Linking with the HELICS Library

Once HELICS is built or installed it needs to be integrated into a project.

Language bindings

If the project is in Python, Matlab, Java, C#, Octave, or Julia, the language binding specific to that language is the best bet.

C based project

The C based shared library is the way to go. Either link with helicsSharedLib.lib/so/dylib and add the include directory containing a helics folder or link the CMake target HELICS::helicsSharedLib.

C++98 or C++03.

Then linking with the C shared library and using the C++98 header only wrapper is the most appropriate choice. The CMake target HELICS::helicsCpp98 can be used if using CMake.


If you are using C++14 and can install or generate the C++ shared library and make sure they are built with identical compilations configurations it is possible to link with the C++ shared library generated by HELICS. This can provide a richer interface and potentially slightly faster interaction. This can be done in a couple ways. If the project is CMake based then HELICS will install a configuration file that generates the targets for the HELICS::helics-shared library with the appropriate information for linking, this is the simplest approach. Unlike the C shared library, the C++ shared library requires the importing program to have the same compilation libraries since the library does not export std library symbols, or other symbols defined solely in header files, so those must have the same interpretation inside and out of the library for this to work. If some of the extensions available in the helics::apps are needed then the HELICS::helics-apps-shared target is also appropriate.

If you not using cmake then link against the helics-shared.lib/so/dylib as appropriate for the operating system and include the headers directory. Also advisable (though not strictly necessary is to define HELICS_SHARED_LIBRARY as part of the compilation before including some headers). The apps library is helics-apps-shared.lib/so/dylib and the corresponding dll/so/dylib should be on the path or in the same directory for windows or added to the RPATH on other operating systems.

If you are using CMake and want to use static libraries or use the apps library as a static library then HELICS supports building as a subproject and linking the targets HELICS::apps or HELICS::application-api.


  • For Python(2,3), Java, Matlab, C#, Octave, Julia - use the defined interface
  • For C use the C shared library
  • For most C++ use the C++98 Wrapper to the C shared library
  • For C++14 in common build configurations use the C shared library or the C++ shared library from the installers or build it yourself to ensure library compatibility.
  • For specific C++ applications desiring static builds and using CMake, use HELICS as a subproject in CMake (the main use is some helics extensions, but other applications can use it as well)
  • For specific C++ applications with particular build considerations or flags use HELICS as a subproject and link the static or shared C++ Libraries.
  • For other languages - work with swig or use the foreign language capabilities of the language to import the C shared library.