The KDE Community produces libraries and tools for software development but, aside from Qt and CMake, doesn't prescribe which one to use. Here is just a sample of the various tools you can use when developing software that uses KDE APIs or contributing to KDE applications themselves.
These are the tools that are absolutely required to build and develop KDE software. On Linux, they will typically be provided by your distribution. On other platforms, packages should normally be available, often for download directly from the home page for the tool. Of course, the standard development tools, such as a C/C++ compiler and some sort of text editor, are also required.
- CMake is KDE's build system of choice. Once you have this, you can use it to configure a software project for building, and that process will tell you of any other requirements you are missing. NOTE: KDE Frameworks can also be used in QMake-based projects.
- Most KDE projects are developed in Git, and so you will need it to get the latest development version of the source code. KDE also provides source code tarballs for the most recent releases. You can find the relevant Git URLs at the KDE Git repository browser.
- Some KDE projects still use Subversion for some things, notably translations. Third-party developers mostly don't need to bother with this but contributors should take note of it.
Development Environments and Editors
- Qt Creator
- Qt application developers are most likely already using Qt Creator as their IDE. The good news is that they don't need to switch away from it just to use KDE Frameworks. Simply add the appropriate module to the QMake project file as indicated by each one's API documentation and you're good to go.
- KDevelop is a powerful IDE for developing KDE and Qt C++ applications. Unlike Qt Creator, however, it isn't limited to just that use case and supports other languages, libraries, and tools as well.
- Although not exactly an IDE, KDE's premiere Advanced Text Editor has features and plugins that simplify the software development workflow, from syntax highlighting and code folding to project management to an embedded terminal emulator.
Debugging and Analysis
There is a wide variety of tools available, especially on Linux that analyze code and profile applications. Here are some of the more popular ones.
- Valgrind helps to find memory leaks and uninitialized memory blocks. Additional features are a profiler and more. Valgrind is one of the most important development tools!
- The GNU Project Debugger (GDB)
- GDB helps in debugging source code. A graphical frontend, like the two below, might be a preferable way to use this tool.
- KDbg and DDD
- KDbg and DDD are graphical user interfaces to GDB, which are able to set breakpoints, step through the code, etc.
For some tips on KDE software analysis and profiling, please visit the Debugging page of the KDE Community Wiki.
Most Qt projects use the framework's built-in translation system. For KDE projects, please see the Community Internationalization Guide.
Here are some command-line tools that can assist developers in some of their day-to-day tasks.
- Provides information related to the installation of KDE libraries and applications, particularly paths and prefixes.
- Performs network-transparent operations (via the KIO framework) on the command line, like copying or even downloading files.
- Automates updating config files.
- Generates API documentation for Doxygen-marked code.
KDE contributors and third-party developers interested in monitoring the community's software development activities can take a peek via the sites and tools below.
- Project Management
- Continuous Building
- Static Analysis
- KDE uses an automated static analysis tool hosted on the English Breakfast Network