Documentation/Nightly/Developers/Build Module

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Build module outside of Slicer source tree

The different type of modules supported by Slicer can easily be built outside of the Slicer source tree.

Note: to build C++ modules you need to have built Slicer from source on your machine; they cannot be built against a binary download.

The following examples are specific to unix-like platforms and can easily be adapted for Windows.

Assuming the source code of your module is located in folder MyModule, externally building modules could be achieved doing:

$ mkdir MyModule-build
$ cd MyModule-build
$ cmake -DSlicer_DIR:PATH=/path/to/Slicer-Superbuild/Slicer-build ../MyModule
$ make

For this to work, in addition to invoke cmake_minimum_required at the top of the top-level CMakeLists.txt, it's important to make sure the following line are added after setting MODULE_NAME:

find_package(Slicer REQUIRED)

For example:

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 2.8.9)  <- - - - ADD THIS

find_package(Slicer COMPONENTS ConfigurePrerequisites)  <- - - - ADD THIS

project(EmptyExtensionTemplate) <- - - - ADD THIS



find_package(Slicer REQUIRED)  <- - - - - - - ADD THIS
include(${Slicer_USE_FILE})  <- - - - - - - - ADD THIS




After successfully compiling the Slicer module, the Slicer module executables and libraries are located in your module build directory under lib build_dir/lib/Slicer-X.Y/module_type. Adding this directory to the Additional module paths in the Application Settings GUI within slicer, will allow testing of your module without recompiling the super-build. Refer to Directory Structure description for more details.

Developer FAQ: Modules

Within a Slicer build-tree, where are located Slicer modules ?

Slicer module executables and libraries are located in your main Slicer build directory Slicer-Superbuild/Slicer-build. Refer to Directory Structure description for more details.

How to build module outside of Slicer source tree

Follow developers guide for building modules

How to modify local version of External module

Some Slicer modules (such as OpenIGTLink and OpenIGTLinkIF) are built as External git projects by CMake scripts in the Slicer/SuperBuild directory. The SuperBuild process may refresh from the repository unexpectedly, overwriting any local changes. To avoid this, comment out the git settings in the appropriate external build file while making local edits. For example, in SuperBuild/External_OpenIGTLinkIF.cmake:

     GIT_REPOSITORY "${git_protocol}://"
     GIT_TAG "f9b65b1ffd2992862025f3c6ec5fe30e6f5dd395"
     # GIT_REPOSITORY "${git_protocol}://"
     # GIT_TAG "f9b65b1ffd2992862025f3c6ec5fe30e6f5dd395"

How to call a CLI module from a C++ loadable module?


Example: vtkSlicerCropVolumeLogic.cxx#L318-351

How to call a CLI module from command-line?


   Slicer.exe --launch CastScalarVolume input.mha output.mha

Notes for windows:

  • Full name of the Slicer executable is required (Slicer.exe, not just Slicer)
  • To get help on command-line arguments the CLI module supports, run:
   Slicer.exe --launch CastScalarVolume 2>c:\SomeWriteAbleDirectory\usage.txt