Quick Start Tutorial

This tutorial will guide you through the process of creating a simple application that uses the Erbsland Qt TOML library to read and display a TOML configuration file. This application will serve as an example to demonstrate how to integrate this library into a Qt application using CMake.

I you do not like to follow this tutorial, you will find this example application here.


Before we start, make sure you have the following installed:

  • CMake version 3.25 or newer

  • Qt5 or Qt6

  • Git

Setting up the Project Directory Structure

We will first create the project directory structure.

  1. Start by creating a new directory for the project. Let’s call it project.

mkdir project
  1. Move into the project directory.

cd project
  1. Create a git submodule for the Erbsland Qt TOML library.

git submodule add https://github.com/erbsland-dev/erbsland-qt-toml.git
  1. Create a directory for the example application.

mkdir example-app
  1. Inside example-app, create src and data directories.

mkdir example-app/src
mkdir example-app/data

At this point, your directory structure should look like this:

├── erbsland-qt-toml
└── example-app
    ├── data
    └── src

Creating the Application Source Files

Now that we have our directory structure ready, let’s create the required source files.

  1. Create a new file main.cpp inside the example-app/src directory. Copy and paste the following content into main.cpp.

#include <erbsland/qt/toml/Parser.hpp>
#include <erbsland/qt/toml/Error.hpp>

#include <QCoreApplication>

#include <iostream>

using namespace elqt::toml;

void displayValue(const ValuePtr &value, const QString &path) {
    std::cout << path.toStdString() << "\n";
    if (value->isTable()) {
        std::cout << "Table: " << value->size() << " Elements" << "\n\n";
        for (const auto &[key, tableValue] : value->toTable()) {
            displayValue(tableValue, path + '/' + key);
    } else if (value->isArray()) {
        std::cout << "Array: " << value->size() << " Elements" << "\n\n";
        auto array = value->toArray();
        for (std::size_t i = 0; i < array.size(); ++i) {
            displayValue(array.at(i), path + QStringLiteral("/[%1]").arg(i));
    } else {
        std::cout << "Value: " << value->toVariant().toString().toStdString() << "\n\n";

int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
    QCoreApplication application(argc, argv);
    ValuePtr toml{};
    try {
        auto path = QCoreApplication::applicationDirPath() + "/config.toml";
        Parser parser{};
        std::cout << "Reading configuration from: " << path.toStdString() << "\n";
        toml = parser.parseFileOrThrow(path);
    } catch (const Error &err) {
        std::cerr << err.toString().toStdString() << std::endl;
       return 1;
    displayValue(toml, "[root]");
    return 0;
  1. Now, create a TOML configuration file config.toml in the example-app/data directory. Copy and paste the following content into config.toml.

# Example Configuration

name = "Example"

title = "This is an Example"
last_update = 2023-05-13 12:00:00

services = [ "http", "ftp" ]
ssl = true
ports = [ 8080, 8081, 8022 ]

ip = ""
base_dir = "~/public_http"

ip = ""
base_dir = "~/public_http"

Setting up CMake

We will use CMake as our build system. Let’s create two CMakeLists.txt files - one for the example application, and one for the project root.

  1. In the example-app directory, create a file named CMakeLists.txt. Copy and paste the following content into example-app/CMakeLists.txt.

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.25)


add_executable(example-app src/main.cpp)

target_link_libraries(example-app PRIVATE erbsland-qt-toml)
set_property(TARGET example-app PROPERTY CXX_STANDARD 17)
target_compile_features(example-app PRIVATE cxx_std_17)
add_custom_command(TARGET example-app POST_BUILD
        COMMAND ${CMAKE_COMMAND} -E copy
  1. In the root of the project directory, create a file named CMakeLists.txt. Copy and paste the following content into CMakeLists.txt.

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.25)


# Detect and load either Qt5 or Qt6.
    find_package(Qt6 REQUIRED GLOBAL COMPONENTS Core)
    find_package(Qt5 REQUIRED GLOBAL COMPONENTS Core)
    find_package(Qt6 GLOBAL COMPONENTS Core)
        find_package(Qt5 GLOBAL REQUIRED COMPONENTS Core)
    endif ()
endif ()


Building and Running the Application

With everything in place, it’s time to build and run the application.

  1. Move to the root of the project directory.

  2. Create a new directory called build.

mkdir build
  1. Move into the build directory.

cd build
  1. Run cmake to configure the project. Make sure to replace /path/to/qt with the correct path to your Qt installation.

cmake .. -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/path/to/qt
  1. Once configuration is done without errors, run make to build the application.

  1. Finally, run the application.


That concludes the tutorial. By now, you should have built and run the Erbsland Qt TOML example application. When executed, the application reads the config.toml file and prints the configuration values to the standard output.

Remember that this is just a basic example. The Erbsland Qt TOML library offers much more functionality that you can use to handle TOML files in your Qt applications.

If you wish to expand on this, consider the following:

  • Experiment with different TOML files and observe the output.

  • Modify the main.cpp file to add more functionality, like writing to TOML files.

  • Check out the documentation of the Erbsland Qt TOML library to learn more about its capabilities and how you can use them in your projects.