author Nicolas B. Pierron <>
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 10:14:40 +0000
changeset 472740 eac1b2073bf4985fa4d521bb952cc1305813d6f3
parent 450224 7e82384aac78784dc59277a87e5d919bfc06d67a
permissions -rw-r--r--
Bug 1456183 - Add gio-unix as part of the list of GTK dependencies. r=glandium

.. _gn:

GN support in the build system

:abbr:`GN (Generated Ninja)` is a third-party build tool used by chromium and
some related projects that are vendored in mozilla-central. Rather than
requiring ``GN`` to build or writing our own build definitions for these projects,
we have support in the build system for translating GN configuration
files into files. In most cases these files will be like any
others in the tree (except that they shouldn't be modified by hand), however
those updating vendored code or building on platforms not supported by
Mozilla automation may need to re-generate these files. This is a two-step
process, described below.

Generating GN configs as JSON

The first step must take place on a machine with access to the ``GN`` tool, which
is specified in a mozconfig with::

    export GN=<path/to/gn>

With this specified, and the tree configured, run::

    $ ./mach build-backend -b GnConfigGen

This will run ``gn gen`` on projects found in ``GN_DIRS`` specified in
files, injecting variables from the current build configuration and specifying
the result be written to a JSON file in ``$objdir/gn-output``. The file will
have a name derived from the arguments passed to ``gn gen``, for instance

If updating upstream sources or vendoring a new project, this step must be
performed for each supported build configuration. If adding support for a
specific configuration, the generated configuration may be added to existing
configs before re-generating the ```` files, which should be found under
the ``gn-configs`` directory under the vendored project's top-level directory.

Generating files from GN JSON configs

Once the relevant JSON configs are present under a project's ``gn-configs``
directory, run::

    $ ./mach build-backend -b GnMozbuildWriter

This will combine the configuration files present into a set of files
that will build the given project. Once the result is verified, the resulting files should be checked in and should build like any other part of