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CMake on STM32 | Episode 1: the beginning

pgradot profile image Pierre Gradot Updated on ・17 min read

This article is the first of a series dealing with CMake and STM32 microcontrollers. In fact, it is more about CMake on MCUs but I had to pick one for the examples.

Episodes

Why CMake? Why STM32?

CMake is becoming the de-facto standard tool to build C and C++ projects. It is becoming so popular that it will probably be the build tool for Qt6:

For Qt 6, we aim to use CMake as a standard 3rd party build system to build Qt itself. CMake is by far the most widely used build system in the C++ world, and better integration with it is sorely needed.

STM32 is a family of 32-bit processors by ST-Microelectronics, based on ARM Cortex-M designs. I have been using MCUs from this family for years now, which is a good reason to use them here. Another good reason is because ST provides cheap and efficient demo boards. In the following, I will use the NUCLEO-F413ZH demo board (which costs about 25 €).

You can use other demo boards from ST (with few modifications). In fact you can use any board from any vendor (with more modifications). For instance, a few years ago, I used CMake with the MSP-EXP430G2 LaunchPad Development kit from Texas Instruments.

I will do my best to:

  • to use modern CMake techniques but I don't consider myself as a CMake guru
  • to explain each piece of my CMake scripts but I will assume that you know the basics

Let the journey begin!

Software to install

You will of course need CMake and arm-none-eabi-gcc toolchain. Both software must be available from the PATH :

λ cmake --version
cmake version 3.15.3

CMake suite maintained and supported by Kitware (kitware.com/cmake).

λ arm-none-eabi-gcc --version
arm-none-eabi-gcc (GNU Tools for Arm Embedded Processors 9-2019-q4-major) 9.2.1 20191025 (release) [ARM/arm-9-branch revision 277599]
Copyright (C) 2019 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions.  There is NO
warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
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Other software that you may need or find useful:

  • mingw64 is a Windows port of the GNU Compiler Collection as the GNU Binutils. It is helpful to build Makefiles.
  • STM32CubeMX is a "graphical tool that allows a very easy configuration of STM32 microcontrollers and microprocessors, as well as the generation of the corresponding initialization C code" provided by ST. This is the easy way to get a working BSP (board support package) for the Nucleo board.
  • STM32 ST-LINK utility is a "full-featured software interface for programming STM32 microcontrollers" provided by ST. Give it an hex or bin file, it will program the Nucleo board with it.
  • λ Cmder is a "portable console emulator for Windows". I have been using it for years to have a correct command-line on Windows.

Create the BSP

Here is how to use STM32CubeMX to create a working BSP for the Nucleo board.

On the home, go File, New Project and to select Nucleo-F413ZH in the Bord Selector tab:

stm32cubemx_select_board

Click Start Project on the top right corner of the screen and accept the default modes:

stm32cubemx_default_modes

Don't modify the MCU configuration, simply go the Project Manager:

stm32cubemx_project_manager

Finally, click on Generate project :

stm32cubemx_output

This is complete application and we can build it with make:

λ cd D:\cmake_stm32\BSP

λ mingw32-make.exe
mkdir build
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/main.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/main.lst Src/main.c -o build/main.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_it.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_it.lst Src/stm32f4xx_it.c -o build/stm32f4xx_it.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_msp.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_msp.lst Src/stm32f4xx_hal_msp.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_msp.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_tim.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_tim.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_tim.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_tim.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_tim_ex.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_tim_ex.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_tim_ex.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_tim_ex.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_uart.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_uart.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_uart.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_uart.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_rcc.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_rcc.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_rcc.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_rcc.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_rcc_ex.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_rcc_ex.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_rcc_ex.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_rcc_ex.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_flash.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_flash.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_flash.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_flash.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_flash_ex.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_flash_ex.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_flash_ex.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_flash_ex.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_flash_ramfunc.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_flash_ramfunc.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_flash_ramfunc.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_flash_ramfunc.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_gpio.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_gpio.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_gpio.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_gpio.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_dma_ex.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_dma_ex.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_dma_ex.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_dma_ex.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_dma.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_dma.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_dma.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_dma.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_pwr.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_pwr.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_pwr.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_pwr.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_pwr_ex.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_pwr_ex.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_pwr_ex.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_pwr_ex.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_cortex.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_cortex.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_cortex.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_cortex.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_exti.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_exti.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_exti.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_exti.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_pcd.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_pcd.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_pcd.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_pcd.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_hal_pcd_ex.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_hal_pcd_ex.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_pcd_ex.c -o build/stm32f4xx_hal_pcd_ex.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/stm32f4xx_ll_usb.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/stm32f4xx_ll_usb.lst Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_ll_usb.c -o build/stm32f4xx_ll_usb.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/system_stm32f4xx.d" -Wa,-a,-ad,-alms=build/system_stm32f4xx.lst Src/system_stm32f4xx.c -o build/system_stm32f4xx.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc -x assembler-with-cpp -c -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER -DSTM32F413xx -IInc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc -IDrivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc/Legacy -IDrivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -IDrivers/CMSIS/Include -Og -Wall -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -g -gdwarf-2 -MMD -MP -MF"build/startup_stm32f413xx.d" startup_stm32f413xx.s -o build/startup_stm32f413xx.o
arm-none-eabi-gcc build/main.o build/stm32f4xx_it.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_msp.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_tim.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_tim_ex.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_uart.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_rcc.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_rcc_ex.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_flash.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_flash_ex.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_flash_ramfunc.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_gpio.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_dma_ex.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_dma.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_pwr.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_pwr_ex.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_cortex.o build/stm32f4xx_hal.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_exti.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_pcd.o build/stm32f4xx_hal_pcd_ex.o build/stm32f4xx_ll_usb.o build/system_stm32f4xx.o build/startup_stm32f413xx.o -mcpu=cortex-m4 -mthumb -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16 -mfloat-abi=hard -specs=nano.specs -TSTM32F413ZHTx_FLASH.ld  -lc -lm -lnosys  -Wl,-Map=build/BSP.map,--cref -Wl,--gc-sections -o build/BSP.elf
arm-none-eabi-size build/BSP.elf
   text    data     bss     dec     hex filename
   7564      20    2668   10252    280c build/BSP.elf
arm-none-eabi-objcopy -O ihex build/BSP.elf build/BSP.hex
arm-none-eabi-objcopy -O binary -S build/BSP.elf build/BSP.bin
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You can program the board using ST-Link Utility with BSP.hex or BSP.bin but this application does nothing, as you can see in main.c:

int main(void)
{
  // ...

  /* Infinite loop */
  /* USER CODE BEGIN WHILE */
  while (1)
  {
    /* USER CODE END WHILE */

    /* USER CODE BEGIN 3 */
  }
  /* USER CODE END 3 */
}
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The purpose of this article is just to compile the same application using CMake. Don't worry: later in this series we will blink some LEDs ;)

Create a minimalist CMake project

Do you know what's great with the Makefile generated by STM32CubeMX? It gives use all the information we need to create a minimalist CMakeLists.txt to build the same firmware for the Nucleo board: list of files to compile, macros definitions, compiler and linker options. Everything.

Well, in fact, the console output is enough to recreate a CMakeLists.txt that does the job:

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.15.3)

project(nucleo-f413zh)

enable_language(C ASM)
set(CMAKE_C_STANDARD 99)
set(CMAKE_C_STANDARD_REQUIRED ON)
set(CMAKE_C_EXTENSIONS OFF)


set(STM32CUBEMX_GENERATED_FILES

        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_tim.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_tim_ex.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_uart.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_rcc.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_rcc_ex.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_flash.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_flash_ex.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_flash_ramfunc.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_gpio.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_dma_ex.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_dma.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_pwr.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_pwr_ex.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_cortex.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_exti.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_pcd.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_pcd_ex.c
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_ll_usb.c

        BSP/Inc/main.h
        BSP/Inc/stm32f4xx_hal_conf.h
        BSP/Inc/stm32f4xx_it.h

        BSP/Src/main.c
        BSP/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_msp.c
        BSP/Src/stm32f4xx_it.c
        BSP/Src/system_stm32f4xx.c

        BSP/startup_stm32f413xx.s)

set(EXECUTABLE ${PROJECT_NAME}.out)

add_executable(${EXECUTABLE} ${STM32CUBEMX_GENERATED_FILES})

target_compile_definitions(${EXECUTABLE} PRIVATE
        -DUSE_HAL_DRIVER
        -DSTM32F413xx
        )

target_include_directories(${EXECUTABLE} PRIVATE
        BSP/Inc
        BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Inc
        BSP/Drivers/CMSIS/Device/ST/STM32F4xx/Include
        BSP/Drivers/CMSIS/Include
        )

target_compile_options(${EXECUTABLE} PRIVATE
        -mcpu=cortex-m4
        -mthumb
        -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16
        -mfloat-abi=hard

        -fdata-sections
        -ffunction-sections

        -Wall

        $<$<CONFIG:Debug>:-Og>
        )

target_link_options(${EXECUTABLE} PRIVATE
        -T${CMAKE_SOURCE_DIR}/BSP/STM32F413ZHTx_FLASH.ld
        -mcpu=cortex-m4
        -mthumb
        -mfpu=fpv4-sp-d16
        -mfloat-abi=hard
        -specs=nano.specs
        -lc
        -lm
        -lnosys
        -Wl,-Map=${PROJECT_NAME}.map,--cref
        -Wl,--gc-sections
        )

# Print executable size
add_custom_command(TARGET ${EXECUTABLE}
        POST_BUILD
        COMMAND arm-none-eabi-size ${EXECUTABLE})

# Create hex file
add_custom_command(TARGET ${EXECUTABLE}
        POST_BUILD
        COMMAND arm-none-eabi-objcopy -O ihex ${EXECUTABLE} ${PROJECT_NAME}.hex
        COMMAND arm-none-eabi-objcopy -O binary ${EXECUTABLE} ${PROJECT_NAME}.bin)
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Here is quick summary:

  • Initialize project
  • Enable C and ASM and require to use C99 standard
  • Create a variable with the list of generated source files
  • add_executable() to create an executable with this list
  • target_compile_definitions() to add macro definitions
  • target_include_directories() to configure the compiler's include path
  • target_compile_options() to set the compiler's options
  • target_link_options() to set the linker's options
  • add_custom_command() to add two post-build actions:
    1. Print the size of the executable with arm-none-eabi-size
    2. Create hex and bin files with arm-none-eabi-objcopy

Everything is pretty self-explanatory, except maybe:

$<$<CONFIG:Debug>:-Og>
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This is a generator-expression.
Generator expressions are as ugly (IMHO) as they are powerful. What does this one mean? If CONFIG is Debug, then add option -Og, otherwise add nothing. Noice!

Toolchain file

CMake assumes it is cross-compiling when a toolchain file is specified. For ARM GCC, I used this file:

set(CMAKE_SYSTEM_NAME Generic)
set(CMAKE_SYSTEM_PROCESSOR ARM)

if(MINGW OR CYGWIN OR WIN32)
    set(UTIL_SEARCH_CMD where)
elseif(UNIX OR APPLE)
    set(UTIL_SEARCH_CMD which)
endif()

set(TOOLCHAIN_PREFIX arm-none-eabi-)

execute_process(
  COMMAND ${UTIL_SEARCH_CMD} ${TOOLCHAIN_PREFIX}gcc
  OUTPUT_VARIABLE BINUTILS_PATH
  OUTPUT_STRIP_TRAILING_WHITESPACE
)

get_filename_component(ARM_TOOLCHAIN_DIR ${BINUTILS_PATH} DIRECTORY)
set(CMAKE_TRY_COMPILE_TARGET_TYPE STATIC_LIBRARY)

set(CMAKE_C_COMPILER ${TOOLCHAIN_PREFIX}gcc)
set(CMAKE_ASM_COMPILER ${CMAKE_C_COMPILER})
set(CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER ${TOOLCHAIN_PREFIX}g++)

set(CMAKE_OBJCOPY ${ARM_TOOLCHAIN_DIR}/${TOOLCHAIN_PREFIX}objcopy CACHE INTERNAL "objcopy tool")
set(CMAKE_SIZE_UTIL ${ARM_TOOLCHAIN_DIR}/${TOOLCHAIN_PREFIX}size CACHE INTERNAL "size tool")

set(CMAKE_FIND_ROOT_PATH ${BINUTILS_PATH})
set(CMAKE_FIND_ROOT_PATH_MODE_PROGRAM NEVER)
set(CMAKE_FIND_ROOT_PATH_MODE_LIBRARY ONLY)
set(CMAKE_FIND_ROOT_PATH_MODE_INCLUDE ONLY)
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Save this code to a file named arm-none-eabi-gcc.cmake, next to your CMakeLists.txt.

Build project from the command line

Let's now build this CMake project.

"Out-of-source" builds are probably
the best way to work with CMake because it allows you to have several configurations at once (debug and release for instance).
I generally create a subdirectory in my project to generate CMake files:

λ mkdir cmake-build-debug
λ cd cmake-build-debug
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We will ask CMake to generate MinGW Makefiles and :

  • to use the arm-none-eabi-gcc toolchain file so that compiler for ARM is used (otherwise Windows compiler would be selected).
  • to create a DEBUG configuration (otherwise some weird default build type is used).
λ cmake -G "MinGW Makefiles" -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=../arm-none-eabi-gcc.cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug ..
-- The C compiler identification is GNU 9.2.1
-- The CXX compiler identification is GNU 9.2.1
-- Check for working C compiler: C:/Program Files (x86)/GNU Tools ARM Embedded/9 2019-q4-major/bin/arm-none-eabi-gcc.exe
-- Check for working C compiler: C:/Program Files (x86)/GNU Tools ARM Embedded/9 2019-q4-major/bin/arm-none-eabi-gcc.exe -- works
-- Detecting C compiler ABI info
-- Detecting C compiler ABI info - done
-- Detecting C compile features
-- Detecting C compile features - done
-- Check for working CXX compiler: C:/Program Files (x86)/GNU Tools ARM Embedded/9 2019-q4-major/bin/arm-none-eabi-g++.exe
-- Check for working CXX compiler: C:/Program Files (x86)/GNU Tools ARM Embedded/9 2019-q4-major/bin/arm-none-eabi-g++.exe -- works
-- Detecting CXX compiler ABI info - done
-- Detecting CXX compile features
-- Detecting CXX compile features - done
-- The ASM compiler identification is GNU
-- Found assembler: C:/Program Files (x86)/GNU Tools ARM Embedded/9 2019-q4-major/bin/arm-none-eabi-gcc.exe
-- Configuring done
-- Build files have been written to: D:/cmake_stm32//cmake-build-debug

λ ls
cmake_install.cmake  CMakeCache.txt  CMakeFiles/  Makefile
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Finally, we build the application :

λ cmake --build . -- -j 4
mingw32-make[1]: Entering directory 'D:/cmake_stm32//cmake-build-debug'
mingw32-make[2]: Entering directory 'D:/cmake_stm32//cmake-build-debug'
Scanning dependencies of target nucleo-f413zh.out
mingw32-make[2]: Leaving directory 'D:/cmake_stm32//cmake-build-debug'
mingw32-make[2]: Entering directory 'D:/cmake_stm32//cmake-build-debug'
[  4%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_tim.c.obj
[  8%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_tim_ex.c.obj
[ 12%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_uart.c.obj
[ 16%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_rcc.c.obj
[ 20%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_rcc_ex.c.obj
[ 24%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_flash.c.obj
[ 28%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_flash_ex.c.obj
[ 32%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_flash_ramfunc.c.obj
[ 36%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_gpio.c.obj
[ 40%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_dma_ex.c.obj
[ 44%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_dma.c.obj
[ 48%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_pwr.c.obj
[ 52%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_pwr_ex.c.obj
[ 56%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_cortex.c.obj
[ 60%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal.c.obj
[ 64%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_exti.c.obj
[ 68%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_pcd.c.obj
[ 72%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_pcd_ex.c.obj
[ 76%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Drivers/STM32F4xx_HAL_Driver/Src/stm32f4xx_ll_usb.c.obj
[ 80%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Src/main.c.obj
[ 84%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Src/stm32f4xx_hal_msp.c.obj
[ 88%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Src/stm32f4xx_it.c.obj
[ 92%] Building C object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/Src/system_stm32f4xx.c.obj
[ 96%] Building ASM object CMakeFiles/nucleo-f413zh.out.dir/BSP/startup_stm32f413xx.s.obj
[100%] Linking C executable nucleo-f413zh.out
   text    data     bss     dec     hex filename
   7564      20    2668   10252    280c nucleo-f413zh.out
mingw32-make[2]: Leaving directory 'D:/cmake_stm32//cmake-build-debug'
[100%] Built target nucleo-f413zh.out
mingw32-make[1]: Leaving directory 'D:/cmake_stm32//cmake-build-debug'
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Et voilà! arm-none-eabi-size outputs the same size as ST's generated Makefile. Hence it is pretty sure that both projects generate the same firmware.

Nevertheless the bin files generated by CMake and by STM32CubeMX's Makefile are not the same even if they have the same sizes:

λ diff BSP\build\BSP.bin cmake-build-debug\nucleo-f413zh.bin
Binary files BSP\build\BSP.bin and cmake-build-debug\nucleo-f413zh.bin differ

λ ls -l BSP\build\BSP.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 z19100018 1049089 7584 avr.  11 16:26 'BSP\build\BSP.bin'

λ ls -l cmake-build-debug\nucleo-f413zh.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 z19100018 1049089 7584 avr.  11 16:11 'cmake-build-debug\nucleo-f413zh.bin'
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Explanation? Sections are probably laid out differently by the linker because we don't control the order of the files.

The same applies to the hex files.

Conclusion

In this article we used ST's tools to generated the BSP for the NUCLEO-F413ZH and we create a CMake project to build the firmware.

We know have everything we know to continue our journey!

What's next? Well, we may play with C++, use an IDE such as Clion that supports CMake right away, or have some unit tests for our code!

P.S.

Since I wrote this article, I have discovered a great linker flag: -Wl,--print-memory-usage. Here is an example of its output, followed by the output of arm-none-eabi-size:

[ 14%] Linking CXX executable a.out
Memory region         Used Size  Region Size  %age Used
             RAM:      200384 B       320 KB     61.15%
           FLASH:      498468 B       640 KB     76.06%
   text    data     bss     dec     hex filename
 496308    2152  198360  696820   aa1f4 a.out
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Discussion (7)

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gberthiaume profile image
G. Berthiaume

I was not expecting to see such a high quality embedded post on dev.to.
Your Cmake is great:
[X] Using the target_* API
[X] Using toolchain file
[X] Almost no set() variable
[X] No glob
[X] Generator expression
[X] Support windows and posix
[X] add_custom_command

I'd like to see more advanced compiler flag configuration. Also how about adding unit tests? Or supporting gdb?

Merci et bonne journée!

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pgradot profile image
Pierre Gradot Author • Edited

Woh! This comment made my day! ❤️

For more advanced compiler flags: have you read other episodes in the series? See the table at the beginning of this article.

I have planned to write another episode about running unit tests on your computer. I don't know when I will do it.

I have not planned to talk about GDB:

  • I don't see any particular reason to call it from the command line with CMake in particular (it would be simply a target to debug the software)
  • CLion allows to debug the application with GDB.

Bonne journée :)

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thebruce87m profile image
thebruce87m

Not an expert, but stumbled about some errors in my own project to find some workarounds below.

For anyone else having problems with "undefined reference to ... _close, _lseek" etc, remove the "enable_language(C ASM)" line.

This seems to be an issue of libg_nano.a vs liba_nano.a - with the line in it seems to use libg_nano.a and you get the linker errors.

Alternatively, changing "-specs=nano.specs" to "-specs=nosys.specs".

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pgradot profile image
Pierre Gradot Author

Errors like these are indeed caused by variations in the standard libraries. I am not familiar with specs files, so fixing them is a bit like coin-flipping for me ;)

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dancollins_171 profile image
Dan Collins

This post was awesome! I've made many STM32 projects with SCons and with GNU Make, and this shows how easy it could be for me to transition!

CMake is great for me, as it can generate outputs for language servers which can then hook into emacs (or Visual Studio Code if that's your thing). I think this will allow me to have a bit more of a modern feel :D

I'll be reading your follow-ups next!

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wastus profile image
Bernhard Weller

Thanks for this, I tried to follow other tutorials, but those were focused on a lot of other things than compiling and linking so this was a very good start to finally get something built.

I use globbing, but that comes down to personal preference (it has its pros and cons).

Not quite sure why that happens, but I got an extension of .elf so I used:
set_target_properties(${EXECUTABLE} PROPERTIES
SUFFIX ".out"
)
To actually get an .out file.

Now I just have to adjust some things, but it's looking much better.

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pgradot profile image
Pierre Gradot Author

You're welcome :)

Globbing has its advantages, no doubts! My experience proved that you end up excluding some files from the result list and you get back to list your files by hand ^^

Nevertheless, they are good for instance to get a set of generated files when these numbers of files and their names is not known in advance.

I believe *.elf is the default extension for GCC generated software. Nice trick ;)

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