CMakeLists wrapper around imgui

Related tags

GUI imguiwrap

ImGui Wrappings

This is a trifold wrapper for the Dear ImGui library.

  1. Ease integration with CMake,
  2. Provide an RAII mechanism for ImGui scopes,
  3. Provide some minor ImGui helpers,

The RAII mechanisms are written to provide a zero-cost abstraction so that using them will produce the same machine code (or better) as hand-writing your Begin/End calls.

godbolt example

main branch win/lin/mac build

Integration with your CMakeLists-based project:

The imgui library is exposed as a target: imguiwrap. You can then either manually vendor or git-submodule imguiwrap into a subdirectory and including imgui in your project is then as simple as:




Alternatively, you can use FetchContent or CPM.

RAII ImGui scopes:

ImGui is essentially a sort of bare-bones virtual machine where you push directives and parameters onto a stack for execution by the vm. Each directive starts with a push (Begin) of some form and is completed with a corresponding Pop (End).

While this isn't particularly difficult, it's a high cognitive load when the surrounding code is C++.

ImGuiWrap uses zero-cost conceptual classes to provide an RAII approach to ImGui. The constructors call the relevant Begin() function, allow you to execute your dependent code, and then conditionally invoke the appropriate End() function.

You can do this in a completely conventional way:

    dear::MainMenuBar bar("Main Menu");
    if (bar) {
        dear::Menu file("File");
        if (file) {

but the classes also implement an operator&& which accepts a callable so that you can use them anonymously and in an increasingly modern compositional style:

    dear::MainMenuBar("Main Menu")  &&  [](){
        dear::Menu("File")  &&  [](){

(This form might, for instance, look familiar to boost/ut users)

And yes, it knows that ImGui::Begin() must always have a matching ImGui::End while ImGui::BeginMainMenuBar only needs ImGui::EndMainMenuBar if the begin returned true.


  • You may sometimes need to use capturing lambdas, e.g. [&] {},
  • If you have access to C++23 you can abbreviate your lambdas from [] () {...} to [] { ... },
  • You can also use the name of a function:
    void main_menu() noexcept {
        dear::Menu("File") && [](){

    dear::MainMenuBar("Main Menu") && main_menu;

Minor helpers:


Provides a scoped wrapper that will only execute your callable if the previous item is hovered.

    dear::ItemTooltip(/*flags*/) && []() { dear::Text("Help is not available"); }

dear::EditTableFlags and EditWindowFlags

These two functions let you edit window or table flags in real time, to help you find the right flags for your own layouts.

static ImGuiWindowFlags mywindow_flags = ImGuiWindowFlags_NoResize | ImGuiWindowFlags_AlwaysVerticalScrollbar;
static bool mywindow_visible  = false;
static bool mywindow_editable = false;

void debug_menu()
    dear::Menu("Debug") && []() {
        // Only enable this option if mywindow is being shown.
        dear::MenuItem("Edit MyWindow flags", NULL, &mywindow_editable, mywindow_visible));

void show_my_window()
    dear::Begin("My Window", &mywindow_visible, mywindow_flags) && []() {

dear::Text specialiations

dear::Text (and TextUnformatted) specializes for std::string and std::string_view, which can be disabled by defining DEAR_NO_STRING and DEAR_NO_STRINGVIEW accordingly.

It also allows you to avoid the vsnprintf overhead of ImGui::Text by taking variadic parameters:

    ImGui::Text("hello, %s!", "world");  // goes through vsnprintf equiv
    dear::Text("hello, %s!", "world");   // uses perfect-forwarding

dear::MenuItem specializations

dear::MenuItem can take a std::string as its first argument instead of a const char*.


Because life is too short to be writing ImVec2(0, 0) all over the place...


If crazy RAII operator&& is too much for you, imguiwrap.helpers.h provides a simpler DEFER macro too:

    if (ImGui:Begin("my window")) {
        if (ImGui::BeginChild("child")) {


Why "&&"?

To emphasize that the callable will only be invoked if the element is being rendered.

The approach was inspired by Boost μt's style of writing unit tests:

	"life"_test = [](){
		int i = 43;
		expect(42_i == i);

and I seriously considered

	"File"_Menu = [](){
		"Open"_MenuItem = onOpen;

but the model breaks down for no- and multi-argument cases and I wanted something consistent.

Ultimately while I was reading a mock-up line, I found myself saying "then" so it was either &&, >> or <<. Connotations imbued by iostreams into both of the latter made >> feel very akward while << was less akward but less obviously conditional.

	MainMenuBar() << [](){ Menu(get_filename(argv[0])); };
	// vs
	MainMenuBar() && [](){ Menu(get_filename(argv[0])); };

The short-circuit, when the menu bar is not being displayed, is far more obvious in the second form.

How do the RAII types work?

Each type is a concrete instantiation of a CRTP template (so they shouldn't blow up your compilation time). This template, ScopeWrapper, hosts a boolean used to determine if End() needs calling, which can be overwridden with a template parameter.

These are leveraged in such a way that the compilers can easily recognize that the bool is unused and eliminate it.

In the following piece of code:

    dear::MenuBar("File") && []() {

we are (1) constructing a temporary and passing a (3) lambda to an operator method on it (2) before the object destructs (4).

                               [](){ }

To expand this out:

if (temp.ok_) { ImGui::EndMenuBar(); } ">
        dear::MenuBar temp("File");    // temp.ok_ = ImGui::BeginMenuBar("File");

        auto noop_lambda = [] () {};

        temp.operator&&(noop_lambda);  // if (temp.ok_) noop_lambda();

    } // invokes temp.~MenuBar();      -> if (temp.ok_) { ImGui::EndMenuBar(); }

Docker build

There is a Dockerfile and provided which I use to test the Linux build.

> docker pull kfsone/imguibuild
> docker build --tag kfsone/imguibuild
> docker run --rm -it -v ${pwd}:/src kfsone/imguibuild
> docker-build/example/dear_example
  • Building on a system with 'glew' installed results in link errors

    Building on a system with 'glew' installed results in link errors

    Let to its own devices, imgui will attempt to detect the opengl loader:

    and if 'glew' is present, it will find it before finding glfw.

    Solution: Set IMGUI_IMPL_OPENGL_LOADER_GL3W ahead of time.

    opened by kfsone 2
  • Solves #6 - Ensure backend definition is set

    Solves #6 - Ensure backend definition is set

    If the backend is unspecified, imgui will do a simple linear check to see which glewalike to use, starting with glew. This is fine in a simple container with the minimum required installs, but if your system has glew it will make the wrong selection.

    So this change introduces a CMakeLists.txt parameter to make users aware that there is a choice to be had, but then hardcodes it to a simple default.

    opened by kfsone 0
  • Missing support for cmake

    Missing support for cmake

    I am having problems with integrating this library into my project. If cmake is 100% supported, it should work seamless with my gitache project; but it doesn't.

    Now gitache isn't relevant here; that does just the standard things expected for cmake; I am just mentioning it to make clear that this is a well established, automated, standard process; which doesn't work with imguiwrap ;).

    The problems I run into are:

    Could not find a package configuration file provided by "imguiwrap" with
     any of the following names:

    And the fact that nothing got "installed".

    When listing the files in the install prefix of a gitache project, I expect to see something like:

    >ls /opt/gitache/libcwd_r/49222d132e2085669a45e519a8165087bfbe40eb818eb0743f5f7caf4a89a683/
    DONE  include/  lib/  share/

    with installed headers in include, the libraries in lib etc. (Most notably, 'lib' contains (apart from the library itself):


    For imguiwrap I end up with:

    >ls /opt/gitache/imguiwrap/0d4482cb3cc895fda9ade4fa0a5452f208bcc226fd07e7c60f0c10c52816f54d

    a completely empty directory.

    Obviously this doesn't allow my project to find anything - no headers and no library.

    opened by CarloWood 0
Oliver Smith
Oliver Smith
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