A C/C++ package manager

Nicely Packaged

© Lead Image © Hung Ling Tie, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © Hung Ling Tie, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 280/2024
Author(s): , Author(s):

If you use a state-of-the-art language such as C/C++, you need a package manager in your toolbox for managing libraries and their dependencies. Microsoft's vcpkg package manager offers an easy-to-use, platform-independent solution.

Today, hardly any developer writes the complete source code for an application. Preconfigured libraries for logging, database access, or a geometric modeling kernel speed up solution development. Using libraries lets compilers and linkers access a library's header files and DLLs, whether the libraries are used directly or referenced. Tools such as Maven for Java or NuGet for C# elegantly solve this task. At build time, they fetch the specified libraries from the Internet and resolve their transitive dependencies.

This type of package manager uses two different file types: the package description and the library file. In addition to the library's name and version, the package description contains a list of the other required libraries. Depending on the language used, the libraries themselves are available, say, as Java archives (JAR), C# DLLs, or JavaScript files. Both file types are typically provided on central servers such as Maven Central [1] or NuGet.org [2] and can be downloaded from there.

Your application includes a package description listing the required libraries. The package manager then downloads the requested package descriptions and library files from the central server before compiling. The package manager also takes care of resolving transitive dependencies before the build process starts using the library file, which is now available locally.


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