Conan 1.37 brings several significant new features. At the top of the list, is a new URL for Conan Center added to the default remotes.txt which comes with the Conan client. The release also includes a major new method to called layout(), and some new classes for integration with the Bazel build system. There is also a new build_policy called never and a new flag called --build-require which works with the conan install and conan create commands.

New default URL for ConanCenter

With this release, the Conan client will now come installed with the following 2 URL’s in remotes.txt (in the following order):


It’s important to understand that these URL’s point to two separate Conan repositories, and they have the following differences:

This repository contains copies of all Conan packages, new and legacy (by “legacy” we mean packages which predate ConanCenterIndex). Currently, copies of all new package builds and binaries are uploaded here. On July 1st, new packages will STOP being uploaded here, and the repository will effectively become read-only.

This repository only contains copies of all Conan packages which have been built from ConanCenterIndex (no legacy packages). Currently, copies of all new package builds and binaries are uploaded here. On July 1st, this repository will become the ONLY place where new packages are uploaded. This is why we have added it to the client in the first position.

Long-term deprecation:

We have not yet set a date for the removal of the URL from the default list of remotes, nor the physical deletion of the repository and its packages. These events are likely to be quite far out into the future. However, everyone should understand that they are ultimately planned for removal some day.

New layout() method for

The new layout() method is one of the most interesting and long-awaited new additions to in a while. So, here we’ll explain it’s basic value propositions, but first, a simple example:

def layout(self):
    self.cpp.source.includedirs = ["include"] = ["."] = ["mylib"] = ["gen_include"]
    self.cpp.package.libs = ["mylib"]

The first benefit we want to highlight is that it provides a new way to declare information for downstream consumers, when a package is in editable_mode. Historically, the place to declare information for consumers was inside the package_info() method. However that method was not designed to handle the case of packages in editable_mode, so initially we provided a separate mechanism for handling the editable_mode case known as layout files However, those files are external to the recipe, so the big improvement with the layout() method is that recipes authors can delcare the information inside the recipe which feels more natural and was highly requested by many users.

There is also another major benefit of defining appropriate values in the layout() method. It enables users working with the “local development workflow” (in their local workspace) to more accurately reproduce the steps performed by the conan create command which take place exclusively in the conan cache. So, now users can have the recipe in the local directory, and run the local flow commands:

    conan source
    conan build
    conan package

Conan will effectively do the same operations as it would do for conan create, but those operations will use the directories in the user-space.

Finally, we are experimenting with one other possible benefit of declaring all the appropriate information in the layout method. That is, the ability to “automatically” implement the traditional self.copy steps of the package() method, which appear as boilerplate in many recipe. So, in the future, we may simply be able to write something like this…

def package(self):

… to replace package() methods which might currently look like this …

def package(self):
    self.copy("*.h", src="include", dst="include")
    self.copy("*.hpp", src="include", dst="include")
    self.copy("*.hxx", src="include", dst="include")
    self.copy("*.a", src=".", dst="lib")
    self.copy("*.so", src=".", dst="lib")
    self.copy("*.so.*", src=".", dst="lib")
    self.copy("*.lib", src=".", dst="lib")
    self.copy("*.dylib", src=".", dst="lib")
    self.copy("*.dll", src=".", dst="bin")
    self.copy("*.exe", src=".", dst="bin")

Of note, have already identified some challenges to this strategy, and discussing major changes and improvements to LayoutPackager in upcoming releases, so it’s definitely not safe to use for production recipes. We are only providing it in this release for power-users to perform experiments and provide feedback.

New Bazel Integration

We’ve added the following two new generators for the Bazel build system which are similar in nature to the CMakeDeps and CMakeToolchain generators:

  • BazelDeps
  • BazelToolchain

We’ve also added a standard build helper class named Bazel to make calling Bazel from the CLI less error prone (similar to CMake and MSBuild build helpers).

    def build(self):
        bazel = Bazel(self)

While there are few open-source projects today using Bazel compared to some other build systems, there are enterprise teams using it for their internal components who have requested it.

New build_policy=never

There are essentially two ways to create a Conan package:

  • conan create : compiles sources into binaries and then packages them
  • conan export-pkg : takes precompiled binaries and packages them

One of Conan’s marquee features is the unique ability to pass --build to the conan install command and have Conan re-build some or all dependencies in the graph from source. Unfortunately, for any packages in the dependency graph which were created using conan export-pkg command, rebuilding from source is impossible. This leads to awkward issues when passing --build.

Now, recipe authors can and should add the following attribute to any recipes which are designed to be used with conan export-pkg:


When Conan encounters recipes with build_policy=never, it will understand that this recipe cannot be rebuilt from source and continue on to the next recipe without error.

New --build-require flag

The conan install and conan create commands now support an additional flag: --build-require. The need for this flag was discovered as a consequence of the new build and host “contexts” used for cross-building. The use-cases for it are not the most common workflows, so we’ll try to clarify the purpose here.

The most common way to build tools as build_requires in Conan is to list them as such in a conanfile or in a profile. In these cases, it’s easy for Conan to understand that those packages belong to the build context, and use the build profile for those packages. So, we don’t need the --build-require flag at all in these cases.

However, there are cases when users want to work with the recipe or package for the build tool all by itself. For example, when you install it via reference with run conan install build_tool/1.0.0 ... . Or, alternatively, when you’re creating or modifying/testing the recipe for the build tool with test_package. In these cases, you call conan create on the build tool recipe, and you could pass a separate “host profile” (-pr:h windows) and “build profile” (-pr:b linux), but Conan will have no way to know that the recipe being created should use the “build profile” instead of the “host profile”. These are the reasons for the --build-require flag. It tells Conan that the recipe or package being installed or created should use the “build profile” (-pr:b).

Besides the items listed above, there was a long list of fairly impactful bug fixes you may wish to read about. If so, please refer to the changelog for the complete list.

We hope you enjoy this release, and look forward to your feedback.