The pw_build_mcuxpresso module provides helper utilizies for building a target based on an NXP MCUXpresso SDK.

The GN build files live in third_party/mcuxpresso but are documented here. The rationale for keeping the build files in third_party is that code depending on an MCUXpresso SDK can clearly see that their dependency is on third party, not pigweed code.

Using an MCUXpresso SDK#

An MCUXpresso SDK consists of a number of components, each of which has a set of sources, headers, pre-processor defines, and dependencies on other components. These are all described in an XML “manifest” file included in the SDK package.

To use the SDK within a Pigweed project, the set of components you need must be combined into a pw_source_set that you can depend on. This source set will include all of the sources and headers, along with necessary pre-processor defines, for those components and their dependencies.

The source set is defined using the pw_mcuxpresso_sdk template, providing the path to the manifest XML, along with the names of the components you wish to include.


pw_mcuxpresso_sdk("sample_project_sdk") {
  manifest = "$dir_pw_third_party/mcuxpresso/evkmimxrt595/EVK-MIMXRT595_manifest_v3_8.xml"
  include = [

pw_executable("hello_world") {
  sources = [ "" ]
  deps = [ ":sample_project_sdk" ]

Where the components you include have optional dependencies, they must be satisfied by the set of components you include otherwise the GN generation will fail with an error.

Excluding components#

Components can be excluded from the generated source set, for example to suppress errors about optional dependencies your project does not need, or to prevent an unwanted component dependency from being introduced into your project.

This is accomplished by providing the list of components to exclude as an argument to the template.

For example to replace the FreeRTOS kernel bundled with the MCUXpresso SDK with the Pigweed third-party target:

pw_mcuxpresso_sdk("freertos_project_sdk") {
  // manifest and includes ommitted for clarity
  exclude = [ "middleware.freertos-kernel.MIMXRT595S" ]
  public_deps = [ "$dir_pw_third_party/freertos" ]

Introducing dependencies#

As seen above, the generated source set can have dependencies added by passing the public_deps (or deps) arguments to the template.

You can also pass the allow_circular_includes_from, configs, and public_configs arguments to augment the generated source set.

For example it is very common to replace the project_template component with a source set of your own that provides modified copies of the files from the SDK.

To resolve circular dependencies, in addition to the generated source set, two configs named with the __defines and __includes suffixes on the template name are generated, to provide the pre-processor defines and include paths that the source set uses.

pw_mcuxpresso_sdk("my_project_sdk") {
  manifest = "$dir_pw_third_party/mcuxpresso/evkmimxrt595/EVK-MIMXRT595_manifest_v3_8.xml"
  include = [
  public_deps = [ ":my_project_config" ]
  allow_circular_includes_from = [ ":my_project_config" ]

pw_source_set("my_project_config") {
  sources = [ "board.c", "clock_config.c", "pin_mux.c" ]
  public = [ "board.h", "clock_config.h", "pin_mux.h "]
  public_configs = [


mcuxpresso_builder is a utility that contains the backend scripts used by the GN build scripts in third_party/mcuxpresso. You should only need to interact with mcuxpresso_builder directly if you are doing something custom.


This command outputs a GN scope describing the result of expanding the set of included and excluded components.

The --prefix option specifies the GN location of the SDK files.

mcuxpresso_builder project /path/to/manifest.xml \
    --include project_template.evkmimxrt595.MIMXRT595S \
    --include utility.debug_console.MIMXRT595S \
    --include component.serial_manager_uart.MIMXRT595S \
    --exclude middleware.freertos-kernel.MIMXRT595S \
    --prefix //path/to/sdk