Boost C++ Libraries


Project Hierarchies

So far we have only considered examples with one project, with one user-written Boost.Jam file, Jamroot. A typical large codebase would be composed of many projects organized into a tree. The top of the tree is called the project root. Every subproject is defined by a file called Jamfile in a descendant directory of the project root. The parent project of a subproject is defined by the nearest Jamfile or Jamroot file in an ancestor directory. For example, in the following directory layout:

  +-- Jamroot
  +-- app/
  |    |
  |    +-- Jamfile
  |    `-- app.cpp
  `-- util/
       +-- foo/
       .    |
       .    +-- Jamfile
       .    `-- bar.cpp

the project root is top/. The projects in top/app/ and top/util/foo/ are immediate children of the root project.


When we refer to a “Jamfile,” set in normal type, we mean a file called either Jamfile or Jamroot. When we need to be more specific, the filename will be set as “Jamfile” or “Jamroot.”

Projects inherit all attributes (such as requirements) from their parents. Inherited requirements are combined with any requirements specified by the subproject. For example, if top/Jamroot has


in its requirements, then all of its subprojects will have it in their requirements, too. Of course, any project can add include paths to those specified by its parents. [2] More details can be found in the section called “Projects”.

Invoking b2 without explicitly specifying any targets on the command line builds the project rooted in the current directory. Building a project does not automatically cause its subprojects to be built unless the parent project's Jamfile explicitly requests it. In our example, top/Jamroot might contain:

build-project app ;

which would cause the project in top/app/ to be built whenever the project in top/ is built. However, targets in top/util/foo/ will be built only if they are needed by targets in top/ or top/app/.

[2] Many features will be overridden, rather than added-to, in subprojects. See the section called “Feature Attributes” for more information