Cmake is a great build tool. It takes care of generating build system files, targeting, among others, Unix makefile, MS Visual Studio, ninja, XCode etc. There are various extra modules available for Cmake. One in particular allows the discovery of MySQL development files, such as headers and libraries. It can be found here . Unfortunately, it has a few issues: it doesn't work for Windows, and it has a bug towards the end. Other alternatives I found on the web were even worse. So here is an updated copy, which seems to be working much better, while supporting Windows, Linux and Mac out of the box:

# - Try to find MySQL.
# Once done this will define:
# MYSQL_FOUND			- If false, do not try to use MySQL.
# MYSQL_INCLUDE_DIRS	- Where to find mysql.h, etc.
# MYSQL_LIBRARIES		- The libraries to link against.
# MYSQL_VERSION_STRING	- Version in a string of MySQL.
#
# Created by RenatoUtsch based on eAthena implementation.
# Updated by Andre Bar'yudin
#
# Please note that this module only supports Windows and Linux officially, but
# should work on all UNIX-like operational systems too.
#

#=============================================================================
# Copyright 2012 RenatoUtsch
#
# Distributed under the OSI-approved BSD License (the "License");
# see accompanying file Copyright.txt for details.
#
# This software is distributed WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the
# implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
# See the License for more information.
#=============================================================================
# (To distribute this file outside of CMake, substitute the full
#  License text for the above reference.)

if( WIN32 )
	set(MYENVx86 "PROGRAMFILES(X86)")

	set(MYSQL_SOURCE_DIRS 
		"$ENV{PROGRAMFILES}/MySQL" 
		"$ENV{${MYENVx86}}/MySQL" 
		"$ENV{SYSTEMDRIVE}/MySQL"
		"$ENV{ProgramW6432}/MySQL"
		)

	foreach(stem ${MYSQL_SOURCE_DIRS})
		file(GLOB MYTEMPVAR1 LINK_DIRECTORIES TRUE "${stem}/*/include")
		list(APPEND MYSQL_DIRS_INC
			${MYTEMPVAR1})
		file(GLOB MYTEMPVAR2 LINK_DIRECTORIES TRUE "${stem}/*/lib")
		list(APPEND MYSQL_DIRS_LIB
			${MYTEMPVAR2})
	endforeach(stem)
		
	find_path( MYSQL_INCLUDE_DIR
		NAMES "mysql.h"
		PATHS ${MYSQL_DIRS_INC})
	
	find_library( MYSQL_LIBRARY
		NAMES "mysqlclient" "mysqlclient_r"
		PATHS  ${MYSQL_DIRS_LIB} )
else()
	find_path( MYSQL_INCLUDE_DIR
		NAMES "mysql.h"
		PATHS "/usr/include/mysql"
			  "/usr/local/include/mysql"
			  "/usr/mysql/include/mysql" )
	
	find_library( MYSQL_LIBRARY
		NAMES "mysqlclient" "mysqlclient_r"
		PATHS "/lib/mysql"
			  "/lib64/mysql"
			  "/usr/lib/mysql"
			  "/usr/lib64/mysql"
			  "/usr/local/lib/mysql"
			  "/usr/local/lib64/mysql"
			  "/usr/mysql/lib/mysql"
			  "/usr/mysql/lib64/mysql" )
endif()

if( EXISTS "${MYSQL_INCLUDE_DIR}/mysql_version.h" )
	file( STRINGS "${MYSQL_INCLUDE_DIR}/mysql_version.h"
		MYSQL_VERSION_H REGEX "^#define[ \t]+MYSQL_SERVER_VERSION[ \t]+\"[^\"]+\".*$" )
	string( REGEX REPLACE
		"^.*MYSQL_SERVER_VERSION[ \t]+\"([^\"]+)\".*$" "\\1" MYSQL_VERSION_STRING
		"${MYSQL_VERSION_H}" )
endif()

# handle the QUIETLY and REQUIRED arguments and set MYSQL_FOUND to TRUE if
# all listed variables are TRUE
include( FindPackageHandleStandardArgs )
find_package_handle_standard_args( MYSQL
    REQUIRED_VARS	MYSQL_LIBRARY MYSQL_INCLUDE_DIR
	VERSION_VAR		MYSQL_VERSION_STRING )

set( MYSQL_INCLUDE_DIRS ${MYSQL_INCLUDE_DIR} )
set( MYSQL_LIBRARIES ${MYSQL_LIBRARY} )

mark_as_advanced( MYSQL_INCLUDE_DIR MYSQL_LIBRARY )
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