Building the Tutorials

This section describes how to build the tutorials.

What You Need to Download.  Obviously, you will need a C++ compiler and build environment. You will also need the Windows or Linux operating systems, as these are the only OS's supported by the tutorials. Supported build environments include Visual Studio 2008/2010, Code::Blocks, and Linux-based GNU Makefiles. Other build systems may work, but they are not regularly tested.

You will need to download the source distribution; download the .zip file with the highest version number. All of the libraries needed to build the tutorials are bundled as part of the distribution, so this is the only source code download you will need.

You will also need to download the Premake 4 utility for your platform of choice. Place the executable somewhere in your command path.

You will need minimal familiarity with using the command line in order to build these tutorials. Also, any mention of directories is always relative to where you unzipped this distribution.

Distribution File Layout.  The layout of the files in the tutorial directory is quite simple. The framework directory and all directories of the form Tut* contain the source code for the tutorials themselves. Each Tut* directory has the code for the various tutorials. The framework directory simply contains utility code that is commonly used by each tutorial.

Each tutorial contains one or more projects; each project is referenced in the text for that tutorial.

The Documents directory contains the source for the text documentation explaining how these tutorials work. This source is in xml files using the DocBook 5.0 format.

The other directories either contain libraries used by the tutorials or data files that the tutorials load.

Premake 4.  Premake is a utility like CMake: it generates build files for a specific platform. Unlike CMake, Premake is strictly a command-line utility. Premake's build scripts are written in the Lua language, unlike CMake's build scripts that use their own language.

Note that Premake only generates build files; once the build files are created, you can use them as normal. It can generate project files for Visual Studio, Code::Blocks, as well as GNU Makefiles. And unless you want to modify one of the tutorials, you only need to run Premake once for each tutorial.

The Premake download comes as a pre-built executable for all platforms of interest, including Linux.

Unofficial OpenGL SDK.  Bundled with the tutorials is the Unofficial OpenGL SDK (you do not need to download it separately). This is an aggregation of libraries, unifying a number of tools for developing OpenGL applications, all bound together with a unified build system. You do not need to download it; a version of the SDK is part of the tutorial distribution. The copy that comes with these tutorials does not contain the documentation or GLFW.

The SDK library uses Premake to generate its build files. So, with premake4.exe in your path, open your command prompt and go to the glsdk directory. Type premake4 plat, where plat is the name of the platform of choice. For Visual Studio 2008, this would be vs2008; for VS2010, this would be vs2010. This will generate Visual Studio projects and solution files for that particular version.

For GNU and makefile-based builds, this is gmake. This will generate a makefile. To build for debug, use make config=debug; similarly, to build for release, use make config=release.

Using the generated build files, compile for both debug and release. You should build the entire solution; the tutorials use all of the libraries provided. Do not attempt to run the SDK from your IDE; it's just a set of libraries. All you have to do is compile them for debug and release.

That there is also no need to execute make install or similar commands after building the SDK. The SDK is designed to be used where it is; it does not install itself to any system directories on your machine. Incidentally, neither do these tutorials.

Tutorial Building and Running. 

Each tutorial directory has a premake4.lua file; this file is used by Premake to generate the build files for that tutorial. Therefore, to build any tutorial, you need only go to that directory and type premake4 plat, then use those build files to build the tutorial.

Each tutorial will generally have more than one source file and generate multiple executables. Each executable represents a different section of the tutorial, as explained in that tutorial's documentation.

If you want to build all of the tutorials at once, go to the root directory of the distribution and use Premake on the premake4.lua file in that directory. It will put all of the tutorials into one giant project that you can build.

If you look at any of the tutorial source files, you will not find the main function defined anywhere. This function is defined in framework/framework.cpp; it and all of the other source files in the framework directory is shared by every tutorial. It does the basic boilerplate work: creating a FreeGLUT window, etc. This allows the tutorial source files to focus on the useful OpenGL-specific code.

Note that the framework project is a library, not an executable. So attempting to run the framework from your IDE of choice will not work. You must select one of the tutorial projects and set it to be the active project. Then you will be able to run that tutorial from the IDE.

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