June 1, 2020

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A template for modern C++ projects using CMake, Clang-Format, CI, unit testing and more, with support for downstream inclusion.

repo name filipdutescu/modern-cpp-template
repo link https://github.com/filipdutescu/modern-cpp-template
language CMake
size (curr.) 118 kB
stars (curr.) 487
created 2020-05-03
license Boost Software License 1.0

Actions Status Actions Status Actions Status codecov GitHub release (latest by date)

Modern C++ Template

A quick C++ template for modern CMake projects, aimed to be an easy to use starting point.

This is my personal take on such a type of template, thus I might not use the best practices or you might disagree with how I do things. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated!


  • Modern CMake configuration and project, which, to the best of my knowledge, uses the best practices,
  • An example of a Clang-Format config, inspired from the base Google model, with minor tweaks. This is aimed only as a starting point, as coding style is a subjective matter, everyone is free to either delete it (for the LLVM default) or supply their own alternative,
  • Static analyzers integration, with Clang-Tidy and Cppcheck, the former being the default option,
  • Doxygen support, through the ENABLE_DOXYGEN option, which you can enable if you wish to use it,
  • Unit testing support, through GoogleTest (with an option to enable GoogleMock) or Catch2,
  • Code coverage, enabled by using the ENABLE_CODE_COVERAGE option, through Codecov CI integration,
  • Package manager support, with Conan and Vcpkg, through their respective options
  • CI workflows for Windows, Linux and MacOS using GitHub Actions, making use of the caching features, to ensure minimum run time,
  • .md templates for: README, Code of Conduct, Contributing Guideliness, Issues and Pull Requests,
  • Permissive license to allow you to integrate it as easily as possible. The template is licensed under the Boost Software License,
  • Options to build as a header-only library or executable, not just a static or shared library.
  • CCache integration, for speeding up build times

Getting Started

These instructions will get you a copy of the project up and running on your local machine for development and testing purposes.


This project is meant to be only a template, thus versions of the software used can be change to better suit the needs of the developer(s). If you wish to use the template as-is, meaning using the versions recommended here, then you will need:

  • CMake v3.15+ - found at https://cmake.org/
  • C++ Compiler - needs to support at least the C++17 standard, i.e. MSVC, GCC, Clang

Note: You also need to be able to provide CMake a supported generator.


It is fairly easy to install the project, all you need to do is clone if from GitHub or generate a new repository from it (also on GitHub).

If you wish to clone the repository, rather than generate from it, you simply need to run

git clone https://github.com/filipdutescu/modern-cpp-template/

After finishing getting a copy of the project, with any of the methods above, create a new folder in the include/ folder, with the name of your project.

You will also need to rename the cmake/Config.cmake.in file to start with the exact name of your project. Such as cmake/MyNewProjectConfig.cmake.in.

Finally, change "Project" from CMakeLists.txt, from

  VERSION 0.1.0 

to the exact name of your project, i.e. using the previous name it will become:

  VERSION 0.1.0 

To install an already built project, you need to run the install target with CMake. For example:

cmake --build build --target install --config Release

# a more general syntax for that command is:
cmake --build <build_directory> --target install --config <desired_config>

Building the project

To build the project, all you need to do, after correctly installing the project, is run a similar CMake routine to the the one below:

mkdir build/ && cd build/
cmake .. -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/absolute/path/to/custom/install/directory
cmake --build . --target install

Note: The custom CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX can be omitted if you wish to install in the default install location.

More options that you can set for the project can be found in the cmake/StandardSettings.cmake file. For certain options additional configuration may be needed in their respective *.cmake files (i.e. Conan needs the CONAN_REQUIRES and might need the CONAN_OPTIONS to be setup for it work correctly; the two are set in the cmake/Conan.cmake file).

Running the tests

By default, the template uses Google Test for unit testing. Unit testing can be disabled in the options, by setting the ENABLE_UNIT_TESTING (from cmake/StandardSettings.cmake) to be false. To run the tests, simply use CTest, from the build directory, passing the desired configuration for which to run tests for. An example of this procedure is:

cd build          # if not in the build directory already 
ctest -C Release  # or `ctest -C Debug` or any other configuration you wish to test

# you can also run tests with the `-VV` flag for a more verbose output (i.e. GoogleTest output as well)

End to end tests

If applicable, should be presented here.

Coding style tests

If applicable, should be presented here.


Please read CONTRIBUTING.md for details on our how you can become a contributor and the process for submitting pull requests to us. Please read the Code of Conduct as well, before engaging with the project’s community.


This project makes use of SemVer for versioning. A list of existing versions can be found in the project’s releases.



This project is licensed under the Boost Software License - see the LICENSE file for details

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