Setting Up

Creating an Xcode Objective Pascal Project
Adding the UI (Outlets and Actions) to an Objective Pascal App
Xcode Tips

Creating an Xcode Project for a Lazarus Project
FAQs: Using Xcode with your Lazarus Project


These notes describe some new ways to create Pascal projects for Xcode.

ProjectXC currently includes several templates for creating Xcode projects:

Setting Up

  1. Free Pascal compiler

    Install version 3.0.0 or later.

  2. ProjectXC source code

  3. Compile makeproj command line program

    Tip: If you're only interested in Lazarus integration, you can skip this step.

    In a Terminal window:

    fpc makeproj

    To view the makeproj syntax, run it without any parameters:


  4. Install ExportToXcode package in Lazarus (optional)

    In Lazarus, choose Package | Open Package File and select exporttoxcode.lpk in the ProjectXC lazide folder.

    Click Compile, then click Use | Install.

    Once Lazarus has been rebuilt and restarted, you can use the Export to Xcode command on the Tools menu.

Creating an Xcode Objective Pascal Project

Run makeproj, specifying the template to use and the name of the project to create. For example, to create an Objective Pascal project for OS X:

./makeproj osx-simple ~/MyXcodeProjects/test1

Change ~/MyXcodeProjects to point to an existing folder where you want the test1 project folder to be created.

Now open test1.xcodeproj in Xcode and choose Product | Run to compile and run it.

Adding the UI (Outlets and Actions) to an Objective Pascal App

An Xcode project created based on the osx-simple template is:

  1. Simple, not document-based
  2. Uses a storyboard for UI design, not a xib file
  3. Does not use Core Data
  4. Includes "dummy" Objective C files that are only used for designing the user interface.
As an example, here's how to add a button to a new project based on the osx-simple template:

[Image] goes here

Xcode Tips

  1. Debugging in Xcode. See this link.

  2. Pascal syntax highlighting. See this link.

  3. Objective Pascal helper units. See this download.

Creating an Xcode Project for a Lazarus Project

Before You Start

There are several things you'll want to do before you create the Xcode project:

  1. Make sure you've set your Lazarus project's target file name. Enter this on the Project | Project Options | Paths tab in Lazarus.

    Tip: Lazarus also uses this to name your app's .app bundle. In general, the target name should be in mixed-case, NOT lower-case.

  2. If you want Xcode to be able to jump to syntax errors in your Pascal code, enter the -vbr switch on the Project | Project Options | Custom Options tab in Lazarus. This switch causes the Free Pascal compiler to output all error messages in a standard format (Rhide/GCC) that Xcode understands.

    Note: Unfortunately, Lazarus itself does not understand messages in this standard format, so you'll probably want to remove this switch when you're compiling your project in Lazarus.

  3. Compile your Lazarus project successfully at least once so that Lazarus creates your app's .app bundle and its Info.plist file.

  4. If you want Xcode to be able to display your Pascal source using syntax highlighting, follow the instructions here.

Create the Xcode Project

There are two ways to create an Xcode project for your Lazarus project, depending on whether you're using the makeproj command line program or the Export to Xcode command on the Lazarus Tools menu.

  1. With makeproj, run makeproj in a Terminal window, specifying the template to use, the Xcode project to create, and the Lazarus project info file to base it on. For example:

    ./makeproj osx-laz ~/MyXcodeProjects/test2 ~/MyLazProjects/test2/test2.lpi

  2. With Lazarus, choose Tools | Export to Xcode. By default, the Xcode Project Name box will be filled in with your Lazarus project's target file name. Edit this if you want, then choose an existing folder where the Xcode project folder will be created. Finally, click the Export button.
Now open your new .xcodeproj in Xcode and review what's been added:

FAQs: Using Xcode with your Lazarus Project

  1. How does this work?

    Like most IDEs, Xcode runs a series of command line tools when it builds a project. The osx-laz template includes a build script that runs the Lazarus lazbuild console app to do the actual compiling of your Lazarus project. If the Free Pascal compiler that lazbuild runs detects a syntax error in your code, Xcode will jump to the line where the error occurred, assuming you added the -vbr switch to your Lazarus project as described above.

    The rest of the build process is standard Xcode, for example creating the .app bundle (under ~/Library/Developer/Xcode/DerivedData) and signing the app (with codesign).

  2. What version of Xcode do I need?

    ProjectXC was tested with Xcode 8.2.1, Lazarus 1.8.0 RC1 and Free Pascal 3.0.2 on El Capitan (OS X 10.11).

  3. Does Xcode modify my Lazarus project?

    Except for edits that you might make to your Pascal source files or Info.plist file, Xcode won't make changes to your Lazarus project files.

  4. Can I debug my Lazarus app in Xcode?

    Yes, you can set breakpoints the same way you would in any Xcode project. For more information, see this link.

  5. How do I use my Lazarus project's build modes in Xcode?

    Lazarus build modes correspond roughly to Xcode schemes. For example, if you have a Debug build mode and a Release build mode in your Lazarus project, you can try this:

    Now when you select the Debug scheme and build your Xcode project, it will run lazbuild with the Debug build mode. When you select the Release scheme and build your Xcode project, it will run lazbuild with the Release build mode.

  6. Can I switch LCL widgetsets in Xcode?

    Yes, specify the widgetset to use in the LAZBUILD_OPTIONS setting. For example, to build your Lazarus project with the Cocoa widgetset, enter this:


    To build a 64-bit Cocoa app, add these switches as well to LAZBUILD_OPTIONS:

    --compiler=/usr/local/bin/ppcx64 --cpu=x86_64

    You can also use a different lazbuild than the one installed with Lazarus. Just change the LAZBUILD_PATH setting. If you have more than one installation of Lazarus, you can also specify a different configuration path to use in the LAZBUILD_OPTIONS, for example:


  7. Can Xcode sign my Lazarus app?

    Yes, enable signing on the General tab the same as any Xcode project.

  8. Can I compile my Xcode project from the command line?

    Yes, use xcodebuild the same as with any Xcode project.

  9. Can I have my projects open in Lazarus and Xcode simultaneously?

    Yes, in general you should be able to do that.

    Note that when you save edits in Lazarus, Xcode will immediately update the code in its editor. Lazarus isn't quite that smart, but it will prompt you to reload the modified file when you save edits in Xcode.

  10. Will this improve my app's user interface, make it more Mac-like?

    No, if you want that, create a project with the Objective Pascal template above. You won't use Lazarus at all in that case. You can use non-UI units from a Lazarus project, but none of its form design files or form code units.

  11. How do I fix my app's lower-case app menu name?

    This is caused by Lazarus not setting the Info.plist's CFBundleName correctly.

    Example 1: You have a Lazarus project myapp.lpi whose target file name is "My App" and you create the Xcode project like this:

    ./makeproj osx-laz "~/MyXcodeProjects/My App" ~/MyLazProjects/myapp/myapp.lpi

    Both Lazarus and Xcode will use the correct mixed-case name for the .app bundle and executable file, but the app menu will be lower-case. To fix, edit the Bundle name in Xcode's Info panel.

    Example 2: You used the same name for the Xcode project as the Lazarus project:

    ./makeproj osx-laz ~/MyXcodeProjects/myapp ~/MyLazProjects/myapp/myapp.lpi

    By default Xcode will use the project name for the .app bundle and executable file, so in addition to the fix in example 1, change the Xcode project's target from "myapp" to "My App".

  12. What if I need to delete the Xcode project?

    Your Lazarus project won't be affected.

    Note that if you added files to the Xcode project (not just references) or enabled things that only Xcode can do (for example, copy files to the .app bundle's Resources folder when building the app), you will lose these changes.

  13. Can I move the Xcode project folder?

    Yes, the Xcode project uses absolute paths to the Lazarus project's files.

  14. Can I move the Lazarus project folder?

    Yes, but with consequences. The Xcode project uses absolute paths to the Lazarus project's files. You will lose the ability to view and edit the Info.plist and Pascal source files in Xcode, although you can still build once you've updated the LAZ_PROJECT_DIR setting in Xcode's Build settings.

    If possible, delete the Xcode project (see question above), move the Lazarus project, then create the Xcode project again.

Copyright 2015-2017 by Phil Hess.

macpgmr (at) icloud (dot) com

First posted Oct. 25, 2015; last edited July 29, 2017.