This article is just a quick guide to get started on a gtest project. Since gtest is a compiled library, there is just way too much headaches with platform depdency or how things stuff is set up. Plus, if you use any CI system, there is more headache to get your CI system also set up. With this article, this will set it up easily and started with gtest and without having to muck around with the platform.

We discuss how to set up the basic gtest in a platform independent way with cmake in a simple, platform indepdendent way. We will use git and the submodule command to pull in google test. Windows does not have gtest in a specific place. A lot of Linux won’t have the gtest package installed and build, or installed in a strange place. The goal is just to bypass all that headache and get started as soon as possible.

GTest Hello World

This is the basic google test template to get started with. This is what we would use for our hellotest.cpp file.

#include <gtest/gtest.h>

TEST(TestTest, EmptyTest) {

int main(int argc, char **argv) {
    ::testing::InitGoogleTest(&argc, argv);
    return RUN_ALL_TESTS();

Git Setup

You have to turn the project into a git project first.

git init .

and then add the gtest as a submodule

git submodule add

You should now see a copy of the google test directory inside your repo.

CMake Setup

We can just use the include_subdirectory command in cmake to add the gtest into our project. There is just one small thing to take care of. Since the project was designed to also install gtest into the system and other things, we have to turn the INSTALL_GTEST option off. You can also look at the googletest CMakelists.txt file to look at all the options.

When we add gtest to our target_link_libraries, it gets all the required sub-libraries and include directories.

In the end, suppose our program is called hellotest and our cmake file would look like this

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.5)



add_executable(hellotest test.cpp)
target_link_libraries(hellotest gtest)

Google Benchmark

Using similar ideas, we can also add Google benchmark.

Git Submodule

For git, we have to make the google benchmark into a submodule.

git submodule add

CMake Changes

We first add all the relevant changes to add the benchmark into the project. The BENCHMARK_ENABLE_TESTING will disable requiring GTest.


For the target itself, let us assume it is hellbench.cpp below and we add

add_executable(hellobench hellobench.cpp)
target_link_libraries(hellobench benchmark)

C++ Test Code

The basic test file that is from the Google benchmark read-me page:

#include <benchmark/benchmark.h>

static void BM_StringCopy(benchmark::State& state) {
    std::string x = "hello";
    for (auto _ : state)
        std::string copy(x);



This is the basic google test setup. It can run on Windows, Linux and on most CI servers without having to make any assumption about the system.

The project using these ideas as a skeleton project is available in this github repo (