NanoGUI uses a CMake build system to ensure portability. All dependencies are cloned and compiled in one batch, which should generally reduce the amount of configuration effort to zero. Assuming that NanoGUI was cloned into the current working directory, the following commands need to be executed:

# enter the top-level NanoGUI directory
$ cd nanogui

# make a build directory and enter that
$ mkdir build
$ cd build

# generate your Makefile
$ cmake ..

# now that you have a Makefile, use that to build
$ make -j 4

For Windows, the process is nearly the same:

# enter the top-level NanoGUI directory
$ cd nanogui

# make a build directory and enter that
$ mkdir build
$ cd build

# Specify VS Version AND 64bit, otherwise it defaults to 32.
# The version number and year may be different for you, Win64
# can be appended to any of them.
# 32 bit Windows builds are /not/ supported
$ cmake -G "Visual Studio 14 2015 Win64" ..

# Either open the .sln with Visual Studio, or run
$ cmake --build . --config Release

Default Configurations

By default, NanoGUI will

Impact / effect CMake Option
Build the example programs. NANOGUI_BUILD_EXAMPLE
Build as a shared library. NANOGUI_BUILD_SHARED
Build the Python plugins. NANOGUI_BUILD_PYTHON
Use GLAD if on Windows. NANOGUI_USE_GLAD
Generate an install target. NANOGUI_INSTALL

Users developing projects that reference NanoGUI as a git submodule (this is strongly encouraged) can set up the parent project’s CMake configuration file as follows (this assumes that nanogui lives in the directory ext/nanogui relative to the parent project):

# Disable building extras we won't need (pure C++ project)

# Add the configurations from nanogui

# For reliability of parallel build, make the NanoGUI targets dependencies
set_property(TARGET glfw glfw_objects nanogui PROPERTY FOLDER "dependencies")

Required Variables Exposed

Due to the nature of building an OpenGL application for different platforms, three variables are populated to allow for easy incorporation with your CMake build. After you have executed add_subdirectory as shown above, you will need to add the following (assuming the target you are building is called myTarget):

# Various preprocessor definitions have been generated by NanoGUI

# On top of adding the path to nanogui/include, you may need extras

# Compile a target using NanoGUI
add_executable(myTarget myTarget.cpp)

# Lastly, additional libraries may have been built for you.  In addition to linking
# against NanoGUI, we need to link against those as well.
target_link_libraries(myTarget nanogui ${NANOGUI_EXTRA_LIBS})

Compiling the Documentation

The documentation system relies on ‘Doxygen’, ‘Sphinx’, ‘Breathe’, and ‘Exhale’. It uses the ‘Read the Docs’ theme for the layout of the generated html. So you will need to first

  1. Install Doxygen for your operating system. On Unix based systems, this should be available through your package manager (apt-get, brew, dnf, etc).

  2. Install Sphinx, Breathe, and the theme:

    pip install breathe sphinx_rtd_theme

Now that you have the relevant tools, you can build the documentation with

# Enter the documentation directory
$ cd <path/to/nanogui>/docs

# Build the documentation
$ make html

The output will be generated in _build, the root html document is located at _build/html/index.html.


When building the documentation locally, there can be subtle differences in the rendered pages than what is hosted online. You should largely be able to ignore this.