[PATH_VARS <var1> <var2> ... <varN>]

CONFIGURE_PACKAGE_CONFIG_FILE() should be used instead of the plain configure_file() command when creating the <Name>Config.cmake or <Name>-config.cmake file for installing a project or library. It helps making the resulting package relocatable by avoiding hardcoded paths in the installed Config.cmake file.

In a FooConfig.cmake file there may be code like this to make the install destinations know to the using project:

set(FOO_ICONS_DIR   "@CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX@/share/icons" )
...logic to determine installedPrefix from the own location...
set(FOO_CONFIG_DIR  "${installedPrefix}/@CONFIG_INSTALL_DIR@" )

All 4 options shown above are not sufficient, since the first 3 hardcode the absolute directory locations, and the 4th case works only if the logic to determine the installedPrefix is correct, and if CONFIG_INSTALL_DIR contains a relative path, which in general cannot be guaranteed. This has the effect that the resulting FooConfig.cmake file would work poorly under Windows and OSX, where users are used to choose the install location of a binary package at install time, independent from how CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX was set at build/cmake time.

Using CONFIGURE_PACKAGE_CONFIG_FILE() helps. If used correctly, it makes the resulting FooConfig.cmake file relocatable. Usage:

1. write a file as you are used to
2. insert a line containing only the string "@PACKAGE_INIT@"
3. instead of set(FOO_DIR "@SOME_INSTALL_DIR@"), use set(FOO_DIR "@PACKAGE_SOME_INSTALL_DIR@")
   (this must be after the @PACKAGE_INIT@ line)
4. instead of using the normal configure_file(), use CONFIGURE_PACKAGE_CONFIG_FILE()

The <input> and <output> arguments are the input and output file, the same way as in configure_file().

The <path> given to INSTALL_DESTINATION must be the destination where the FooConfig.cmake file will be installed to. This can either be a relative or absolute path, both work.

The variables <var1> to <varN> given as PATH_VARS are the variables which contain install destinations. For each of them the macro will create a helper variable PACKAGE_<var…>. These helper variables must be used in the file for setting the installed location. They are calculated by CONFIGURE_PACKAGE_CONFIG_FILE() so that they are always relative to the installed location of the package. This works both for relative and also for absolute locations. For absolute locations it works only if the absolute location is a subdirectory of CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX.

By default configure_package_config_file() also generates two helper macros, set_and_check() and check_required_components() into the FooConfig.cmake file.

set_and_check() should be used instead of the normal set() command for setting directories and file locations. Additionally to setting the variable it also checks that the referenced file or directory actually exists and fails with a FATAL_ERROR otherwise. This makes sure that the created FooConfig.cmake file does not contain wrong references. When using the NO_SET_AND_CHECK_MACRO, this macro is not generated into the FooConfig.cmake file.

check_required_components(<package_name>) should be called at the end of the FooConfig.cmake file if the package supports components. This macro checks whether all requested, non-optional components have been found, and if this is not the case, sets the Foo_FOUND variable to FALSE, so that the package is considered to be not found. It does that by testing the Foo_<Component>_FOUND variables for all requested required components. When using the NO_CHECK_REQUIRED_COMPONENTS option, this macro is not generated into the FooConfig.cmake file.

For an example see below the documentation for WRITE_BASIC_PACKAGE_VERSION_FILE().

WRITE_BASIC_PACKAGE_VERSION_FILE( filename [VERSION major.minor.patch] COMPATIBILITY (AnyNewerVersion|SameMajorVersion|ExactVersion) )

Writes a file for use as <package>ConfigVersion.cmake file to <filename>. See the documentation of find_package() for details on this.

filename is the output filename, it should be in the build tree.
major.minor.patch is the version number of the project to be installed

If no VERSION is given, the PROJECT_VERSION variable is used. If this hasn’t been set, it errors out.

The COMPATIBILITY mode AnyNewerVersion means that the installed package version will be considered compatible if it is newer or exactly the same as the requested version. This mode should be used for packages which are fully backward compatible, also across major versions. If SameMajorVersion is used instead, then the behaviour differs from AnyNewerVersion in that the major version number must be the same as requested, e.g. version 2.0 will not be considered compatible if 1.0 is requested. This mode should be used for packages which guarantee backward compatibility within the same major version. If ExactVersion is used, then the package is only considered compatible if the requested version matches exactly its own version number (not considering the tweak version). For example, version 1.2.3 of a package is only considered compatible to requested version 1.2.3. This mode is for packages without compatibility guarantees. If your project has more elaborated version matching rules, you will need to write your own custom ConfigVersion.cmake file instead of using this macro.

Internally, this macro executes configure_file() to create the resulting version file. Depending on the COMPATIBLITY, either the file or is used. Please note that these two files are internal to CMake and you should not call configure_file() on them yourself, but they can be used as starting point to create more sophisticted custom ConfigVersion.cmake files.

Example using both configure_package_config_file() and write_basic_package_version_file(): CMakeLists.txt:

set(INCLUDE_INSTALL_DIR include/ ... CACHE )
set(LIB_INSTALL_DIR lib/ ... CACHE )
configure_package_config_file( ${CMAKE_CURRENT_BINARY_DIR}/FooConfig.cmake
                              INSTALL_DESTINATION ${LIB_INSTALL_DIR}/Foo/cmake
                                 VERSION 1.2.3
                                 COMPATIBILITY SameMajorVersion )
install(FILES ${CMAKE_CURRENT_BINARY_DIR}/FooConfig.cmake ${CMAKE_CURRENT_BINARY_DIR}/FooConfigVersion.cmake
        DESTINATION ${LIB_INSTALL_DIR}/Foo/cmake )

With a

set(FOO_VERSION x.y.z)