Building a C Project

What This Guide Covers

This guide covers build environment and configuration topics specific to C projects. Please make sure to read our Getting Started and general build configuration guides first.

CI environment for C Projects

Travis CI VMs are 64-bit and provide versions of:

  • gcc
  • clang
  • core GNU build toolchain (autotools, make), cmake, scons

C projects on travis-ci.org assume you use Autotools and Make by default.

For precise versions on the VM, please consult “Build system information” in the build log.

Dependency Management

Because there is no dominant convention in the community about dependency management, Travis CI skips dependency installation for C projects.

If you need to perform special tasks before your tests can run, override the install: key in your .travis.yml:

install: make get-deps

See general build configuration guide to learn more.

Default Test Script

Because C projects on travis-ci.org assume Autotools and Make by default, naturally, the default command Travis CI will use to run your project test suite is

./configure && make && make test

Projects that find this sufficient can use a very minimalistic .travis.yml file:

language: c

This can be overridden as described in the general build configuration guide. For example, to build by running Scons without arguments, override the script: key in .travis.yml like this:

script: scons

Choosing compilers to test against

It is possible to test projects against either GCC or Clang, or both. To do so, specify the compiler to use using the compiler: key in .travis.yml. For example, to build with Clang:

compiler: clang

or both GCC and Clang:

compiler:
  - clang
  - gcc

Testing against two compilers will create (at least) 2 rows in your build matrix. For each row, Travis CI C builder will export the CC env variable to point to either gcc or clang.

Build Matrix

For C projects, env and compiler can be given as arrays to construct a build matrix.

Hints

OpenMP projects

OpenMP projects should set the environment variable OMP_NUM_THREADS to a reasonably small value (say, 4). OpenMP detects the cores on the hosting hardware, rather than the VM on which your tests run.

MPI projects

The default environment variable $CC is known to interfere with MPI projects. In this case, we recommend unsetting it:

before_install:
  - test -n $CC && unset CC

C11/C++11 (and Beyond) and Toolchain Versioning

If your project requires tools compatible with C11, C++11, or a more recent language standard, then it is likely that you will have to upgrade your compiler and/or build tools. This section covers specifically how to upgrade GCC, clang, and cmake; for other dependencies please see Installing Dependencies.

GCC on Linux

Ubuntu 12.04 ships with GCC 4.6.3 and Ubuntu 14.04 ships with GCC 4.8.2.

Note that GCC support for ISO C11 reached a similar level of completeness as ISO C99 in 4.9 and that C++11 is feature-complete in 4.8.1, but support for <regex> does not exist until 4.9.

To upgrade GCC to a more recent version, you will have to install the appropriate version from the ubuntu-toolchain-r-test source; see below for examples:

matrix:
  include:
    # works on Precise and Trusty
    - os: linux
      addons:
        apt:
          sources:
            - ubuntu-toolchain-r-test
          packages:
            - g++-4.9
      env:
         - MATRIX_EVAL="CC=gcc-4.9 && CXX=g++-4.9"

    # works on Precise and Trusty
    - os: linux
      addons:
        apt:
          sources:
            - ubuntu-toolchain-r-test
          packages:
            - g++-5
      env:
         - MATRIX_EVAL="CC=gcc-5 && CXX=g++-5"

    # works on Precise and Trusty
    - os: linux
      addons:
        apt:
          sources:
            - ubuntu-toolchain-r-test
          packages:
            - g++-6
      env:
        - MATRIX_EVAL="CC=gcc-6 && CXX=g++-6"

before_install:
    - eval "${MATRIX_EVAL}"

GCC on OS X

matrix:
  include:
    - os: osx
      osx_image: xcode8
      env:
        - MATRIX_EVAL="CC=gcc-4.9 && CXX=g++-4.9"

    - os: osx
      osx_image: xcode8
      env:
        - MATRIX_EVAL="brew install gcc5 && CC=gcc-5 && CXX=g++-5"

    - os: osx
      osx_image: xcode8
      env:
        - MATRIX_EVAL="brew install gcc && CC=gcc-6 && CXX=g++-6"

before_install:
    - eval "${MATRIX_EVAL}"

Clang

Ubuntu 12.04 ships with Clang 3.4 and Ubuntu 14.04 ships with Clang 3.5.0.

Note that C++11 support is complete starting from Clang 3.3.

To upgrade Clang to a more recent version, you will have to install the appropriate version from a llvm-toolchain-* source (the ubuntu-toolchain-r-test source must also be pulled in for dependency resolution); see below for examples:

matrix:
  include:
    # works on Precise and Trusty
    - os: linux
      addons:
        apt:
          sources:
            - ubuntu-toolchain-r-test
            - llvm-toolchain-precise-3.6
          packages:
            - clang-3.6
      env:
        - MATRIX_EVAL="CC=clang-3.6 && CXX=clang++-3.6"

    # works on Precise and Trusty
    - os: linux
      addons:
        apt:
          sources:
            - ubuntu-toolchain-r-test
            - llvm-toolchain-precise-3.7
          packages:
            - clang-3.7
      env:
        - MATRIX_EVAL="CC=clang-3.7 && CXX=clang++-3.7"

    # works on Precise and Trusty
    - os: linux
      addons:
        apt:
          sources:
            - ubuntu-toolchain-r-test
            - llvm-toolchain-precise-3.8
          packages:
            - clang-3.8
      env:
        - MATRIX_EVAL="CC=clang-3.8 && CXX=clang++-3.8"

    # works on Trusty
    - os: linux
      addons:
        apt:
          sources:
            - llvm-toolchain-trusty-3.9
          packages:
            - clang-3.9
      env:
        - MATRIX_EVAL="CC=clang-3.9 && CXX=clang++-3.9"

    # works on Trusty
    - os: linux
      addons:
        apt:
          sources:
            - llvm-toolchain-trusty-4.0
          packages:
            - clang-4.0
      env:
        - MATRIX_EVAL="CC=clang-4.0 && CXX=clang++-4.0"

    # works on Trusty
    - os: linux
      addons:
        apt:
          sources:
            - llvm-toolchain-trusty
          packages:
            - clang-5.0
      env:
        - MATRIX_EVAL="CC=clang-5.0 && CXX=clang++-5.0"

before_install:
    - eval "${MATRIX_EVAL}"

On OS X, the version of clang is controlled by the choice of osx_image.

CMake

Ubuntu 12.04 ships with cmake 2.8.7 and Ubuntu 14.04 ships with cmake 3.2.2.

You can upgrade cmake to 3.2.3 on Precise from the george-edison55-precise-backports source (note that the cmake-data package contains dependencies which Aptitude does not automatically resolve), c.f.

addons:
  apt:
    sources:
      - george-edison55-precise-backports
    packages:
      - cmake-data
      - cmake

On OS X, the version of cmake is controlled by the choice of osx_image.