Android-like resource linking in C++

Here’s something that is actually quite nice about Android development: the linking of resources into source code. There is an extra build step that takes all the resource files in your project and generates a class called R which contains references to those files.

For example, you can add icon.png and then use R.drawable.icon in your source code to load it.

I decided to do something similar for my C++ project. I have made a small demo and put it on GitHub.


A simple example of creating Android-like enumeration of resource files that allows easier referencing from source code.

GitHub project here (Xcode project)

What it does

At build time, it gets a list of all .png and .ogg files in the Resources directory and generates a header file that contains a Resources class with the following structure:

Resources::Images::Count – number of images found Resources::Images::List – a NULL terminated array containing the filenames Resources::Images::* – each individual file is contained as a char* variable

Same goes for Resources::Sounds and any other group of files you choose to include (just edit the script).


  • Reference checks at compile time, not runtime.
  • Autocomplete for resource names in the code editor.

How it works in Xcode

There’s an extra “Run script” build step added to the project which runs That generates a new version of Resources.h. Note that Resources.cpp is also required but it doesn’t change very often so for this example I wrote it by hand. – I admit – is a bit of a mess, but it works and it should be easy to add more file types.

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