DOM guide: Setting up

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This article describes how to obtain the COLLADA DOM and use it in a program.

Downloading the COLLADA DOM

The latest official release of the DOM is version 2.0, which is available as a download on Sourceforge. A zip containing the source is available, as are binary packages for several platforms. The binary downloads only include the headers and libs necessary for building an app. You won't be able to rebuild or debug the DOM using the binary packages.

You can also get the DOM from the svn repo on Sourceforge. For that you'll need a Subversion client. Open up a shell and run

svn co colladadom

to check out version 2.0, or run

svn co colladadom

to check out the trunk.


Building the DOM

Project and solution files for Visual Studio can be found in


Currently only VS 2005 projects are provided, but VS 2008 can also be used by running Visual Studio's upgrade wizard. Open dom.sln and build the 'dom' project for the DLL DOM, or build 'dom-static' for the DOM static lib. The output goes to the <dom-path>\build folder.

Building client applications

Setting up include directories

Add the following information to your project:

  • Add the following lines to the Additional include directories field in the General tab for the C/C++ project configuration settings:

Linking with the COLLADA DOM static lib

  • Add the following lines to the Additional library directories field in the General tab for the Linker project configuration settings:
<dom-path>\build\vc8-1.4 (release) or <dom-path>\build\vc8-1.4-d (debug)
  • Add the following lines to the Additional Dependencies field in the Input tab for the Linker project configuration settings:
libcollada14dom20-s.lib (release) or libcollada14dom20-sd.lib (debug)
pcre.lib (release) or pcre-d.lib (debug)
pcrecpp.lib (release) or pcrecpp-d.lib (debug)

Linking with the COLLADA DOM DLL

  • Add the following line to the Preprecessor Definitions field in the Preprocessor tab for the C/C++ project configuration settings:
  • Add the following to the Additional library directories field in the General tab for the Linker project configuration settings:
<dom-path>\build\vc8-1.4 (release) or <dom-path>\build\vc8-1.4-d (debug)
  • Add the following to the Additional Dependencies field in the Input tab for the Linker project configuration settings:
libcollada14dom20.lib (release) or libcollada14dom20-d.lib (debug)


Preparing the external libraries

You need both the libxml and PCRE headers and libs installed to build the DOM. For the domTest program you also need the Boost Filesystem library installed. These libraries are fairly popular and it's expected that most Linux distributions will provide them via the package manager, so these libs aren't provided with the DOM like they are on Windows and Mac. For example, in Ubuntu you could install these libraries using aptitude:

aptitude install libxml2-dev libpcre3-dev libboost-filesystem-dev

Building the DOM

On Linux the DOM builds as both a static lib (.a) and a shared lib (.so). All output goes to the <dom-path>/build folder.

Go to the COLLADA DOM directory and run


This builds a release version of the DOM. More extensive documentation of our make build system is available in the <dom-path>/make/readme file included with the DOM.

Building client applications

Adding the COLLADA DOM to /usr/include and /usr/lib

When building client applications on Linux, it's convenient to install the DOM headers and libs to /usr/include and /usr/lib, respectively. To install, go to the COLLADA DOM directory and run

make install

to install the debug COLLADA DOM or

make install RELEASE=1

to install the release version of the DOM. You can uninstall by running

make uninstall

Building the Client App

If you have a file test.cpp that works with the COLLADA DOM, you can build it to use the static DOM libs with g++ like this:

g++ -I/usr/include/collada test.cpp -lcollada_dae -lcollada_dom -lcollada_dae -lxml2 -lpcre -lpcrecpp -o test

Or you can build to use the DOM shared libs:

g++ -I/usr/include/collada test.cpp -lcollada_dae_shared -lcollada_dom_shared -o test

In the static linking example, the collada_dae lib is deliberately included twice. This is necessary to resolve all the dependencies between the DAE and the DOM libraries.

Setting up on Mac

Preparing the external libraries

The DOM requires libxml and PCRE. OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and up come with a libxml build that works fine with the DOM. For PCRE, headers and a Mac universal lib are provided in the external libs folder on SourceForge, which you can get with the following command:

svn co external-libs

The external libs folder should be placed at the same level in the folder hierarchy as the DOM and must be named "external-libs". Here's an example setup:


If you want to use libxml2 to validate your COLLADA files against the schema, you have to download and install an updated version of libxml2 from here. That is because of a bug in an earlier libxml2-version that is shipped with OS X Tiger (steveT - is this fixed in Leopard?). However, the DOM itself is not affected by it and runs perfectly with the Tiger-shipped libxml2 version.

Building the DOM

NOTE: Mac-projects are currently available in SVN only. Get a current precompiled UniversalBinary SVN-version from here.

The preferred way of using the DOM on Mac OS X is to build a framework containing the shared library, necessary header files, and documentation (see here for more information about the concept of frameworks).

The project file for Xcode to build the framework can be found in


Note that you should use Xcode 2.4 or better. You can download the latest version from here.

Using the Release configuration, the DOM is built as a Universal Binary for PPC and Intel. The preferred installation location is /Library/Frameworks.

Building client applications

Copy the DOM-framework to /Library/Frameworks, the standard location for external frameworks.

Using Xcode

In Xcode add the framework to your project (Project->Add to Project). In the build-configuration of your target, add -Library/Frameworks/Collada141Dom.framework/Headers to Header Search Paths. You are now ready to build your client applications.

Using Make and gcc

Additional gcc compiler arguments:


Additional linker arguments:

-framework Collada141Dom

Using different installation locations for DOM framework

You can install the DOM framework in a different location than /Library/Frameworks. For example, you might use it as an embedded framework in your application bundle. To avoid linker errors, you can either change the Installation Directory build setting in the DOM Xcode project and rebuild the project, or use otool and install_name_tool to modify an already build framework. For more information, see

man otool


man install_name_tool

Setting up on PS3

The DOM works on the Cell OS Level 2, for example to be used in a PS3 game. Building the DOM to run on the PS3 is exactly the same as building it to run on Linux, except that you pass the parameter PLATFORM_NAME=ps3 on the make command line. The other supported make parameters are the same as for the Linux build.

There are a few other differences between the DOM on PS3 and the DOM on Linux:

  • Cell OS Level 2 doesn't support shared libraries, so only static DOM libs are built.
  • The DOM on PS3 uses TinyXml instead of libxml for XML parsing. You'll need to link TinyXml into your app.

PS3 libraries for PCRE and TinyXml are provided in the external-libs folder.

It should be possible to build the PS3 version of the DOM on Windows using the GNU makefiles via MinGW/MSYS, but this hasn't been tested.

COLLADA DOM - Version 2.4 Historical Reference
List of main articles under the DOM portal.
User Guide chapters:  • Intro  • Architecture  • Setting up  • Working with documents  • Creating docs  • Importing docs  • Representing elements  • Working with elements  • Resolving URIs  • Resolving SIDs  • Using custom COLLADA data  • Integration templates  • Error handling

Systems:  • URI resolver  • Meta  • Load/save flow  • Runtime database  • Memory • StringRef  • Code generator
Additional information:  • What's new  • Backward compatibility  • Future work
Terminology categories:  • COLLADA  • DOM  • XML