Boost C++ Libraries of the most highly regarded and expertly designed C++ library projects in the world. Herb Sutter and Andrei Alexandrescu, C++ Coding Standards

This is the documentation for an old version of Boost. Click here to view this page for the latest version.

Build Time Configuration

There are times when you want to control whether a build target gets built or not, based on what features the compiler supports. For example, suppose you have a test file "test_constexpr_128.cpp" which requires three key features in order to build:

Clearly we know that if these features are not supported by the compiler, then there's simply no point in even trying to build the test program. The main advantages being:

Returning to our example, the test case is probably executed in it's Jamfile via the "run" rule:

run test_constexpr_128.cpp ;

We now need to make this target conditional on the necessary features. We can do that by first importing the necessary rule at the start of the Jamfile:

import path-to-config-lib/checks/config : requires ;

Assuming that the test case is in the usual directory:


then the import rule will actually be:

import ../../config/checks/config : requires ;

Then add a "requires" rule invocation to the requirements section of the target:

run test_constexpr_128.cpp
   : : : #requirements:
   [ requires cxx11_constexpr cxx11_user_defined_literals int128 ] ;

Notice that multiple arguments can be added to the requires rule, and that these are always the same as the Boost.Config macro name, but in lower case and with the boost_no_ or boost_has_ prefix removed.

When building the above example, you will see at the start of the build process the results of the configuration, for example GCC in C++11 mode gives:

- Boost.Config Feature Check: int128 : yes
- Boost.Config Feature Check: cxx11_constexpr : yes
- Boost.Config Feature Check: cxx11_user_defined_literals : yes

That's all there is to this handy feature, should at any time you be unsure of the feature-test names you can pass to the "requires" rule, then search for the Boost.Config macro of interest in libs/config/checks/Jamfiles.v2, and the name of the feature check will follow it.

And finally, this feature is built around the Boost.Build built in rule check-target-builds which can be used to perform more generalized build-time feature testing. The checks in this library are provided as a convenient shorthand without the need for you to write the test cases yourself.