, as they can be directly put in the src/CMakeLists.txt file.

And simply create the package for user and channel demo/testing as previously:

$ conan create . demo/testing
Hello/0.1@demo/testing test package: Running test()
Hello world!

Capturing the remote and commit from git: scm [EXPERIMENTAL]

You can use the scm attribute with the url and revision field set to auto. When you export the recipe (or when conan create is called) the exported recipe will capture the remote and commit of the local repository:

 from conans import ConanFile, CMake, tools

 class HelloConan(ConanFile):
      scm = {
         "type": "git",
         "subfolder": "hello",
         "url": "auto",
         "revision": "auto"

The can be commited and pushed to your origin repository, and will keep always the “auto” values. But when the file is exported to the conan local cache, the copied recipe in the local cache, will point to the captured remote and commit:

 from conans import ConanFile, CMake, tools

 class HelloConan(ConanFile):
      scm = {
         "type": "git",
         "subfolder": "hello",
         "url": "",
         "revision": "437676e15da7090a1368255097f51b1a470905a0"

So when you upload the recipe to a conan remote, the recipe will contain the “absolute” url and commit.

When you are requiring your HelloConan the conan install will retrieve the recipe from the remote and if you build the package, the source code will be fetched from the captured url/commit.


While you are in the same computer (same conan cache), even when you have exported the recipe and conan has captured the absolute url and commit, conan will store the local folder where your source code lives. If you build your package locally it will use the local repository (in the local folder) instead of the remote URL, even if the local directory contains uncommited changes. It allows to speed up the development of your packages cloning from a local repository.