Step 4: Installing and Testing

Now we can start adding install rules and testing support to our project.

Install Rules

The install rules are fairly simple: for MathFunctions we want to install the library and header file and for the application we want to install the executable and configured header.

So to the end of MathFunctions/CMakeLists.txt we add:

install(TARGETS MathFunctions DESTINATION lib)
install(FILES MathFunctions.h DESTINATION include)

And to the end of the top-level CMakeLists.txt we add:

install(TARGETS Tutorial DESTINATION bin)
install(FILES "${PROJECT_BINARY_DIR}/TutorialConfig.h"

That is all that is needed to create a basic local install of the tutorial.

Now run the cmake executable or the cmake-gui to configure the project and then build it with your chosen build tool.

Then run the install step by using the install option of the cmake command (introduced in 3.15, older versions of CMake must use make install) from the command line. For multi-configuration tools, don't forget to use the --config argument to specify the configuration. If using an IDE, simply build the INSTALL target. This step will install the appropriate header files, libraries, and executables. For example:

cmake --install .

The CMake variable CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX is used to determine the root of where the files will be installed. If using the cmake --install command, the installation prefix can be overridden via the --prefix argument. For example:

cmake --install . --prefix "/home/myuser/installdir"

Navigate to the install directory and verify that the installed Tutorial runs.

Testing Support

Next let's test our application. At the end of the top-level CMakeLists.txt file we can enable testing and then add a number of basic tests to verify that the application is working correctly.


# does the application run
add_test(NAME Runs COMMAND Tutorial 25)

# does the usage message work?
add_test(NAME Usage COMMAND Tutorial)

# define a function to simplify adding tests
function(do_test target arg result)
  add_test(NAME Comp${arg} COMMAND ${target} ${arg})

# do a bunch of result based tests
do_test(Tutorial 4 "4 is 2")
do_test(Tutorial 9 "9 is 3")
do_test(Tutorial 5 "5 is 2.236")
do_test(Tutorial 7 "7 is 2.645")
do_test(Tutorial 25 "25 is 5")
do_test(Tutorial -25 "-25 is (-nan|nan|0)")
do_test(Tutorial 0.0001 "0.0001 is 0.01")

The first test simply verifies that the application runs, does not segfault or otherwise crash, and has a zero return value. This is the basic form of a CTest test.

The next test makes use of the PASS_REGULAR_EXPRESSION test property to verify that the output of the test contains certain strings. In this case, verifying that the usage message is printed when an incorrect number of arguments are provided.

Lastly, we have a function called do_test that runs the application and verifies that the computed square root is correct for given input. For each invocation of do_test, another test is added to the project with a name, input, and expected results based on the passed arguments.

Rebuild the application and then cd to the binary directory and run the ctest executable: ctest -N and ctest -VV. For multi-config generators (e.g. Visual Studio), the configuration type must be specified with the -C <mode> flag. For example, to run tests in Debug mode use ctest -C Debug -VV from the binary directory (not the Debug subdirectory!). Release mode would be executed from the same location but with a -C Release. Alternatively, build the RUN_TESTS target from the IDE.