Aurélien Gâteau


written on Friday, March 30, 2018

CMake reference documentation is built inside the cmake binary itself, accessible through --help-* options. This is useful, but not really practical: you have to remember the exact command name, and pipe the output to a pager. I wanted something more user (or developer) friendly.

A long time ago (in 2010!) I created a Python command-line tool called CMakeDoc to make this documentation easier to read. You start it with one or more search criteria (they don't have to be complete words) and it prints a list of all matching commands, properties, variables or modules CMake knows. You then type the number of the piece of documentation you want to read: CMakeDoc shows you this documentation using less or the pager defined in $PAGER.

CMakeDoc demonstration

That's all there is to it. It's a small tool, but it's saved me quite some time over the years. It's been available on GitHub for a long time, but last week I decided to give it a bit more visibility: I adjusted a few things, created a for it, extended the and released it on PyPI. You can now install it with a simple pip3 install cmakedoc command.

Fun fact: CMakeDoc was originally called CMakeHelp, but when I tried to upload it to PyPI, I found out there was already a CMakeHelp tool there, which looks abandoned and does not install, but forced me to rename the project nevertheless to be able to host it there. I seem to be making a habit of renaming my projects because of name conflicts :)

This post was tagged cmake and pko