Building IREP into applications

Integrating IREP into an application requires that you write wkt_*.h headers (as described in the overview) and that you generate libraries from those headers, which you can then link into your application. Since IREP’s internal data structures are statically defined, and since IREP’s library routines (like ir_read()) need to look up tables dynamically, linking IREP into an application requires some special steps.

IREP’s build system integration can ease this process. We’ll describe that later, but before we do, we’ll define some terms.

wkt and wkt-index libraries

To use IREP, you’ll need to generate at least two types of libraries:

  1. One or more wkt libraries that define the static data structures in particular WKT headers, and

  2. A wkt-index library that tells IREP how to look up data by name in those structures.

A simple example

Suppose that you have an application with modules lib1 and lib2.

digraph { "app" -> "liba" "app" -> "libb" }

And suppose that your application has a WKT header, wkt_app.h, that defines its input format. To use IREP, you’ll need to generate a WKT library and a WKT index from wkt_app.h, then link everything together with IREP. The figure below shows the dependency relationships between your application components and the various IREP libraries:

digraph { irep [shape=record, label="{libIR.a}"] "app" -> "liba" "app" -> "libb" "libapp-wkt.a" [shape=record, label="{libapp-wkt.a | {wkt_app.h}}"] "libapp-wkt-index.a" [shape=record, label="{libapp-wkt-index.a | {wkt_app.h}}"] "app" -> "liba" "app" -> "libb" "app" -> "irep" "app" -> "libapp-wkt.a" "app" -> "libapp-wkt-index.a" }

Adding components to larger applications

IREP is designed to be modular, so that different components in an application can define different parts of an input format, or so that components can share an input format. Suppose that you want to introduce wkt_physics.h and wkt_geometry.h that define settings for physics and geometry in your application, and in liba and libb. That is, app, liba, and libb need to include these headers and access data from these parts of the input format.

To deal with this, you need only introduce one more WKT library, and include the new headers in your WKT index. Let’s call it libshared-wkt.a, as it is shared by all three of your app’s components. Here are the new dependency relationships:

digraph { irep [shape=record, label="{libIR.a}"] "libshared-wkt.a" [shape=record, label="{libshared-wkt.a | {wkt_physics.h} | {wkt_geometry.h}}"] "libapp-wkt.a" [shape=record, label="{libapp-wkt.a | {wkt_app.h}}"] "libapp-wkt-index.a" [shape=record, label="{libapp-wkt-index.a | {wkt_app.h} | {wkt_physics.h} | {wkt_geometry.h}}"] "app" -> "liba" "app" -> "libb" "app" -> "irep" "app" -> "libapp-wkt.a" "app" -> "libapp-wkt-index.a" "app" -> "libshared-wkt.a" "liba" -> "libshared-wkt.a" "liba" -> "irep" "libb" -> "libshared-wkt.a" "libb" -> "irep" }

All the dependencies that were present when only app was using IREP are still there, but now all components need to link to libIR.a (so that they can call routines like ir_read()), and all components link to libshared-wkt.a, as it contains the struct definitions for the new WKTs. Generating WKT libraries also creates the Fortran .mod files needed to include WKT headers into Fortran programs.

libapp-wkt-index.a has now expanded – it is now generated from wkt_app.h, wkt_physics.h, and wkt_geometry.h – all the WKTs known to any part of the application. Again, this is necessary because this library tells ir_read() where to find data. Without it, ir_read() cannot look up IREP fields by name.

If you expand your application to include more components, you can add new WKT libraries as needed by new components, and you’ll need to remember to update the list of WKTs the index with each new component.

Build system integration

It may seem daunting to write the code for these libraries, but IREP includes integration for GNU Make and for CMake that makes it simple to create them.

GNU Make

To use IREP from GNU make, you simply import the file that comes with IREP, and it defines implicit rules for building WKT and WKT index libraries. You need only say what to build and what source files (WKT headers) to include.

Let’s look at an example GNUMakefile based on our example above. Assume that irep.root is set to the path to your IREP installation:

# include this file to use IREP's gmake integration
include $(irep.root)/share/irep/

# define the libraries you want with -wkt.a and -wkt-index.a suffixes
all: libapp-wkt.a libapp-wkt-index.a

# index libraries must define <name>.wkt_index_src to include all WKT
# headers from the application
app.wkt_index_src = wkt_app.h wkt_physics.h wkt_geometry.h

# WKT libraries need <name>.wkt_src defined.
# libshared-wkt.a (w/geometry and physics) would be defined elsewhere
app.wkt_src = wkt_app.h

# You can add defines to CPPFLAGS so that WKT headers can use them
# You must export CPPFLAGS so that irep-generate can see it.
CPPFLAGS += -DSPECIAL_OPTION -I$(shared_wkt_dir)

# this rule cleans up the generated .a, .f, .o, and .mod files
.PHONY: clean
    rm -f *.[afo] *.mod

If you only wanted to generate a WKT library, you could remove the required libapp-wkt-index.a target and not set app.wkt_index.src.

The Makefile above generates the libraries for you, but you’ll still need to ensure that they and libIR.a are linked into your application.


To use IREP from CMake, you’ll first need to include the IREP directory in CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH. You probably want to include this on the command line when you invoke cmake, like this:

$ cmake -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/path/to/irep;/other/path ...

Once that is done, you’ll be able to call find_package(irep) in your CMake code. This will import two useful CMake functions: add_wkt_library() and add_wkt_index_library(). Here’s a CMake example that is equivalent to the GMake one above:

# find irep
find_package(irep REQUIRED)

add_wkt_library(app-wkt wkt_app.h)
target_include_directories(app-wkt PUBLIC -I${shared_wkt_dir})
target_compile_definitions(app-wkt PUBLIC -DSPECIAL_OPTION)

add_wkt_index_library(app-wkt-index wkt_app.h wkt_physics.h wkt_geometry.h)
target_include_directories(app-wkt-index PUBLIC -I${shared_wkt_dir})
target_compile_definitions(app-wkt-index PUBLIC -DSPECIAL_OPTION)

The libraries are created as CMake targets with calls to add_wkt_library() and add_wkt_index_library(), and what was handled with CPPFLAGS in GMake is handled for each library with target_include_directories and target_compile_definitions.

Now you can use the app-wkt and app-wkt-index targets as you would any other in CMake – you’ll need to add them to your application to ensure that it links correctly.

The irep-generate command

You’ve already seen how IREP integrates with build systems, but if you need more than this, you can use the irep-generate command to handle all the magic yourself. and IREP’s CMake integration use this command to generate C and Fortran code for WKT and WKT index libraries. It is also used to generate documentation from WKT headers.

irep-generate usage is pretty simple – it looks like this:

./irep-generate --help
irep-generate [-h] [--mode PART] HEADERS

This script generates source code for IREP well-known-table (WKT)

Generated code is printed to standard out.

Positional Arguments:
  HEADERS            wkt_*.h files from which to generate code, e.g.:
                       wkt_geometry.h wkt_physics.h ...

Generation options
  --mode index       generate only index (default)
  --mode fortran     generate fortran module from a single wkt header
  --mode lua         generate loadable, nested lua tables
  --mode rst         generate restructured text (.rst) documentation

  --module-name      name for generated module (fortran mode only,
                     inferred from header name by default)

Documentation options (for use with --mode rst)
  --doc-dir DIR      documentation directory where we look for
                     details/intros for WKTs (default: .)

Environment variables:
  CPP                C preprocessor to use (default gcc -E)
  CPPFLAGS           flags for the C preprocessor

  -h, --help         display this message

irep-generate can be used to translate wkt*.h files into C, Fortran, Lua code, and it can also generate RST documentation. The particular mode of generation used is controlled by the --mode flag.

The most interesting options here are --mode index and --mode fortran.

Fortran generation


$ irep-generate --mode fortran wkt_foo.h

will generate wkt_foo.f, which can be compiled into a Fortran .mod file and a .o file. The .o file contains the definition for the table structures, and the .mod file is includable by Fortran code. Createing a WKT library is just a matter of including all these .o files into a single library. So, WKT libraries just contain structure definitions for your IREP data – nothing else.

Index generation


$ irep-generate --mode index wkt_foo.h wkt_bar.h wkt_baz.h

Will generate C code that IREP uses to look up the location of fields from well known tables. This needs to be run on by each application using IREP, over all of the wkt*.h files included in that application. If WKT files are not included, bad things can happen, so you should ensure that you use the same CPPFLAGS and the same headers that you did when you generated your WKT libraries.

Controlling code generation

irep-generate invokes the C preprocessor to translate wkt_*.h files into something easy to parse. This adds some flexibility to the IREP model, because your table definitions can include other code, optional segments using #ifdef, etc. You can control how the preprocessor is invoked through the following environment variables:

  • CPP: Set this to the preprocessor you want to use. The default is gcc -E, but if you build with another compiler you may want to swap it in.

  • CPPFLAGS: To pass flags to irep-generate, you need only ensure that the standard CPPFLAGS variable is set when you run irep-generate. You can add -I and -D directives here.

As mentioned above, it is important to ensure that you use the same CPPFLAGS in all the places where you call irep-generate. Not doing so can cause IREP to be confused when it tries to find fields in its data structures.

Lua code generation


$ irep-generate --mode lua wkt_foo.h

Will generate importable Lua code for a WKT module. This is useful for seeing, in simple Lua tables, what the data looks like in a WKT. You can also use it to generate a skeleton input deck.