User Projects

There are a few ways to use Chaste's source code. Professional C++ developers may wish to link to Chaste as an external C++ library rather than use the User Project framework described below. People new to C++ may be tempted to directly alter code in the Chaste source folders, this should generally be avoided as we won't know whether any problems you may run into are down to Chaste or your changes to it!

Instead of these options, User Projects allow you to use Chaste source code and have the benefit of using the Chaste build/testing framework, by putting User Projects under the projects folder. User Projects work exactly like new Chaste modules (global,heart,cell-based, etc.) and can depend on any of the Chaste modules (or indeed other User Projects). We tend to supply User Projects to accompany and reproduce research articles (some of these additionally have special wiki pages under PaperTutorials that act as walk-throughs of the codes).


This guide assumes that you:

Obtaining the template user project

We strongly recommend first obtaining the template user project, as this comes complete with the necessary CMake infrastructure.

Recommended: import the repository directly to your GitHub account

Visit and click the big green "Use this template" button, and github will let you choose a new name for your project.

Alternative: mirror the repository

This method allows you to host your repository somewhere other than GitHub, and assumes that you have an empty repository prepared at some location called <url_of_your_repo>:

git clone --bare
cd template_project.git
git push --mirror <url_of_your_repo>
cd ..
rm -rf template_project.git

User project guide

  1. Navigate to the Chaste projects folder:
    cd /path/to/Chaste/projects
  1. Clone your new version of the template project. To do this from the command line, run
    git clone[YourGitHubUserName]/[YourProjectName].git

where you should replace [YourGitHubUserName] with your user name on GitHub, and [YourProjectName] with the name you chose for your project repository.

  1. Navigate to your cloned user project repository at the command line, and run

answering the prompts given.

  1. To check that your user project compiles correctly, at the command line navigate to a build folder (outside the Chaste or project source folder - see ChasteGuides/CmakeBuildGuide) and run
    ccmake path/to/Chaste

Type c to configure; when this process is complete, type e to exit the configuration. You should find that four additional lines have been added to cmake. These are

  • Chaste_ENABLE_project_[YourProjectName]
  • Chaste_ENABLE_project_[YourProjectName]_APPS
  • Chaste_ENABLE_project_[YourProjectName]_INSTALL
  • Chaste_ENABLE_project_[YourProjectName]_TESTING

Type c to configure once more, then e to exit and g to generate. When this process is complete, type

make TestHello
ctest -R TestHello$

and check that TestHello passes.

You can now start altering the code, adding your own tests, source and updating the Readme!

Releasing a User Project

See ChasteGuides/UserProjects/ReleasingUserProjects.

Old SVN information

old strategy for user projects on the subversion repository and sconscript build system.

Creating a tag and tarball of an SVN project to release with a paper

See ChasteGuides/UserProjects/ReleasingUserProjects.

Converting an existing SVN user project to a GitHub repository

This guide is a strategy for converting an existing old-style svn user project to a GitHub repository, keeping all commit history and author contributions.

It assumes you have git svn installed, and that you have a personal GitHub account.

  1. Set up an empty GitHub repository of the same name as the user project you wish to convert.
  1. An 'authors file' maps svn user names with git users' email addresses. If you have access to the main Chaste users.txt file, place this in a temporary directory.
    1. If you do not have the Chaste users.txt, create one in a temporary directory. It should contain a line for each contributor to your user project:
      SvnUsername = Firstname Lastname <>
  1. Run the following
    git svn clone<UserProjectName> --authors-file=users.txt
    cd <UserProjectName>
    git remote add origin<YourGitHubName>/<UserProjectName>.git
    git push -u origin master
  1. Clone this new git repository, and follow user project guide above to check everything is working.
Last modified 3 months ago Last modified on Jun 24, 2022, 12:40:52 PM