Compile code based on CGAL

CGAL is an amazing computational geometry library that can make your programming life so much simpler and faster. Once you overcome the weird looking coding style becomes a powerful tool.

Here I’ll describe a few modifications that I make on the cgal generated CMakeList.txt that make my life a bit easier and make the files more portable.

In short, the steps are

1) For each project create a new folder and create a default CMakeList.txt file by running cgal_create_cmake_script

This is going to create a default CMakeList.txt file.

If the cgal installation is not on the search path then the cgal_create_cmake_script can be found under path/to/cgal-releases-CGAL-x.xx.x/Scripts/scripts/

To make the script easier to transfer between my CGAL projects I’m doing the following changes:


First I remove the default project name which is taken by the folder name.

Then I add a target name for the project and a target source.

Remove one statement create_single_source_cgal_program(…)

Finally, at the end of the file, I set the project and the executable.

To run cmake you need to create a file with the name ${TARGET}.cpp, in my case test1.cpp. Even an empty file its ok

Then run cmake (don’t forget the space dot) 

If you have to provide the cgal path then add the following option


If the configuration is successful you can run make after you have written some code into the file ${TARGET}.cpp

Those modifications allow to copy the same CMakeList.txt files to other projects and build them with a single modification just the very first line. In addition with a few other modifications that will be subject to another post you can add other libraries like deal.ii and OpenSceneGraph

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