How to build Skia
Make sure you have first followed the instructions to download Skia.
Skia uses GN to configure its builds.
is_official_build and Third-party Dependencies
Most users of Skia should set
is_official_build=true, and most developers
should leave it to its
This mode configures Skia in a way that’s suitable to ship: an optimized build with no debug symbols, dynamically linked against its third-party dependencies using the ordinary library search path.
In contrast, the developer-oriented default is an unoptimized build with full debug symbols and all third-party dependencies built from source and embedded into libskia. This is how do all our manual and automated testing.
Skia offers several features that make use of third-party libraries, like
libpng, libwebp, or libjpeg-turbo to decode images, or ICU and sftnly to subset
fonts. All these third-party dependencies are optional and can be controlled
by a GN argument that looks something like
skia_use_foo for appropriate
skia_use_foo is enabled, enabling
skia_use_system_foo will build and
link Skia against the headers and libaries found on the system paths.
is_official_build=true enables all
skia_use_system_foo by default. You can
extra_ldflags to add include or library paths if
Run GN to generate your build files.
bin/gn gen out/Static --args='is_official_build=true' bin/gn gen out/Shared --args='is_official_build=true is_component_build=true'
If you find you don’t have
bin/gn, make sure you’ve run
GN allows fine-grained settings for developers and special situations.
bin/gn gen out/Debug bin/gn gen out/Release --args='is_debug=false' bin/gn gen out/Clang --args='cc="clang" cxx="clang++"' bin/gn gen out/Cached --args='cc_wrapper="ccache"' bin/gn gen out/RTTI --args='extra_cflags_cc=["-frtti"]'
To see all the arguments available, you can run
bin/gn args out/Debug --list
Having generated your build files, run Ninja to compile and link Skia.
ninja -C out/Static ninja -C out/Shared ninja -C out/Debug ninja -C out/Release ninja -C out/Clang ninja -C out/Cached ninja -C out/RTTI
To build Skia for Android you need an Android NDK.
If you do not have an NDK and have access to CIPD, you can use one of these commands to fetch the NDK our bots use:
python infra/bots/assets/android_ndk_linux/download.py -t /tmp/ndk python infra/bots/assets/android_ndk_darwin/download.py -t /tmp/ndk python infra/bots/assets/android_ndk_windows/download.py -t C:/ndk
When generating your GN build files, pass the path to your
ndk and your
bin/gn gen out/arm --args='ndk="/tmp/ndk" target_cpu="arm"' bin/gn gen out/arm64 --args='ndk="/tmp/ndk" target_cpu="arm64"' bin/gn gen out/mips64el --args='ndk="/tmp/ndk" target_cpu="mips64el"' bin/gn gen out/mipsel --args='ndk="/tmp/ndk" target_cpu="mipsel"' bin/gn gen out/x64 --args='ndk="/tmp/ndk" target_cpu="x64"' bin/gn gen out/x86 --args='ndk="/tmp/ndk" target_cpu="x86"'
Other arguments like
is_component_build continue to work.
ndk_api gives you access to newer Android features like Vulkan.
To test on an Android device, push the binary and
and run it as normal. You may find
ninja -C out/arm64 adb push out/arm64/dm /data/local/tmp adb push resources /data/local/tmp adb shell "cd /data/local/tmp; ./dm --src gm --config gl"
Mac users may want to pass
bin/gn gen to generate an Xcode project.
Run GN to generate your build files. Set
target_os="ios" to build for iOS.
This defaults to
x64 targets the iOS simulator.
bin/gn gen out/ios64 --args='target_os="ios"' bin/gn gen out/ios32 --args='target_os="ios" target_cpu="arm"' bin/gn gen out/iossim --args='target_os="ios" target_cpu="x64"'
Googlers who want to sign and run iOS test binaries can do so by running something like
python gn/package_ios.py out/Debug/dm python gn/package_ios.py out/Release/nanobench
These commands will create and sign
nanobench.app packages you
can push to iOS devices registered for Google development.
installing and running these packages easy:
ios-deploy -b out/Debug/dm.app -d --args "--match foo"
If you find yourself missing a Google signing identity or provisioning profile, you’ll want to have a read through go/appledev.
Skia can build on Windows with Visual Studio 2015 Update 3, or Visual Studio
2017 by setting
msvc = 2017 in GN. No older versions are supported. The bots
use a packaged 2015 toolchain, which Googlers can download like this:
python infra/bots/assets/win_toolchain/download.py -t C:/toolchain
If you pass that downloaded path to GN via
windk, you can build using that
toolchain instead of your own from Visual Studio. This toolchain is the only
way we support 32-bit builds with 2015, by also setting
32-bit builds should work with the default 2017 install if you follow the
directions GN prints to set up your environment.
Visual Studio Solutions
If you use Visual Studio, you may want to pass
bin/gn gen to
all.sln. That solution will exist within the GN directory for the
specific configuration, and will only build/run that configuration.
If you want a Visual Studio Solution that supports multiple GN configurations,
there is a helper script. It requires that all of your GN directories be inside
out directory. First, create all of your GN configurations as usual.
--ide=vs when running
bin/gn gen for each one. Then:
This creates a new dedicated output directory and solution file
out/sln/skia.sln. It has one solution configuration for each GN configuration,
and supports building and running any of them. It also adjusts syntax highlighting
of inactive code blocks based on preprocessor definitions from the selected
We have added a GN-to-CMake translator mainly for use with IDEs that like CMake project descriptions. This is not meant for any purpose beyond development.
bin/gn gen out/config --ide=json --json-ide-script=../../gn/gn_to_cmake.py