In this series of blog post I am going to demo the combination of mainly two libraries / technologys which I came across recently and which I find very useful. I am going to use google protocol buffers (protobuf) together with MQTT ( paho mqtt lib). As the project evolves probably there will be other libraries to mention. My toolchain is as follows: CMake, Visual Studio 2010. The source code will be available on  my github repo [1]

building protocol buffers

We start with building protocol buffers. After downloading from their github repo [2] we find a CMakeLists.txt in the subfolder cmake.So we can run cmake-gui.exe and set the source dir to subfolder cmake.

Here are some hints:

  1. I recommend to create build directory as a subfolder named vsprojects, because it turns out that if we would like to use the built in cmake command find_package the default behaviour  is directed to this exact directory.
  2. there is a default option to select static linking to MS runtime libraries, that can cause   trouble when linking to protocol buffers in own projects. I prefer dynamically linking to runtime.
  3. if cloned from github the build test option does not work, because of missing gmock framework

So my cmake settings looks like this.


Then simply build release and debug configurations.

consuming protocol buffers

Conuming protocol buffers in your project is super easy. In our CMakeLists.txt we do

find_package(Protobuf REQUIRED)

That means after giving a hint to the root folder , find_package does the job and gives us PROTOBUF_INCLUDE_DIRS and PROTOBUF_LIBRARIES variables. The letter one will be
used for linker configuration later on.

building paho mqtt library

After downlading from the github repo [3] it turns out that they have cmake support to build the library. Unfortunately the cmake project generation is broken for Windows as noted in pull request #141. In addition to that the build is broken on older compilers like VS 2010 due to a style mixed declarations as noted in pull request #183. You can find the corrected CMakeLists.txt and source files in subfolder patches/paho on my github repro.

There is the opportunity to build the paho mqtt lib with SSL support which requires openSSL, but for now I leave it out.

consuming paho mqtt c library

The library comes in two flavours. One of which supports synchronous and one which deals with asynchronous operation. So for now we want to consume both and our CMakeLists.txt for that looks like :

find_library(PAHO_MQTT_SYNC_LIBRARY NAMES paho-mqtt3c.lib)
find_library(PAHO_MQTT_ASYNC_LIBRARY NAMES paho-mqtt3a.lib)


I showed to configure and build protobuf and paho lib for VS2010. I hope this gonna save someone extra time if doing the same. At the end of the day, I can use compile and link with the two libs in my own project with:

add_executable(ProtoMQTT main.cpp ${PROTO_SRCS})


references / further reading

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