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 still experimental (so subject to breaking changes) but with very stable syntax. We encourage their usage to be prepared for Conan 2.0.

MSBuildDeps

Available since: 1.32.0

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 conan 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

The above files are generated when the package doesn’t have components. If the package has defined components, the following files will be generated:

  • conan_pkgname_compname_vars_release_x64.props: Definition of variables for the component compname of the package pkgname
  • conan_pkgname_compname_release_x64.props: Activation of the above variables into VS effective variables to be used in the build
  • conan_pkgname_compname.props: Properties file for component compname of package pkgname. It conditionally includes, depending on the configuration, the specific activation property files.
  • conan_pkgname.props: Properties file for package pkgname. It includes and aggregates all the components of the package.
  • conandeps.props: Same as above, aggregates all the direct dependencies property files for the packages (like conan_pkgname.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. If the package has components, you can also add to your solution the specific components you depend on, and not all of them.

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 conan 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 tool_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)
  • Tool 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

Available since: 1.32.0

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 conan 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.

Attributes

  • properties (available since Conan 1.53): Additional properties added to the generated .props files. You can define the properties in a key-value syntax like:
from conan import ConanFile
from conan.tools.microsoft import MSBuildToolchain

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

    def generate(self):
        msbuild = MSBuildToolchain(self)
        msbuild.properties["IncludeExternals"] = "true"
        msbuild.generate()

Then, the generated conantoolchain_<config>.props file will contain the defined property in its contents:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Project xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/developer/msbuild/2003">
<ItemDefinitionGroup>
...
</ItemDefinitionGroup>
<PropertyGroup Label="Configuration">
    ...
    <IncludeExternals>true</IncludeExternals>
    ...
</PropertyGroup>
</Project>

conf

MSBuildToolchain is affected by these [conf] variables:

  • tools.microsoft.msbuildtoolchain:compile_options dict-like object of extra compile options to be added to <ClCompile> section. The dict will be translated as follows: <[KEY]>[VALUE]</[KEY]>.
  • tools.build:cxxflags list of extra C++ flags that will be appended to <AdditionalOptions> section from <ClCompile> and <ResourceCompile> one.
  • tools.build:cflags list of extra of pure C flags that will be appended to <AdditionalOptions> section from <ClCompile> and <ResourceCompile> one.
  • tools.build:sharedlinkflags list of extra linker flags that will be appended to <AdditionalOptions> section from <Link> one.
  • tools.build:exelinkflags list of extra linker flags that will be appended to <AdditionalOptions> section from <Link> one.
  • tools.build:defines list of preprocessor definitions that will be appended to <PreprocessorDefinitions> section from <ResourceCompile> one.

MSBuild

Available since: 1.32.0

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 conan 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", targets=["mytarget"])

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

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

Where:

  • vcvars-cmd is calling the Visual Studio prompt that matches the current recipe settings
  • configuration, typically Release, Debug, which will be obtained from settings.build_type but this will be configurable with msbuild.build_type.
  • platform is the architecture, a mapping from the settings.arch to the common ‘x86’, ‘x64’, ‘ARM’, ‘ARM64’. This is configurable with msbuild.platform.
  • targets (since 1.52.0) is an optional argument, defaults to None, and otherwise it is a list of targets to build

attributes

You can customize the following attributes in case you need to change them:

  • build_type (default settings.build_type): Value for the /p:Configuration.
  • platform (default based on settings.arch to select one of these values: ('x86', 'x64', 'ARM', 'ARM64'): Value for the /p:Platform.

Example:

from conan 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_type = "MyRelease"
        msbuild.platform = "MyPlatform"
        msbuild.build("MyProject.sln")

conf

MSBuild is affected by these [conf] variables:

  • 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

Available since: 1.39.0

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 conan 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.

conan.tools.microsoft.is_msvc()

Available since: 1.45.0

def is_msvc(conanfile, build_context=False):

Validate self.settings.compiler for which compiler is being used. It returns True when the host compiler is Visual Studio or msvc, otherwise, returns False. When the compiler is empty, it returns False.

Parameters:

  • conanfile: ConanFile instance.
  • build_context (since 1.52.0): (default=False). If this argument is True, the method will check the compiler of the build context, not the host one.
from conan.tools.microsoft import is_msvc

def validate(self):
    if not is_msvc(self):
        raise ConanInvalidConfiguration("Only supported by Visual Studio and msvc.")

conan.tools.microsoft.is_msvc_static_runtime()

Available since: 1.45.0

def is_msvc_static_runtime(conanfile):

Validate self.settings.compiler.runtime for which compiler is being used. It returns True when the host compiler is Visual Studio or msvc, and its runtime is MT, MTd or static. When the compiler is empty, it returns False.

Parameters:

  • conanfile: ConanFile instance.
from conan.tools.microsoft import is_msvc_static_runtime

def validate(self):
    if is_msvc_static_runtime(self) and self.options.shared(self):
        raise ConanInvalidConfiguration("This project does not support shared and static runtime together.")

conan.tools.microsoft.msvc_runtime_flag()

Available since: 1.33.0

def msvc_runtime_flag(conanfile):

If the current compiler is Visual Studio, msvc, clang `` or ``intel-cc, then detects the runtime type and returns between MD, MT, MDd or MTd, otherwise, returns "" (empty string). When the runtime type is static, it returns MT, otherwise, MD. The suffix d is added when running on Debug mode.

Parameters:

  • conanfile: Conanfile instance.
from conan.tools.microsoft import msvc_runtime_flag

def validate(self):
     if "MT" in msvc_runtime_flag(self):
        self.output.warning("Runtime MT/MTd is not well tested.")

conan.tools.microsoft.unix_path()

Available since: 1.47.0

def unix_path(conanfile, path):

Transforms the specified path into the correct one according to the subsystem. To determine the subsystem:

  • The settings_build.os is checked to verify that we are running on “Windows” otherwise, the path is returned without changes.
  • If settings_build.os.subsystem is specified (meaning we are running Conan under that subsystem) it will be returned.
  • If conanfile.win_bash==True (meaning we have to run the commands inside the subsystem), the conf tools.microsoft.bash:subsystem has to be declared or it will raise an Exception.
  • Otherwise the path is returned without changes.

Parameters:

  • conanfile: ConanFile instance.
from conan.tools.microsoft import unix_path



def build(self):
    adjusted_path = unix_path(self, "C:\\path\\to\\stuff")
In the example above, adjusted_path will be:
  • /c/path/to/stuff if msys2 or msys
  • /cygdrive/c/path/to/stuff if cygwin
  • /mnt/c/path/to/stuff if wsl
  • /dev/fs/C/path/to/stuff if sfu

check_min_vs()

Available since: 1.49.0

Helper method to allow the migration to 2.0 more easily. It will handle internally both Visual Studio and msvc compiler settings, raising a ConanInvalidConfiguration error if the minimum version is not satisfied

def check_min_vs(conanfile, version):
  • conanfile: Always use self, the current recipe
  • version: Minimum version that will be accepted. Use a version number following the MSVC compiler version (or msvc setting), that is, 191, 192, etc (updates like 193.1 are also acceptable)

Example:

def validate(self):
    check_min_vs(self, "192")

NMakeDeps

Available since: 1.55.0

This generator can be used as:

from conan import ConanFile

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

    requires = "mydep/1.0"
    # attribute declaration
    generators = "NMakeDeps"

    # OR explicit usage in the generate() method
    def generate(self):
        deps = NMakeDeps(self)
        deps.generate()

    def build(self):
        self.run(f"nmake /f makefile")

The generator will create a conannmakedeps.bat environment script that defines CL, LIB and _LINK_ environment variables, injecting necessary flags to locate and link the dependencies declared in requires. This generator should most likely be used together with NMakeToolchain one.

NMaketoolchain

Available since: 1.55.0

This generator can be used as:

from conan import ConanFile

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

    # attribute declaration
    generators = "NMakeToolchain"

    # OR explicit usage in the generate() method
    def generate(self):
        toolchain = NMakeToolchain(self)
        toolchain.generate()

    def build(self):
        self.run(f"nmake /f makefile")

The generator will create a conannmaketoolchain.bat environment script that defines CL environment variable, injecting necessary flags deduced from the Conan settings like compiler.cppstd or the Visual Studio runtime. It will also generate a conanvcvars.bat script that activates the correct VS prompt matching the Conan settings compiler and compiler.version.