Another month and another Conan release. This time we bring the 1.15 release with some interesting changes and hints about what is coming up next.

New settings compiler.cppstd to handle C++ standard

The Conan internal model takes care of the C++ standard too, up to this version it was possible to define a setting cppstd in the recipes and use it to generate different packages depending on its value. In this release, we keep this behavior for backward compatibility, but we have decided to move it to a subsetting under the compiler one.

There are two main motivations behind this change: being a subsetting of each compiler allow more fine-grained control over the values this setting can take for different compilers (i.e.: modern Visual Studio doesn’t have a flag for C++11, GNU compiler can activate extensions or not using gnu++17 or c++17); the other main motivation is that this will allow existing recipes to benefit from this subsetting (build helpers and generators will take it into account) without the need of modifying the recipe to explicitly add the cppstd setting.

Even though the cppstd setting is now deprecated, it will continue working the same for all the 1.x releases, nevertheless, we encourage our users to use the new setting and migrate existing recipes to adopt this new behavior (Conan will warn accordingly). Furthermore, the usage of the setting compiler.cppstd is not compatible with the deprecated cppstd, you cannot mix both of them.

To use compiler.cppstd you only need this subsetting available in your settings.yml file (the default provided by Conan already has current values) and you should provide a value for it in your profile or using the command line:


compiler=Visual Studio

Conan’s build helpers will take into account this value when calling to the compiler and Conan will generate a different package ID for each of the different values. If no value is given, the default for the given compiler version will be used and, by default, Conan will generate the same package ID as if that default value had been explicitly set (this package ID will also be the same as the one generated using the deprecated cppstd setting).

You have more information in this section of the docs and you can also check the new settings.yml file.

Deploy generator

It was a recurrent feature requested by users on how to extract the artifacts from the Conan cache to the userspace. There have been long discussions about the deploy() method and the need of having a default deploy behavior for every package. Although that is something we have not discarded, we wanted to explore another approach.

Currently, the recipe is the one that describes how a package is deployed and it makes sense: the package knows what are the artifacts needed for its deployment and the resources needed from its dependencies. However, there are scenarios where you may want to have the deployment logic separated from the recipe and the ability to deploy every package in the same way.

Following that rationale, we thought that that point of view was closer to the consumer side and letting they chose how the deployment should be done. Thanks to the feedback of users and proof-testing some ideas, we came out with the idea of deployment generators: Custom generator packages with the deployment logic that can be used to consume/deploy any existing package.

The deploy generator is just a Conan built-in one that copies the contents of package folder of every package in the dependency graph to the installation folder.

For example:

$ conan install paho-cpp/1.0.1@conan/stable -g deploy -if deployment
paho-c/1.3.0@conan/stable: Package installed 77ff8c6f250452f5f8a074c1c5192b5d1e08ca01
paho-c/1.3.0@conan/stable: Downloaded package revision 0
paho-cpp/1.0.1@conan/stable: Retrieving package 4afa3667876e410c5723826d8099526aa8c90bb1 from remote 'conan-center'
paho-cpp/1.0.1@conan/stable: Package installed 4afa3667876e410c5723826d8099526aa8c90bb1
paho-cpp/1.0.1@conan/stable: Downloaded package revision 0
Generator deploy created deploy_manifest.txt
Generator txt created conanbuildinfo.txt

Then, in the installation folder you will find the contents of the packages:

$ ls deployment
paho-cpp/  paho-c/  deploy_manifest.txt  conanbuildinfo.txt

In case you want to customize the deployment layout, you can create a custom script that copies the files from this basic layout to your custom one, or you could create your own generator.

Reusing source files through python requires

In Conan release 1.9 we introduced python requires as a way to reuse Python code from existing recipes, while in this release we are defining how to reuse source files too. We have added an explicit way of doing this through the python_requires attribute. One could use something like self.python_requires["pyreq"].exports_sources_folder to reuse the exported sources of a python require.

Moreover, if you want to reuse sources and inherit from base ConanFile, our recommendation is to follow this approach for the python require recipe: with a python require and a base ConanFile reusing a CMakeLists.txt

import os
import shutil
from conans import ConanFile

class PythonRequires(ConanFile):
    name = "pyreq"
    version = "version"

    exports_sources = "CMakeLists.txt"

def get_conanfile():

    class BaseConanFile(ConanFile):

        settings = "os", "compiler", "build_type", "arch"
        options = {"shared": [True, False]}
        default_options = {"shared": False}
        generators = "cmake"
        exports_sources = "src/*"

        def source(self):
            # Copy the CMakeLists.txt file exported with the python requires
            pyreq = self.python_requires["pyreq"]
            shutil.copy(src=os.path.join(pyreq.exports_sources_folder, "CMakeLists.txt"),

    return BaseConanFile

Note the function get_conanfile() to be used as a way to avoid the double declaration of a ConanFile object and keep the logic of the python require separated.

You can find an extended example and more information about it in the documentation: Python requires: reusing code

Ongoing development and future work

As we continue to develop Conan, we have agreed on some important features that can have a big impact on the evolution of the tool and the improvement of the user experience. We have been working in parallel with other big features in the past, such as the revisions or the workspaces. From the next release, we will start to focus more on the relevant features.

Here is a brief list of the features we would like to bring in the near future:

  • Graph lock: Create a way to lock dependencies taking into account the graph relations and be able to reproduce a build with the information gathered (
  • Cross-building: New approach for the cross-building model focused on the concept of “context building” (
  • Components: How to model the internal relations of libraries inside the same package (
  • Build helpers and generators: Separate the build logic from the dependency information in generators and be able to feed build systems with all the information that the build helpers use (

This means that we will focus the development effort in key features for Conan, although we would not stop our monthly release schedule. There will be releases with bugfixes and small improvements coming on every release and we will be introducing these big features in a more paced way.

We believe this is the right path to bring meaningful features to the community and that this will help to shape the future of a better tool towards Conan 2.0.

Don’t forget to check the full list of features and fixes in the changelog and to update.

Finally, do not hesitate to open a new issue with any bug report or feedback for discussion. Many thanks!