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Flight Software & Embedded Systems Framework

Configuring an IDE for Use With F´

Many projects like to use IDEs for development. This makes development, testing, and tracing easier. This document contains some basic instructions on how to set up an IDE. Hopefully, the instructions will work for the IDE of your choice, however; some specific examples are shown below.

Basic IDE Setup: CMake and Variables

F´ typically builds by hand using the F´ utility. This utility automates away many of the details of setting up an F´ build and should make it easy for users to build, run, and test F´ from the command-line. If this approach works for your project, we recommend you use it. However, if you need IDE support these instructions are for you.

This guide will walk you through the setup and build of an F´ application through your IDE’s CMake plugin. For helper tasks like generating templated files, it is probably best to just continue using fprime-util, but for coding tasks like building, running UTs, generating indices for the IDE’s helper functions, debugging, etc, we will attempt to setup the IDE correctly.

Note: although it may be possible to integrate your IDE directly with the fprime-util build caches, we will not attempt this here as it may result in many errors.

Step 1: CMake Support for Our Beloved IDE

F´ is built using CMake and thus to integrate with your IDE, your project must be able to support CMake builds. Some IDEs support this natively, and some require plugins. Apart from the examples below, you should understand in general how your beloved IDE integrates with CMake builds and how to configure CMake cache variables like setting a toolchain file.

Step 2: Identifying F´ Build Information

The CMake requires that several build settings are set. The fprime-util sets these automatically from the settings.ini file, however; here we will need to configure this by hand as we are using CMake directly.

Typically a user wants to build a Testing build for the default toolchain using an internal-to-F´ branch. If you are just learning F´, use these settings to run and test on your personal computer hardware and skip to Step 3.

First, the user should determine whether they would like a Testing, Release, or Debug build. The user should typically choose Testing, which allows for running unit tests, enables debug flags, and links in all of the test code. Release and Debug builds are provided by default by CMake but are used by F´ only to create the executable and not the test setup.

Next, the user should choose a toolchain file. If you are building for your host system to debug or test a native executable just choose the default. If you must run on a target platform and want to build for it, choose the toolchain file you would use to build for that platform.

Third, the user should determine if they are using an internal-to-F´ build, or an external-to-F´ build. If your code is placed within the F´ framework checkout (code supplied by F´ team), you are using the former. If your code specifies where to find F´ code and lives outside the F´ framework directory you are using the latter.

Finally, identify any other build options or cache variables you need. These are anything you supply to the build in the form of -D options. This can include custom configuration setups.

Step 3: Setting Up CMake and Build Variables

Through the setup of the IDE, you should now set the following variables. Note that some of these settings are exposed by the IDE as deliberate settings, but they can be set as part of the build setup.

Variable Value Typical
-DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE Testing, Debug, or Release Testing
Custom Toolchain    
-DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE path/to/toolchain/file unneeded
Out of Source Builds    
-DFPRIME_FRAMEWORK_PATH path/to/fprime/framework unneeded
-DFPRIME_PROJECT_ROOT path/to/project/root unneeded
-DFPRIME_LIBRARY_LOCATIONS path/to/lib:path/to/lib:… unneeded
Custom Configuration    
-DFPRIME_CONFIG_DIR path/to/project/conf/dir unneeded

Note: See CMake Settings for a further description of these and other settings.

IDE Examples

IDEs change all the time and configuring them is not something a project like F´ should take on as a documentation task as the overhead to support this would be immense. However, in so much as IDEs are used by the F´ team and community, we will provide this section to give users and developers the most help possible even if it is not complete.

Note: ensure that you understand the information in basic IDE setup. When IDEs change, it is typically not too hard to configure them from an old example and an understanding of what settings are needed.


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Eclipse and Eclipse Variants

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VS Code

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In this guide, we looked at setting up the most basic IDE settings. You should now see all of our CMake targets and be able to run and debug them. More advanced usage is likely documented within the IDE’s documentation.