xmake v2.2.7 released, Improve to build Cuda project


This version mainly makes a lot of improvements to the Cuda project, and adds support for lex/yacc compilation. It also adds custom support for link phases such as on_link, before_link and after_link to the target.

Here, I would also like to thank @OpportunityLiu for support for xmake. In this version OpportunityLiu contributed a lot of code to Improve Cuda support. In addition, he helped improve xmake’s entire unit testing framework, self-updating programs, command line tab completions, and ci scripts to make xmake’s update iterations more efficient and stable.

Introduction of new features

Improve to build Cuda project

Header file dependency detection and incremental compilation

Prior to 2.2.6, the compiler support for cuda was not perfect. At least the header file dependency detection was not provided. Therefore, if there is more cuda code, every change will compile all, not like c/c++ code. Do it to detect changes and perform incremental compilation.

In the new version, xmake has supported it, and now it is very good to handle dependencies on different platforms, which will improve the efficiency of daily compilation and development.

Add gencodes api

In the previous version, adding gencodes configuration was very cumbersome and not concise. You can look at the previous configuration:


    add_cuflags("-gencode arch=compute_30,code=sm_30", "-gencode arch=compute_35,code=sm_35")
    add_cuflags("-gencode arch=compute_37,code=sm_37", "-gencode arch=compute_50,code=sm_50")
    add_cuflags("-gencode arch=compute_52,code=sm_52", "-gencode arch=compute_60,code=sm_60")
    add_cuflags("-gencode arch=compute_61,code=sm_61", "-gencode arch=compute_70,code=sm_70")
    add_cuflags("-gencode arch=compute_70,code=compute_70")

    add_ldflags("-gencode arch=compute_30,code=sm_30", "-gencode arch=compute_35,code=sm_35")
    add_ldflags("-gencode arch=compute_37,code=sm_37", "-gencode arch=compute_50,code=sm_50")
    add_ldflags("-gencode arch=compute_52,code=sm_52", "-gencode arch=compute_60,code=sm_60")
    add_ldflags("-gencode arch=compute_61,code=sm_61", "-gencode arch=compute_70,code=sm_70")
    add_ldflags("-gencode arch=compute_70,code=compute_70")

Therefore, in order to streamline the configuration of xmake.lua, the add_cugencodesapi added to the cuda project is used to simplify the configuration. The improvements are as follows:


    -- generate SASS code for each SM architecture
    add_cugencodes("sm_30", "sm_35", "sm_37", "sm_50", "sm_52", "sm_60", "sm_61", "sm_70")

    -- generate PTX code from the highest SM architecture to guarantee forward-compatibility

In addition, when configured as add_cugencodes("native"), xmake will automatically detect the gencodes supported by the current device, which will be added automatically, which is more convenient and efficient.

This, thanks to the probe code provided by [OpportunityLiu] (https://github.com/OpportunityLiu) and the implementation of add_cugencodes.

In the new version, xmake basically refactors the entire cuda build process, extracting the cuda-related builds to a separate cuda build rule for maintenance, and by default uses the device-link link.

For the description and benefits of device-link, please refer to the relevant official introduction: https://devblogs.nvidia.com/separate-compilation-linking-cuda-device-code/

We also need devlink when compiling calls that contain __global__ or __device__ functions that cross compiler units, so in xmake, devlink is currently enabled by default.

For the user, there is no need to make any changes to xmake.lua. Of course, if the user wants to disable devlink manually, it is also possible:

    add_values("cuda.devlink", false) -- explicitly disable the default device-link behavior

Support for compiling cuda projects with clang

Clang currently supports compilation of *.cu files, but clan versions supported by different versions of clang have certain limitations. Clang7 can only support cuda7-9.2, 8 supports up to 10, and clan9 is required to support 10.1.

In addition to supporting nvcc to compile cuda projects, xmake can also be compiled directly into clang, for example:

xmake f --cu=clang

However, regarding devlink, it seems that you still need to rely on nvcc, clang does not support it.

Switch c++ compiler for nvcc

xmake added the --cu-ccbin= parameter to configure the switch. The nvcc defaults to the c++ compiler and linker. The usage is as follows:

xmake f --cu-ccbin=clang++

Let nvcc call the clang++ compiler internally when compiling cuda code.

Custom the linking process

In the new version, we have added customization processing related to the link link phase. Users can extend their own link process by implementing on_link, before_link and after_link in target/rule.

For example, we want to pre-process some other things before the link phase of normal c/c++ code, such as doing something about *.o files, then we can write our own lua script in the before_link stage:

    before_link(function (target)
        print("process objects", target:objectfiles())

Or we want to rewrite the built-in link process, you can use on_link:

    on_link(function (target)
        print("link objects", target:objectfiles())

And after_link is to do some customization tasks after the link is completed.

support Lex/Yacc Compilation

Currently xmake can natively support lex/flex, yacc/bison, etc. to compile and process .l/.y files to quickly develop some compiler-related projects.

We only need to add lex, yacc two rules to the target, so that it can handle .l/.y files normally, of course .ll/.yy is also supported.

    add_rules("lex", "yacc")
    add_files("src/*.l", "src/*.y")

Here is an example code for reference: lex_yacc_example

Improve to set run environments

Setting the running directory

We can use the set_rundir interface to set the current running directory of the default running target program. If not set, by default, the target is loaded and run in the directory where the executable file is located.

If the user wants to modify the load directory, one is to customize the run logic by on_run(), and to do the switch inside, but just to cut the directory, this is too cumbersome.

Therefore, you can quickly switch settings to the default directory environment through this interface.


Adding the environment variables

Another new interface, add_runenvs, can be used to add environment variables that set the default run target program.

     add_runenvs("PATH", "/tmp/bin", "xxx/bin")
     add_runenvs("NAME", "value")

Support Command line tab completion

In order to improve the user experience, the new version also supports the xmake command parameter tab completion under the command line. The user can conveniently and quickly tab out all the command parameters of xmake.

Currently supports zsh/bash/sh and powershell.

More convenient self-updating commands

In previous versions, xmake had provided a convenient self-updating command xmake update to update xmake’s own version, or even to update the specified branch version, for example: xmake update dev/master

However, there are still some shortcomings:

  1. Every time you update, you need to recompile the core, so the update is very slow. However, in many cases, the new version only has script changes, and the core does not change.
  2. Update the specified dev/master branch, which is not perfect on Windows, a little lagging, and can’t be instantly synced to the online dev/master version.

Therefore, this OpportunityLiu has helped a lot of improvements:

  1. Provide the xmake update -s/--scriptonly parameter, just update the lua script, do not compile the core extra, and implement a fast iterative update.
  2. Improve ci script, implement ci automation build on windows, xmake update dev automatically pulls pre-built installation package to download update on ci
  3. You can specify to update xmake from other github repos, so that contributors can update their fork version, and also switch users to repo, xmake update gitee:tboox/xmake


New features

  • #440: Add set_rundir() and add_runenvs() api for target/run
  • #443: Add tab completion support
  • Add on_link, before_link and after_link for rule and target
  • #190: Add add_rules("lex", "yacc") rules to support lex/yacc projects


  • #430: Add add_cucodegens() api to improve set codegen for cuda
  • #432: support deps analyze for cu file
  • #437: Support explict git source for xmake update, xmake update github:xmake-io/xmake#dev
  • #438: Support to only update scripts, xmake update --scriptonly dev
  • #433: Improve cuda to support device-link
  • #442: Improve test library


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