Integrating with C++ rules

This page describes how to integrate with C++ rules on various levels.

Accessing the C++ toolchain

Because of ongoing migration of C++ rules to platforms and toolchains, we advise to use the helper function available at @bazel_tools//tools/cpp:toolchain_utils.bzl, which works both when toolchains are disabled and enabled. To depend on a C++ toolchain in your rule, add a Label attribute named _cc_toolchain and point it to @bazel_tools//tools/cpp:current_cc_toolchain (an instance of cc_toolchain_alias rule, that points to the currently selected C++ toolchain). Then, in the rule implementation, use find_cpp_toolchain(ctx) to get the CcToolchainInfo. A complete working example can be found in the rules_cc examples.

Generating command lines and environment variables using the C++ toolchain

Typically, you would integrate with the C++ toolchain to have the same command line flags as C++ rules do, but without using C++ actions directly. This is because when writing our own actions, they must behave consistently with the C++ toolchain - for example, passing C++ command line flags to a tool that invokes the C++ compiler behind the scenes.

C++ rules use a special way of constructing command lines based on feature configuration. To construct a command line, you need the following:

There still are tool-specific getters, such as compiler_executable. Prefer get_tool_for_action over these, as tool-specific getters will eventually be removed.

A complete working example can be found in the rules_cc examples.

Implementing Starlark rules that depend on C++ rules and/or that C++ rules can depend on

Most C++ rules provide CcInfo, a provider containing CompilationContext and LinkingContext. Through these it is possible to access information such as all transitive headers or libraries to link. From CcInfo and from the CcToolchainInfo custom Starlark rules should be able to get all the information they need.

If a custom Starlark rule provides CcInfo, it’s a signal to the C++ rules that they can also depend on it. Be careful, however - if you only need to propagate CcInfo through the graph to the binary rule that then makes use of it, wrap CcInfo in a different provider. For example, if java_library rule wanted to propagate native dependencies up to the java_binary, it shouldn’t provide CcInfo directly (cc_binary depending on java_library doesn’t make sense), it should wrap it in, for example, JavaCcInfo.

A complete working example can be found in the rules_cc examples.

Reusing logic and actions of C++ rules

Not stable yet, we will update this section once the API stabilizes. Follow #4570 for up to date information.