[Interest] qmake: questions regarding huge projects

Christian Dähn daehn at asinteg.de
Fri Apr 19 15:21:52 CEST 2013

Hi Rainer,

as other members already stated out qmake has some limits - but:
These can be "hacked" ;-)

We (our company) spent much time to discover different build systems and
approaches -
where CMake was the most complicated and most work intensive solution.

So we decided to use the long term and on all Qt platforms available qmake and
to use ONLY .pro files - even in Visual Studio 2005-2012 (thanks to the great
this can be simply done by an export/import button to save/load .pro files).

+ qmake .pro files are fully supported by VisualStudio, Eclipse and QtCreator
+ .pro files are simple and have a small footprint
+ extensible thanks to integrated (very simple) scripting functions and import
of external files (.pri)
+ automatic dependenies for libs
+ version handling and execution of unit tests, pre- and post-build commands
+ can generate resource files (and with own commands even sources)
+ with a few tricks can used to automatically check out and include other dirs /
libs / modules
+ automatically execute unit tests, create versioned file names, copy build
files etc.

In our company we use qmake with some self written qmake functions (inside .pri
include files)
to run a hughe build environment with fully automatic dependencies and execution
of unit tests
directly after compile.

Means: 591 .pro files (libs + apps + subdirs) and 23 .pri files (includes)

For a simple example how to automate things with qmake you can see an old
blogpost here:


If you're interested, I can give you more details...

And yes: QMake is a really limited tool and will be replaced in the future by
QBS or some other
system - but: For production environments it's a currently available and
reliable tool,
working fine under Windows (in VC++ with the VSAddin) and Linux.

QMake offers me some possibilities, VC++ cannot provide out of the box and thus
the currently favorite tool to simply work with ONE .pro file for ALL platforms.
Getting CMake to this state is possible - but costs so much time and work,
that no one of my devs wants to use it.

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