Getting started with CppSharp

CppSharp is one cool project that generates C# bindings for C++ libraries. It’s under active development now and I finally got around to getting a sample up and running on OSX. Here’s a running example from following the Getting Started guide on the github page.

First, you’ll need to set yourself up with Mono. I set mine up through a Homebrew keg, and it set me up with a 32-bit runtime. So that means we need to make sure that C++ library we interface with is compiled for 32-bits.

Here’s a sample library. Make it and extract the archive into the working directory. You’ll see the following structure get unpacked:

libsample
libsample/include
libsample/lib

Next, you’ll need to clone and build CppSharp. The Getting Started page is the quickest way to build it. In short, you

  1. Clone the particular revisions of LLVM and Clang into the tools subdirectory.
  2. Configure and build LLVM with CMake, enabling C++11 and libc++ standard library support by adding cache entries LLVM_ENABLE_CXX11 and LLVM_ENABLE_LIBCXX.
  3. Configure and build CppSharp. They use premake as their build system, which is a lot simpler to deal with.

The result of building CppSharp is a set of .dlls. The easiest thing is to copy all the resulting .dll files to the working directory of where the executable for your binding generating code will go. Otherwise, you will need to add the directory containing these libraries to MONO_PATH.

To generate your bindings for libsample, you implement ILibrary. Here’s a barebones example that compiles and runs. It assumes you’ve got the following in your working directory:

lib/Release_x32/
libsample/{include,lib}

The binding generator is Sample.exe. parses the sample library and spits out bindings in the out/ directory.

Then you can proceed to use your C++ assets from C# — TestSample.exe compiled in the barebones example above will show you how. You just have to make sure the .dylib is in the working directory or visible through LD_LIBRARY_PATH.

Now that I’ve got this up and running, I’m looking into experimenting with QtSharp. Now that I kind of see what’s going on, it looks like the developer has committed bindings for Qt5. I guess the path of least friction is to do the same rather than mess around with Qt4. I just built 32-bit Qt5 overnight last night and will be testing it shortly.

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One thought on “Getting started with CppSharp

  1. Hi, I am not understanding how to generate csharp code. barbones example link is not available.

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