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5 Supported Build Systems

Check officially supports two build systems: Autotools and CMake. Primarily it is recommended to use Autotools where possible, as CMake is only officially supported for Windows. Information on using Check in either build system follows.

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5.1 Autotools

It is recommended to use pkg-config where possible to locate and use Check in an Autotools project. This can be accomplished by including the following in the project’s ‘configure.ac’ file:


where MINIMUM-VERSION is the lowest version which is sufficient for the project. For example, to guarantee that at least version 0.9.6 is available, use the following:

   PKG_CHECK_MODULES([CHECK], [check >= 0.9.6])

An example of a ‘configure.ac’ script for a project is included in the ‘doc/example’ directory in Check’s source. This macro should provide everything necessary to integrate Check into an Autotools project.

If one does not wish to use pkg-config Check also provides its own macro, AM_PATH_CHECK(), which may be used. This macro is deprecated, but is still included with Check for backwards compatibility.

The AM_PATH_CHECK() macro is defined in the file ‘check.m4’ which is installed by Check. It has some optional parameters that you might find useful in your ‘configure.ac’:


AM_PATH_CHECK does several things:

  1. It ensures check.h is available
  2. It ensures a compatible version of Check is installed
  3. It sets CHECK_CFLAGS and CHECK_LIBS for use by Automake.

If you include AM_PATH_CHECK() in ‘configure.ac’ and subsequently see warnings when attempting to create configure, it probably means one of the following things:

  1. You forgot to call aclocal. autoreconf will do this for you.
  2. aclocal can’t find ‘check.m4’. Here are some possible solutions:
    1. Call aclocal with ‘-I’ set to the location of ‘check.m4’. This means you have to call both aclocal and autoreconf.
    2. Add the location of ‘check.m4’ to the ‘dirlist’ used by aclocal and then call autoreconf. This means you need permission to modify the ‘dirlist’.
    3. Set ACLOCAL_AMFLAGS in your top-level ‘Makefile.am’ to include ‘-I DIR’ with DIR being the location of ‘check.m4’. Then call autoreconf.

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5.2 CMake

Those unable to use Autotools in their project may use CMake instead. Officially CMake is supported only for Windows.

Documentation for using CMake is forthcoming. In the meantime, look at the example CMake project in Check’s ‘doc/examples’ directory.

If you are using CMake version 3 or above, importing Check into your project is easier than in earlier versions. If you have installed Check as a CMake library, you should have the following files:

${INSTALL_PREFIX}/lib/cmake/check/check-config.cmake and
${INSTALL_PREFIX}/lib/cmake/check/check-config-version.cmake and

If you haven’t installed Check into a system directory, you have to tell your CMake build how to find it:

cmake -Dcheck_ROOT=${INSTALL_PREFIX}

Then use Check in your @file{CMakeLists.txt} like this:

find_package(check <check_version if wanted> REQUIRED CONFIG)

add_executable(myproj.test myproj.test.c)
target_link_libraries(myproj.test Check::check)
add_test(NAME MyProj COMMAND myproj.test)

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