Headers and Linking

Although we have shown the compilation command for the simple example, you really should use the Meson build system. The examples used in this book are included in the gtkmm-documentation package, with appropriate build files, so we won't show the build commands in future. The README file in gtkmm-documentation describes how to build the examples.

To simplify compilation, we use pkg-config, which is present in all (properly installed) gtkmm installations. This program 'knows' what compiler switches are needed to compile programs that use gtkmm. The --cflags option causes pkg-config to output a list of include directories for the compiler to look in; the --libs option requests the list of libraries for the compiler to link with and the directories to find them in. Try running it from your shell-prompt to see the results on your system.

However, this is even simpler when using the dependency() function in a meson.build file with Meson. For instance:

gtkmm_dep = dependency('gtkmm-4.0', version: '>= 4.6.0')

This checks for the presence of gtkmm and defines gtkmm_dep for use in your meson.build files. For instance:

exe_file = executable('my_program', 'my_source1.cc', 'my_source2.cc',
  dependencies: gtkmm_dep,
  win_subsystem: 'windows',

gtkmm-4.0 is the name of the current stable API. There are older APIs called gtkmm-2.4 and gtkmm-3.0 which install in parallel when they are available. There are several versions of gtkmm-2.4, such as gtkmm 2.10 and there are several versions of the gtkmm-3.0 API. Note that the API name does not change for every version because that would be an incompatible API and ABI break. There might be a future gtkmm-5.0 API which would install in parallel with gtkmm-4.0 without affecting existing applications.

If you start by experimenting with a small application that you plan to use just for yourself, it's easier to start with a meson.build similar to the meson.build files in the Building applications chapter.

If you use the older Autotools build system, see also the GNU site. It has more information about autoconf and automake. There are also some books describing Autotools: "GNU Autoconf, Automake, and Libtool" by Gary Vaughan et al. and "Autotools, A Practitioner's Guide to GNU Autoconf, Automake, and Libtool" by John Calcote.