Boost C++ Libraries



Library targets are created using the lib rule, which follows the common syntax . For example:

lib helpers : helpers.cpp ;

This will define a library target named helpers built from the helpers.cpp source file. It can be either a static library or a shared library, depending on the value of the <link> feature.

Library targets can represent:

The syntax for prebuilt libraries is given below:

lib z : : <name>z <search>/home/ghost ;
lib compress : : <file>/opt/libs/compress.a ;

The name property specifies the name of the library without the standard prefixes and suffixes. For example, depending on the system, z could refer to a file called, libz.a, or z.lib, etc. The search feature specifies paths in which to search for the library in addition to the default compiler paths. search can be specified several times or it can be omitted, in which case only the default compiler paths will be searched. The file property specifies the file location.

The difference between using the file feature and using a combination of the name and search features is that file is more precise.


The value of the search feature is just added to the linker search path. When linking to multiple libraries, the paths specified by search are combined without regard to which lib target each path came from. Thus, given

lib a : : <name>a <search>/pool/release ;
lib b : : <name>b <search>/pool/debug ;

If /pool/release/, /pool/release/, /pool/debug/, and /pool/release/ all exist, the linker will probably take both a and b from the same directory, instead of finding a in /pool/release and b in /pool/debug. If you need to distinguish between multiple libraries with the same name, it's safer to use file.

For convenience, the following syntax is allowed:

lib z ;
lib gui db aux ;

which has exactly the same effect as:

lib z : : <name>z ;
lib gui : : <name>gui ;
lib db : : <name>db ;
lib aux : : <name>aux ;

When a library references another library you should put that other library in its list of sources. This will do the right thing in all cases. For portability, you should specify library dependencies even for searched and prebuilt libraries, othewise, static linking on Unix will not work. For example:

lib z ;
lib png : z : <name>png ;


When a library has a shared library as a source, or a static library has another static library as a source then any target linking to the first library with automatically link to its source library as well.

On the other hand, when a shared library has a static library as a source then the first library will be built so that it completely includes the second one.

If you do not want a shared library to include all the libraries specified in its sources (especially statically linked ones), you would need to use the following:

lib b : a.cpp ;
lib a : a.cpp : <use>b : : <library>b ;

This specifies that library a uses library b, and causes all executables that link to a to link to b also. In this case, even for shared linking, the a library will not refer to b.

Usage requirements are often very useful for defining library targets. For example, imagine that you want you build a helpers library and its interface is described in its helpers.hpp header file located in the same directory as the helpers.cpp source file. Then you could add the following to the Jamfile located in that same directory:

lib helpers : helpers.cpp : : : <include>. ;

which would automatically add the directory where the target has been defined (and where the library's header file is located) to the compiler's include path for all targets using the helpers library. This feature greatly simplifies Jamfiles.