Revision as of 23:31, 11 June 2008 by Winterz (talk | contribs) (add "areas of interest")



This page intends to give an overview of the different aspects of KDE development in particular for programming related issues. The KDE project welcomes anyone willing to help.

There are a lot of ways to get involved in KDE development, which can be summed up in several categories:
Documentation, Translation, Development, Usability, Accessibility, Artwork, Promotion
Not a coder? See KDE's pages on how to get involved to see other ways you can help. Also see: Bugsquad!

News and Mail Sources

The general direction of the KDE project is determined by those who do the work - there is no single high level plan for what KDE will look like in the future.

If you want to find out what is currently happening, then there are a number of sources you might like to consider:

Mailing Lists
Probably the best way to find out what's going on in KDE development. Archives are available here
Receive notification of SVN commits in areas that interest you.
KDE Commit-Digest
Weekly summary of SVN commits.
The Dot
The KDE news site.

Getting Started with Coding

Getting started at coding for KDE is a matter of finding something to fix, and fixing it. You may want to consult the module overview to help find what you are looking for; once you have fixed something, you will want to send in a patch. If you do that a few times, you may want to apply for an SVN account so you can fix things directly.

At the moment, there are two choices for development within KDE - you can work on KDE3, or KDE4. KDE3 is a good choice for bug fixing, however the main development work effort (and all new features) is on KDE4. This document mainly focuses on work in support of KDE4.


KDE is mostly written in C++. If you are not familiar with C++, you should do at least some work on it. There are a number of good books on C++ - an excellent source is Bruce Eckel's "Thinking in C++", which is available both as a free download and as a printed document. It isn't essential to understand everything before you start in KDE, but you do need to understand basic syntax and operations.


To become proficient with KDE coding, you should understand the Qt toolkit. If you are not familiar with Qt, you should work through the tutorials included with Qt (Qt4 version, Qt3 version).

If you are more into multimedia and videos for a start you might want to spend two amazing minutes on watching Building a Simple Help Documentation Browser with Qt4 Designer. If that got your attention you might also want to watch the video introduction Hello Qt by Mark Summerfield which is part of the Trolltech Developer Days 2006 presentations.

If you need a gentler introduction to Qt, or would just like an alternative view, then you may wish to look at the The Independent Qt Tutorial (Currently offline due to book contract).

If you prefer to learn Qt by reading a traditional book, take a look at Trolltechs book page. More suggestions on becoming familiar with Qt4 are available here as well.


A range of information on KDE techniques is available in the tutorial section. Note that some of these tutorials still target KDE3, though they should be at least partly applicable.

You will also find useful information on KDE coding in the FAQs section. This information may also be somewhat dated for KDE4, however much of it is broadly applicable, even outside KDE.

You can also read KDE coding books.

Last, but by no means least, KDE comes with extensive class (Application Programmer Interface) documentation. This is available in the KDE API Reference Manuals section, which also contains a number of useful links on how to write or update the class documentation. You can also generate these on your own machine, or refer to a more up-to-date online version at The English Breakfast Network.

A more detailed description of the steps above is available in our Programming Guide.

Getting Involved in Bug Hunting and Application Quality

There is a large number of applications within KDE, and not all of them have a maintainer dedicated to managing bugs and generally helping out with all the issues associated with turning some working code into a polished application.

If you are interested in helping out with KDE, but don't know where to start, visit Contribute Website for more information. Note that you do not need any programming skills to become involved. In particular develpers regurarly publish so-called Junior Jobs to encourage new contributions.

Of course, you can become involved in bug hunting without being part of the KDE Quality Team - just create yourself an account on the KDE bug tracking system, and start searching / sorting through the bugs. Again, you don't have to have programming skills - it helps the programmers enormously just to have a procedure that allows a bug to be consistently reproduced.

The Bugsquad tries to keep track of bugs in KDE software and make sure that valid bugs are noticed by developers. You do not need any programming knowledge to be in the Bugsquad; in fact it is a great way to return something to the KDE community if you cannot program.

Areas of Interest

KDE is a meta-project which thrives on a diverse group of contributors whose skills cover a large set of disciplines. The Areas of Interest page provides a high-level look at the project and attempts to match your interests and skills to the appropriate teams or sub-communities.

Historical Sources

KDE Traffic
Summary of the development mailing lists. KDE Traffic ran for 76 issues, from 10 March 2001 until 16 April 2004. The KDE Commit-Digest (described above) is its logical successor.

This page was last edited on 15 May 2019, at 23:00. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.