This article explains step by step how to compile FreeCAD on Windows.
What you need is mainly the compiler. On Windows we use the M$ VisualStudio 8 Compiler (or VC++ Express) with the highest service pack. Although it's probably possible to use Cygwin or MingW gcc it's not tested or ported so far. We have also ported to use VC8 Express Edition. You need to download the Windows Platform SDK to get e.g. the Windows.h. Also you need all the Third Party Libraries to successfully compile FreeCAD.
If you use the M$ compilers you want most likely download the FreeCAD LibPack which provides you with all needed libs to build FreeCAD on Windows.
Other prerequisites (and helpful programs) are:
- Python 2.6
- WiX (Windows installer XML v3.0) - if you want to make msi installer
It is also necessary to have, in your system path, paths to:
- git (not tortoiseGit, but git.exe)
Building with cMake
First of all, you have to download cMake and install it on your build machine.
The switch to cMake
Since version 0.9 we use the cMake build system to generate the build/make files for various compilers. We do not longer deliver .vcproj files. If you want build former versions of FreeCAD (0.8 and older) see "Building older versions" later in this article.
We switched because it became more and more painful to maintain project files for 30+ build targets and x compilers. cMake gives us the posibility to support alternative IDEs, like Code::Blocks, Qt Creator and Eclipse CDT the main compiler we use is still M$ VC9 Express, though. But we plan for the future a build process on Windows without proprietary compiler software.
Configure the build process
The first step to build FreeCAD with cMake is to configure the environment. There are basically two ways to go:
- Using the LibPack
- Installing all needed libs and let cMake find them
You see the LibPack path inserted into the FREECAD_LIBPACK_DIR variable. Starting from that all includes and paths are set. You just need to press the Generate button and the project files get generated.
If you switch the FREECAD_LIBPACK_USE options off, the configuration tries to find each and every library needed on your system. Depending on the libs that works well more or less. So you have to do often define some paths by hand. cMake will show you what is not found and need to be specified.
Options for the Build Process
The cMake build system gives us a lot more flexibility over the build process. That means we can switch on and off some features or modules. It's in a way like the Linux kernel build. You have a lot switches to determine the build process.
Here is the description of these switches. They will most likely change a lot in the future because we want to increase the build flexibility a lot more.
|FREECAD_LIBPACK_USE||Switch the usage of the FreeCAD LibPack on or off||On Win32 on, otherwishe off|
|FREECAD_LIBPACK_DIR||Directory where the LibPack is||FreeCAD SOURCE dir|
|FREECAD_BUILD_GUI||Build FreeCAD with all Gui related modules||ON|
|FREECAD_BUILD_CAM||Build the CAM module, experimental!||OFF|
|FREECAD_BUILD_INSTALLER||Create the project files for the Windows installer.||OFF|
|FREECAD_BUILD_DOXYGEN_DOCU||Create the project files for source code documentation.||OFF|
|FREECAD_MAINTAINERS_BUILD||Switch on stuff needed only when you do a Release build.||OFF|
Procedure with cMake and Visual Studio 2008
Once you start cMake GUI, select source folder, add destination folder and click on "Configure". cMake will ask you to select generator - recommended for FreeCAD is "Visual Studio 9 2008".
After you click "Next", cMake will throw error since it can not find LibPack. You will need to manually select folder where Libpack is in "FREECAD_LIBPACK_DIR" variable. After that you need to click on "Configure" once more. After configure is done, click on "Generate". Now you are done with cMake, and you can close it.
Before using Visual Studio, we need to add libpack to system path (you need to do this only once, when building first time). You need to go to "Control Panel >> System >> Advanced System Settings". In the "System properties" dialog, under "Advanced" tab there is button "Environment Variables". Click on it. After you click on it, add libpack to the Path. Separate it from other path variables with ";".
Now you need to start Visual Studio 2008. Visual C++ Express 2008 will also work. Before building, it is good procedure to copy bin folder from libpack\bin folder to bin folder of the build files (generated with cMake).
After this go to "File >> Open >> Project/Solution". You need to open FreeCAD_Trunk.sln, from the build files generated with cMake. Once it is opened, there will be three popup menus in the toolbar. One of them says "Debug" - Switch it to "Release". Then execute "Build >> Build Solution" (or just press F7) - this process will last long time.
Once it is done, choose "Debug >> Start without Debugging". Popup window will ask you to select exe file. Click on a popup menu under "Executable File Name" and choose "Browse". You need to go to \bin folder where source files are, and select "FreeCAD.exe"
and you are done!
command line build
Here an example how to build FreeCAD from the Command line:
rem @echo off rem Build script, uses vcbuild to completetly build FreeCAD rem update trunc d: cd "D:\_Projekte\FreeCAD\FreeCAD_0.9" "C:\Program Files (x86)\Subversion\bin\svn.exe" update rem set the aprobiated Variables here or outside in the system set PATH=C:\WINDOWS\system32;C:\WINDOWS;C:\WINDOWS\System32\Wbem set INCLUDE= set LIB= rem Register VS Build programms call "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC\vcvarsall.bat" rem Set Standard include paths set INCLUDE=%INCLUDE%;%FrameworkSDKDir%\include set INCLUDE=%INCLUDE%;C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0A\Include rem Set lib Pathes set LIB=%LIB%;C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0A\Lib set LIB=%LIB%;%PROGRAMFILES%\Microsoft Visual Studio\VC98\Lib rem Start the Visuall Studio build process "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC\vcpackages\vcbuild.exe" "D:\_Projekte\FreeCAD FreeCAD_0.9_build\FreeCAD_trunk.sln" /useenv
Building older versions
You need to set the following environment variables:
- FREECADLIB = "D:\Wherever\LIBPACK"
- QTDIR = "%FREECADLIB%"
Add "%FREECADLIB%\bin" and "%FREECADLIB%\dll" to the system PATH variable. Keep in mind that you have to replace "%FREECADLIB%" with the path name, since Windows does not recursively replace environment variables.
Directory setup in Visual Studio
Some search path of Visual Studio need to be set. To change them, use the menu Tools→Options→Directory
Add the following search path to the include path search list:
Add the following search path to the lib path search list:
Add the following search path to the executable path search list:
- TortoiseSVN binary installation directory, usually "C:\Programm Files\TortoiseSVN\bin", this is needed for a distribution build when SubWVRev.exe is used to extract the version number from Subversion.
During the compilation some Python scripts get executed. So the Python interpreter has to function on the OS. Use a command box to check it. If the Python library is not properly installed you will get an error message like Cannot find python.exe. If you use the LibPack you can also use the python.exe in the bin directory.
Special for VC8
When building the project with VC8, you have to change the link information for the WildMagic library, since you need a different version for VC6 and VC8. Both versions are supplied in LIBPACK/dll. In the project properties for AppMesh change the library name for the wm.dll to the VC8 version. Take care to change it in Debug and Release configuration.
After you conform to all prerequisites the compilation is - hopefully - only a mouse click in VC ;-)
To get FreeCAD up and running from the compiler environment you need to copy a few files from the LibPack to the bin folder where FreeCAD.exe is installed after a successful build:
- python.exe and python_d.exe from LIBPACK/bin
- python25.dll and python25_d.dll from LIBPACK/bin
- python25.zip from LIBPACK/bin
- make a copy of Python25.zip and rename it to Python25_d.zip
- QtCore4.dll from LIBPACK/bin
- QtGui4.dll from LIBPACK/bin
- boost_signals-vc80-mt-1_34_1.dll from LIBPACK/bin
- boost_program_options-vc80-mt-1_34_1.dll from LIBPACK/bin
- xerces-c_2_8.dll from LIBPACK/bin
- zlib1.dll from LIBPACK/bin
- coin2.dll from LIBPACK/bin
- soqt1.dll from LIBPACK/bin
- QtOpenGL4.dll from LIBPACK/bin
- QtNetwork4.dll from LIBPACK/bin
- QtSvg4.dll from LIBPACK/bin
- QtXml4.dll from LIBPACK/bin
When using a LibPack with a Python version older than 2.5 you have to copy two further files:
- zlib.pyd and zlib_d.pyd from LIBPACK/bin/lib. This is needed by python to open the zipped python library.
- _sre.pyd and _sre_d.pyd from LIBPACK/bin/lib. This is needed by python for the built in help system.
If you don't get it running due to a Python error it is very likely that one of the zlib*.pyd files is missing.
If you whant to build the source code documentation you need DoxyGen.
To create an intstaller package you need WIX.
During the compilation some Python scripts get executed. So the Python interpreter has to work properly.
For more details have also a look to README.Linux in your sources.
First of all you should build the Qt plugin that provides all custom widgets of FreeCAD we need for the Qt Designer. The sources are located under
So far we don't provide a makefile -- but calling
creates it. Once that's done, calling make will create the library
To make this library known to your Qt Designer you have to copy the file to