Create a new plugin via CMake

Plugins for itom are also created using CMake. Therefore the sources and the project files of the plugins will also be separated, like it is also the case for itom, the designer plugins and all other plugins. You can either put your source files in any subfolder of the location where all sources of your plugins lie or you can put it at any arbitrary location on your harddrive.

The source folder of your plugin mainly consists of these files:

  1. CMakeLists.txt. This is the project file of your plugin, where you insert the files that are included in your plugin or libraries, the plugin should link with. This file is finally interpreted by CMake in order to create the real project files, adapted to your generator (e.g. Visual Studio).
  2. yourPlugin.h and yourPlugin.cpp. This are the main header and source files of your plugin.
  3. dialogYourPlugin.h and dialogYourPlugin.cpp (optional, not for algorithms). Use these files if you want to provide a configuration dialog for your plugin (can also be added later).
  4. dockWidgetYourPlugin.h and dockWidgetYourPlugin.cpp (optional, not for algorithms). Use these files if you want to provide a dock widget of your plugin that is inserted into itom‘s main window (can also be added later).
  5. pluginVersion.h (optional). This header contains some defines for your current plugin version. It sould be included in yourPlugin.cpp and under MSVC / windows in version.rc.
  6. version.rc (optional, only under MSVC / windows). Under windows the content of this file will be automatically added to the meta-Data of your DLL.


You will find templates for the most important files needed for creating a new plugin in the folder pluginTemplates of the SDK-directory of itom.

Copy the file CMakeLists.txt from this template-directory and copy it to the source directory of your plugin. Open this file with an arbitrary editor. The commands, starting with #, give you hints where you need to adapt this file. Further details about the syntax of these files can be found under

Furthermore, you will find template implementations of an actuator, algorithm and camera plugin in the pluginTemplates folder. Copy the corresponding header and source file of your type into your source directory and start replacing the template strings by your versions, e.g. you need to change the name of your plugin hence the class names.

Generate project

If you placed the source files of your plugin into a subdirectory of an existing multi-plugin project, then you need to add the subfolder of your plugin into the file CMakeLists.txt of the parent-folder. This file usually already contains a lot of subdirectories, added by the CMake-command ADD_SUBDIRECTORY and has the following form:

project(itom_plugins) #name of the overall project

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 2.8)

OPTION(BUILD_UNICODE "Build with unicode charset if set to ON, else multibyte charset." ON)
OPTION(BUILD_SHARED_LIBS "Build shared library." ON)
OPTION(BUILD_TARGET64 "Build for 64 bit target if set to ON or 32 bit if set to OFF." OFF)
SET(ITOM_DIR "" CACHE PATH "base path to itom")

# Insert the following section for your plugin

# by this option, the plugin can be unchecked in order to
# avoid its generation in cmake.
OPTION(PLUGIN_YOURNAME "Build with this plugin." ON)

Then, reconfigure and regenerate the overall plugin project or simply run the project ZERO_CHECK of your overall plugin solution such that the new plugin is generated and added to the overall solution. If you have no idea about configuring and generating a CMake project, continue reading or check the big CMake-section about generating itom itself.

In order to generate your plugin as single solution, open the CMake GUI and choose the source directory of your plugin as source directory and any arbitrary folder as build directory. The solution and project files are then generated in this build directory.


Then click the configure button to start the configuration. At first, you will be asked for a generator. See Build with CMake for more information about generators.


Then, another configuration process is started. Usually, it is now necessary to set the variable ITOM_SDK_DIR to the directory of itom‘s SDK, usually located in itom‘s build directory. Then click configure again.


Next, you probably need to indicate the location of the build-directory of OpenCV on your harddrive (variable OpenCV_DIR in the group OpenCV or Ungrouped Entries if you activated the Grouped checkbox).


Continue clicking configure until there are no more warnings. Then you can press Generate in order to build the project files. Change then to the build-directory and open the recently build solution file. In you afterwards change the CMakeLists.txt-file, you don’t need to explicitly run the CMake-GUI again, since Visual Studio is also able to directly run CMake and update its project files.

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