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.. _module-pw_toolchain:
GN toolchains function both as a set of tools for compilation and as a workspace
for evaluating build files. The same compilations and actions can be executed by
different toolchains. Each toolchain maintains its own set of build args, and
build steps from all toolchains can be executed in parallel.
``pw_toolchain`` module provides GN toolchains that may be used to build
Pigweed. Various GCC and Clang toolchains for multiple platforms are provided.
Toolchains names typically include the compiler (``clang`` or ``gcc`` and
optimization level (``debug``, ``size_optimized``, ``speed_optimized``).
.. note::
The documentation for this module is currently incomplete.
Non-C/C++ toolchains
``pw_toolchain/non_c_toolchain.gni`` provides the ``pw_non_c_toolchain``
template. This template creates toolchains that cannot compile C/C++ source
code. These toolchains may only be used to execute GN actions or declare groups
of targets in other toolchains. Attempting to compile C/C++ code with either of
these toolchains results in errors.
Non-C/C++ toolchains can be used to consolidate actions that should only occur
once in a multi-toolchain build. Build targets from all toolchains can refer to
these actions in a non-C/C++ toolchain so they only execute once instead of once
per toolchain.
For example, Pigweed runs protobuf compilation and Python package actions like
installation and Pylint in toolchains created with ``pw_non_c_toolchain``. This
allows all toolchains to cleanly share the same protobuf and Python declarations
without any duplicated work.
Testing other compiler versions
The clang-based toolchain provided by Pigweed can be substituted with another
version by modifying the ``pw_toolchain_CLANG_PREFIX`` GN build argument to
point to the directory that contains the desired clang, clang++, and llvm-ar
binaries. This should only be used for debugging purposes. Pigweed does not
officially support any compilers other than those provided by Pigweed.
Running static analysis checks
``clang-tidy`` can be run as a compiler replacement, to analyze all sources
built for a target. ``pw_toolchain/static_analysis_toolchain.gni`` provides
the ``pw_static_analysis_toolchain`` template. This template creates toolchains
that execute ``clang-tidy`` for C/C++ sources, and mock implementations of
the ``link``, ``alink`` and ``solink`` tools.
Additionally, ``generate_toolchain`` implements a boolean flag
``static_analysis`` (default ``false``) which generates the derived
toolchain ``${target_name}.static_analysis`` using
``pw_generate_static_analysis_toolchain`` and the toolchain options.
Excluding files from checks
The build argument ``pw_toolchain_STATIC_ANALYSIS_SKIP_SOURCES_RES`` is used
used to exclude source files from the analysis. The list must contain regular
expressions matching individual files, rather than directories. For example,
provide ``"the_path/.*"`` to exclude all files in all directories under
The build argument ``pw_toolchain_STATIC_ANALYSIS_SKIP_INCLUDE_PATHS`` is used
used to exclude header files from the analysis. This argument must be a list of
POSIX-style path suffixes for include paths, or regular expressions. For
example, passing ``the_path/include`` excludes all header files that are
accessed from include paths ending in ``the_path/include``, while passing
``.*/third_party/.*`` excludes all third-party header files.
Provided toolchains
``pw_toolchain`` provides static analysis GN toolchains that may be used to
test host targets:
- pw_toolchain_host_clang.debug.static_analysis
- pw_toolchain_host_clang.speed_optimized.static_analysis
- pw_toolchain_host_clang.size_optimized.static_analysis
- pw_toolchain_host_clang.fuzz.static_analysis
(if pw_toolchain_OSS_FUZZ_ENABLED is false)
- pw_toolchain_arm_clang.debug.static_analysis
- pw_toolchain_arm_clang.speed_optimized.static_analysis
- pw_toolchain_arm_clang.size_optimized.static_analysis
For example, to run ``clang-tidy`` on all source dependencies of the
``default`` target:
.. code-block::
generate_toolchain("my_toolchain") {
static_analysis = true
group("static_analysis") {
deps = [ ":default(my_toolchain.static_analysis)" ]
.. warning::
The status of the static analysis checks might change when
any relevant .clang-tidy file is updated. You should
clean the output directory before invoking
Target traits
Pigweed targets expose a set of constants that describe properties of the target
or the toolchain compiling code for it. These are referred to as target traits.
In GN, these traits are exposed as GN args and are prefixed with
``pw_toolchain_`` (e.g. ``pw_toolchain_CXX_STANDARD``). They are defined in
Traits must never be set by the user (e.g. with ``gn args``). Traits are always
set by the target.
.. warning::
This feature is under development and is likely to change significantly.
See `b/234883746 <>`_.
List of traits
- ``CXX_STANDARD``. The C++ standard used by the toolchain. The value must be an
integer value matching one of the standard values for the ``__cplusplus``
macro. For example, ``201703`` corresponds to C++17. See for
further details.