This page assumes you are familiar with Bazel and provides guidelines and advice on structuring your projects to take full advantage of Bazel’s features.
The overall goals are:
- To use fine-grained dependencies to allow parallelism and incrementality.
- To keep dependencies well-encapsulated.
- To make code well-structured and testable.
- To create a build configuration that is easy to understand and maintain.
These guidelines are not requirements: few projects will be able to adhere to all of them. As the man page for lint says, “A special reward will be presented to the first person to produce a real program that produces no errors with strict checking.” However, incorporating as many of these principles as possible should make a project more readable, less error-prone, and faster to build.
This page uses the requirement levels described in this RFC.
Running builds and tests
A project should always be able to run
bazel build //... and
bazel test //... successfully on its stable branch. Targets that are necessary
but do not build under certain circumstances (such as,require specific build
flags, don’t build on a certain platform, require license agreements) should be
tagged as specifically as possible (for example, “
tagging allows targets to be filtered at a more fine-grained level than the
“manual” tag and allows someone inspecting the
BUILD file to understand what
a target’s restrictions are.
You may declare third-party dependencies:
- Either declare them as remote repositories in the
- Or put them in a directory called
third_party/under your workspace directory.
Depending on binaries
Everything should be built from source whenever possible. Generally this means
that, instead of depending on a library
some-library.so, you’d create a
BUILD file and build
some-library.so from its sources, then depend on that
Always building from source ensures that a build is not using a library that was built with incompatible flags or a different architecture. There are also some features like coverage, static analysis, or dynamic analysis that only work on the source.
Prefer building all code from head whenever possible. When versions must be
used, avoid including the version in the target name (for example,
//guava-20.0). This naming makes the library easier to update (only one
target needs to be updated). It’s also more resilient to diamond dependency
issues: if one library depends on
guava-19.0 and one depends on
you could end up with a library that tries to depend on two different versions.
If you created a misleading alias to point both targets to one
BUILD files are misleading.
For project-specific options, use the configuration file your
<workspace>/.bazelrc (see bazelrc format).
If you want to support per-user options for your project that you do not want to check into source control, include the line
(or any other file name) in your
<workspace>/.bazelrc and add
Every directory that contains buildable files should be a package. If a
file refers to files in subdirectories (such as,
srcs = ["a/b/C.java"]) it’s
a sign that a
BUILD file should be added to that subdirectory. The longer
this structure exists, the more likely circular dependencies will be
inadvertently created, a target’s scope will creep, and an increasing number
of reverse dependencies will have to be updated.