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Installation guide for contributors🔗

Build and run tests🔗

While developing on iceoryx, you may want to know if your changes will break existing functionality or if your newly written tests will pass. For that purpose, we generate CMake targets that execute the tests. First, we need to build them:

cmake -Bbuild -Hiceoryx_meta -DBUILD_TEST=ON
cmake --build build

CMake automatically installs GoogleTest as a local dependency and builds the tests against it. Please note that if you want to build tests for extensions like the DDS-Gateway you need to enable this extension as well in the CMake build. To build the tests for all extensions simply add -DBUILD_ALL to the CMake command.


Before creating a Pull-Request, you should check your code for compiler warnings. The -DBUILD_STRICT CMake option is available for this purpose, which treats compiler warnings as errors. This flag is enabled on the GitHub CI for building Pull-Requests.

Now let's execute all tests:

cd iceoryx/build
make all_tests

Some of the tests are time-dependent and need a stable environment. These timing tests are available in separate targets:

make timing_module_tests
make timing_integration_tests

In iceoryx we distinguish between different test levels. The most important are: Module tests and Integration tests. Module or unit tests are basically black box tests that test the public interface of a class. In integration tests the interaction of several classes is tested. The source code of the tests is placed into the folder test within the different iceoryx components. You can find there at least a folder moduletests and sometimes integrationtests.

If you now want to create a new test, you can place the source file directly into the right folder. CMake will automatically detect the new file when doing a clean build and will add it to the corresponding executable. There is no need to add a gtest main function because we already provide it. Executables are created for every test level, for example posh_moduletests. They are placed into the corresponding build folder (e.g. iceoryx/build/posh/test/posh_moduletests).

If you want to execute only individual test cases, you can use these executables together with a filter command. Let's assume you want to execute only ServiceDescription_test from posh_moduletests:

./build/posh/test/posh_moduletests --gtest_filter="ServiceDescription_test*"


While writing code on iceoryx you should use git hooks that automatically ensure that you follow the coding and style guidelines. See git-hooks.

Use Sanitizer Scan🔗

Due to the fact that iceoryx works a lot with system memory, it should be ensured that errors like memory leaks are not introduced. To prevent this, we use the clang toolchain which offers several tools for scanning the codebase. One of them is the AddressSanitizer which checks e.g. for dangling pointers.

The below-listed sanitizers are enabled at the moment.


AddressSanitizer exits on the first detected error, which means there could be more errors in the codebase when this error is reported.

  • LeakSanitizer (LSan) is a run-time memory leak detector. In iceoryx, it runs as part of the AddressSanitizer.
  • UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer (UBSan) is a fast undefined behavior detector. iceoryx uses default behavior i.e. print a verbose error report and continue execution

With the script you can run the scan yourself. Additionally, the scans are running on the CI in every Pull-Request. As a prerequisite, you need to install the clang compiler:

sudo apt install clang

Then you need to compile iceoryx with the sanitizer flags:

./tools/ build-strict build-all sanitize clang clean

Now we can run the tests with enabled sanitizer options:

cd build && ./tools/

If errors occur, an error report is shown with a stack trace to find the place where the leak occurs. If the leak has its origin in an external dependency or shall be handled later then it is possible to set a function on a suppression list. This should be used only rarely and only in coordination with an iceoryx maintainer.


iceoryx needs to be built as a static library to work with sanitizer flags, which is automatically achieved when using the script. If you want to use the ${ICEORYX_WARNINGS} then you have to call find_package(iceoryx_hoofs) and include(IceoryxPlatform) to make use of the ${ICEORYX_SANITIZER_FLAGS}.

iceoryx library build🔗

The iceoryx build consists of several libraries which have dependencies on each other. The goal is to have encapsulated library packages available so that the end-user can easily find them with the CMake command find_package(...). In the default case, the iceoryx libraries are installed by make install into /usr/lib which requires root access. As an alternative you can install the libs into a custom folder by setting -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/custom/install/path as build flag for the CMake file in iceoryx_meta.

iceoryx_meta collects all libraries (hoofs, posh etc.) and extensions (binding_c, dds) and can be a starting point for the CMake build. The provided build script tools/ uses iceoryx_meta.

Per default, iceoryx is built as static lib for better usability. Additionally, we offer to build as shared library because it is a cleaner solution for resolving dependency issues and it reduces the linker time. This is done by the flag BUILD_SHARED_LIBS which is set to OFF per default in iceoryx_meta. If you want to have shared libraries, just pass -DBUILD_SHARED_LIBS=ON to CMake or use build-shared as a flag in the build script.


When building with colcon in ROS 2, the packages iceoryx_hoofs, iceoryx_posh and iceoryx_binding_c are built automatically as shared libraries.

If iceoryx builds shared libraries you have to copy them into a custom path and set the LD_LIBRARY_PATH to the custom path (e.g. build/install/prefix).

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/your/path/to/iceoryx/libs

or you can set it directly:

LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/your/path/to/lib iox-roudi

If you want to share iceoryx to other users, you can create a debian package. This can be done by using: ./tools/ package where it will be deployed into the build_package folder.


The CMake libraries export their dependencies for easier integration. This means that you do not need to do a find_package() for all the dependencies. For example, you don't need to call find_package(iceoryx_hoofs) when you already called find_package(iceoryx_posh) since iceoryx_posh includes iceoryx_hoofs.

Tips & Tricks🔗

Sometimes one can encounter a failing CI target which is not reproducible locally on the developer machine. With ./tools/scripts/ one can create a docker container with preinstalled dependencies and a configuration similar to the CI target container.

When for instance the target ubuntu 18.04 fails we can start the container with

./tools/scripts/ enter ubuntu:18.04

which enters the environment automatically and one can start debugging.