Configure & Build Cantera

These directions are for the current release of Cantera, version 2.4. For the development version, see these instructions.

Determine configuration options

  • Run scons help to see a list of all of the configuration options for Cantera, or see all of the options on the Configuration Options page.

  • Configuration options are specified as additional arguments to the scons command, e.g.:

    scons command option_name=value
    

    where scons is the program that manages the build steps, and command is most commonly one of

    • build
    • test
    • clean

    Other commands are possible, and are explained in the Build Commands section.

  • SCons saves configuration options specified on the command line in the file cantera.conf in the root directory of the source tree, so generally it is not necessary to respecify configuration options when rebuilding Cantera. To unset a previously set configuration option, either remove the corresponding line from cantera.conf or use the syntax:

    scons command option_name=
    
  • Sometimes, changes in your environment can cause SCons’s configuration tests (e.g., checking for libraries or compiler capabilities) to unexpectedly fail. To force SCons to re-run these tests rather than trusting the cached results, run scons with the option --config=force.

  • The following lists of options are not complete, they show only some commonly used options. The entire list of options can be found on the Configuration options page.

Common Options

General Python Module Options

By default, SCons will try to build the full Python interface for whichever version of Python is running SCons. This requires that NumPy is installed for that version of Python, and that Cython is installed for whichever Python is running SCons. The following SCons options control how the Python module is built:

Note that these general options should not be used at the same time as the Python-version specific options discussed below. If SCons detects that it is being run with Python 2, and the python2_package option is set, the build will raise an error and exit; or if SCons detects that it is being run with Python 3, and the python3_package option is set, the build will raise an error and exit.

If a user wishes to build multiple Python interfaces, or a Python interface for the version of Python that is not running SCons, they should use the version-specific options below, and set the python_package option to none.

Python 2 Module Options

By default, if SCons detects a Python 2 interpreter installed in a default location (i.e., python2 is on the PATH environment variable) or python2_package is full, SCons will try to build the Python module for Python 2. The following SCons options control how the Python 2 module is built:

Python 3 Module Options

By default, if SCons detects a Python 3 interpreter installed in a default location (i.e., python3 is on the PATH environment variable) or python3_package is full, SCons will try to build the Python module for Python 3. The following SCons options control how the Python 3 module is built:

Windows Only Options

Note

The cantera.conf file uses the backslash character \ as an escape character. When modifying this file, backslashes in paths need to be escaped like this: boost_inc_dir = 'C:\\Program Files (x86)\\boost\\include' This does not apply to paths specified on the command line. Alternatively, you can use forward slashes (/) in paths.

  • In Windows there aren’t any proper default locations for many of the packages that Cantera depends on, so you will need to specify these paths explicitly.

  • Remember to put double quotes around any paths with spaces in them, e.g. "C:\Program Files".

  • By default, SCons attempts to use the same architecture as the copy of Python that is running SCons, and the most recent installed version of the Visual Studio compiler. If you aren’t building the Python module, you can override this with the configuration options target_arch and msvc_version.

  • To compile with MinGW, specify the toolchain option:

    toolchain=mingw
    
  • msvc_version

  • target_arch

  • toolchain

MATLAB Toolbox Options

Building the MATLAB toolbox requires an installed copy of MATLAB, and the path to the directory where MATLAB is installed must be specified using the following option:

Fortran Module Options

Building the Fortran module requires a compatible Fortran comiler. SCons will attempt to find a compatible compiler by default in the PATH environment variable. The following options control how the Fortran module is built:

Documentation Options

The following options control if the documentation is built:

Less Common Options

Build Commands

The following options are possible as commands to SCons, i.e., the first argument after scons:

scons command
  • scons help
    Print a description of user-specifiable options.
  • scons build
    Compile Cantera and the language interfaces using default options.
  • scons clean
    Delete files created while building Cantera.
  • [sudo] scons install
    Install Cantera.
  • [sudo] scons uninstall
    Uninstall Cantera.
  • scons test
    Run all tests which did not previously pass or for which the results may have changed.
  • scons test-reset
    Reset the passing status of all tests.
  • scons test-clean
    Delete files created while running the tests.
  • scons test-help
    List available tests.
  • scons test-NAME
    Run the test named NAME.
  • scons <command> dump
    Dump the state of the SCons environment to the screen instead of doing <command>, e.g. scons build dump. For debugging purposes.
  • scons samples
    Compile the C++ and Fortran samples.
  • scons msi
    Build a Windows installer (.msi) for Cantera.
  • scons sphinx
    Build the Sphinx documentation
  • scons doxygen
    Build the Doxygen documentation

Compile Cantera & Test

  • Run SCons with the list of desired configuration options:

    scons build ...
    

Caution!

If you are compiling with a version of SCons installed by Homebrew on macOS, the appropriate way to perform any commands with SCons is

python3 /usr/local/bin/scons command ...

This ensures that the dependencies are chosen from the correct version of Python.

  • If Cantera compiles successfully, you should see a message that looks like:

    *******************************************************
    Compilation completed successfully.
    
    - To run the test suite, type 'scons test'.
    - To install, type '[sudo] scons install'.
    *******************************************************
    
  • If you do not see this message, check the output for errors to see what went wrong.

  • Cantera has a series of tests that can be run with the command:

scons test
  • When the tests finish, you should see a summary indicating the number of tests that passed and failed.
  • If you have tests that fail, try looking at the following to determine the source of the error:
    • Messages printed to the console while running scons test
    • Output files generated by the tests

Building Documentation

To build the Cantera HTML documentation, run the commands:

scons doxygen
scons sphinx

or append the options sphinx_docs=y and doxygen_docs=y to the build command:

scons build doxygen_docs=y sphinx_docs=y