4 releases (2 breaking)

0.3.0 Jun 10, 2022
0.2.1 Mar 21, 2022
0.2.0 Feb 28, 2022
0.1.0 Dec 3, 2021

#28 in Build Utils

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Used in 2 crates


6.5K SLoC

Rust 5.5K SLoC // 0.1% comments C++ 899 SLoC


CXX-Qt is a library that automatically generates code to transfer data between Rust and C++ through common interfaces such as QObjects that can be exposed directly into QML. It relies on the cxx crate internally to achieve this and thus it is recommended that any interactions with Qt that are not covered by the built-in code generators should be done directly in C++ and connected to relevant Rust logic by writing additional cxx code. The CXX-Qt build system is based on CMake, but is compatible with cxx on its own as well.

The examples folder contains an example application using the CXX-Qt crate and will be used for development and testing purposes. The cxx-qt folder contains the source for the actual crate which contains a proc-macro. The cxx-qt-gen folder contains the source for a crate which extracts and generates C++ and Rust source code. The cxx-qt-build folder contains the source for a crate which provides helper functions to be used in a build.rs file.

Initially the projects in the examples folder will also serve as a template for new projects should use CXX-Qt. In future we might improve upon this with a custom CMake module for instance.

Getting Started

If you want to use CXX-Qt and see it in action visit our Getting Started guide in our Rust book https://kdab.github.io/cxx-qt/book/getting-started/index.html.

Here we go through the steps of creating a Rust project and exposing to QML.

For more complex examples navigate to the examples folder where there are demonstrations of using threading, QQmlExtensionPlugin, and various other features.

Below is an example of Rust code that exposes a QObject with two properties and four invokable methods to Qt.

use cxx_qt::make_qobject;

mod my_object {
    use serde::{Deserialize, Serialize};

    const DEFAULT_STR: &str = r#"{"number": 1, "string": "Hello World!"}"#;

    #[derive(Deserialize, Serialize)]
    pub struct Data {
        number: i32,
        string: String,

    impl Default for Data {
        fn default() -> Self {

    struct RustObj;

    impl RustObj {
        fn increment(&self, cpp: &mut CppObj) {
            cpp.set_number(cpp.number() + 1);

        fn reset(&self, cpp: &mut CppObj) {
            let data: Data = serde_json::from_str(DEFAULT_STR).unwrap();

        fn serialize(&self, cpp: &mut CppObj) -> String {
            let data = Data::from(cpp);

        fn grab_values(&self, cpp: &mut CppObj) {
            let string = r#"{"number": 2, "string": "Goodbye!"}"#;
            let data: Data = serde_json::from_str(string).unwrap();

Contributing to CXX-Qt


Ensure that you have the following installed


In a CXX-Qt project, the build system is based on CMake, which uses Cargo under the hood. Therefore, unlike a typical Rust project, CMake must be used to build CXX-Qt.

On Windows and macOS, CXX-Qt defaults to installing Qt from vcpkg. Prebuilt packages are automatically downloaded from GitHub Packages (this will take several minutes the first time you run CMake). If you already have Qt installed, you can disable this by adding -D VCPKG=OFF to the CMake configure step (the first call to cmake).

CXX-Qt defaults to building with Qt6. If you want to build with Qt5 when both are installed, or you want to tell vcpkg to use Qt5, add -D QT_DEFAULT_MAJOR_VERSION=5 to the CMake configure step.

mkdir build/
cd build/
cmake ../
cmake --build . -j$(nproc)

Run the basic QML example



You can build the book using mdbook serve from the book folder, you should install mdbook and mdbook-linkcheck from cargo.


Testing assumes that cargo clippy and cargo fmt are available, you may need to install these with rustup component add clippy rustfmt.

For testing the book, it assumes that mdbook and mdbook-linkcheck from cargo have been installed.

For license and memory testing, it assumes that you have reuse installed (eg via pip3 install reuse) and valgrind.

cd build/
ctest -j$(nproc)


CXX-Qt is Copyright (C) 2021, Klarälvdalens Datakonsult AB, and is available under the terms of the MIT or the Apache-2.0 licenses.

Contact KDAB at info@kdab.com to inquire about additional features or services related to this project.

CXX-Qt includes these source files, also available under the terms of the MIT license:

The following CMake source files are available under the BSD-3-Clause

About KDAB

CXX-Qt is supported and maintained by Klarälvdalens Datakonsult AB (KDAB).

The KDAB Group is the global No.1 software consultancy for Qt, C++ and OpenGL applications across desktop, embedded and mobile platforms.

The KDAB Group provides consulting and mentoring for developing Qt applications from scratch and in porting from all popular and legacy frameworks to Qt. We continue to help develop parts of Qt and are one of the major contributors to the Qt Project. We can give advanced or standard trainings anywhere around the globe on Qt as well as C++, OpenGL, 3D and more.

Please visit https://www.kdab.com to meet the people who write code like this.


~18K SLoC