Building libtabula with Visual C++


You need to have the MySQL or MariaDB C API development files on your system, since libtabula is built on top of it.

The easiest way to get these files is to download Connector/C.

If you need the DB server on your development system anyway, you may find that they come with the DBMS, either by default or as an option during the installation.

Project Files

libtabula does not ship with *.sln or *.vc[x]proj files. Instead, you generate them on your system using CMake, which produces a set of such files customized to your particular system.

The standard way to use CMake on Windows is to:

  1. Install CMake.

  2. Drop to a command prompt. Both PowerShell and cmd.exe work.

    You can also use the Cygwin Bash shell, but you need to be sure you're not using the Cygwin version of cmake, since that will try to build libtabula under Cygwin, even if your system also has Visual Studio installed. (The Cygwin version of CMake is built in such a way that it actually can't generate Visual Studio project and solution files.)

  3. cd to the directory where you unpacked the libtabula sources.

  4. Optional: Create a build directory underneath that, and cd into it.

    You can call it "build" if you have no better name. The name doesn't matter.

    If you will be creating multiple build directories, we suggest that you call them "build-*", to clearly distinguish their purpose, or nest them under a single "build" directory:




    If you elect not to do this, the build products will be intermixed with the libtabula source files, making it harder to disentangle them. It also makes it more difficult to cope with multiple versions of Visual Studio on the same system, since the build products will conflict with each other.

  5. Run either cmake or cmake-gui followed by the relative path to the source directory. If you created a single build directory underneath the source directory, the command is cmake ..

  6. If that succeeded, you can open the generated libtabula.sln file.

    If it failed, it should say why clearly enough that you can see how to fix it. If not, post the CMake output to the mailing list.

Locating C API Development Files

The CMake files try to figure out which C API development files you've got installed, automatically.

If it cannot find your MySQL/MariaDB development files, edit the modules\FindMySQL.cmake file in a text editor, adding the library and header file directories to the two directory lists you find within. Then try again.

Choosing a Different C++ Compiler or CPU Target

The native Windows version of CMake normally tries to use Visual C++ if it's available, and it generates 32-bit project files by default.

If CMake finds multiple versions of Visual C++ installed, it will use the newest one. To force it to use another, give a command like:

 cmake -G "Visual Studio 11 2012"

Give the --help flag to get a list of available generators for the -G option.

To generate 64-bit executables instead, add "Win64" to the end of the generator name:

 cmake -G "Visual Studio 12 2013 Win64"

If you have MinGW installed alongside Visual Studio and want it to use MinGW instead, see

If you have Cygwin installed alongside Visual Studio and want CMake to build under Cygwin instead of Visual C++, simply install the Cygwin version of CMake using Cygwin's setup*.exe program. That build of CMake assumes you're building under Cygwin, for Cygwin, by default. See

Building the Library and Example Programs

You must build both the Debug and Release versions of the library, because a release build of your program won't work with a Debug version of the libtabula DLL. These DLLs get different names, so you can install them in the same directory if needed: libtabula_d.dll for the Debug version and libtabula.dll for the Release version.

With the library built, run at least the resetdb and simple1 examples to ensure that the library is working correctly. In addition to the other generic examples, there are a few Visual C++ specific examples that you might want to look at in examples\vstudio. See the examples README for further details.

Once you're sure the library is working correctly, you can run the install.hta file at the project root to install the library files and headers in a directory of your choosing.

(Aside: You may not have come across the .hta extension before. It's for a rarely-used feature of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, called HTML Applications. Know what Adobe AIR is? Kinda like that, only without the compilation into a single binary blob which you must install before you can run it. Just open install.hta in a text editor to see how it works.)

Using libtabula in Your Own Projects

This is covered in the user manual, chapter 9.

If You Run Into Problems...

Especially if you have linking problems, make sure your project settings match the above. Visual C++ is very picky about things like run time library settings. When in doubt, try running one of the example programs. If it works, the problem is likely in your project settings, not in libtabula.