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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.
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
- 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.
- Module overview
- Sending patches
- Applying for a KDE SVN Account
- First steps with your new SVN account
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 Reference Documentation.
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).
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, becoming a member of the KDE Quality Team might appeal to you - see the Quality Team 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.
Getting Answers to Your Questions
If your question concerns KDE development, your options are pretty much the same general user ones, with some modifications:
- Read the Developer FAQ. Many common developer questions have been answered in the KDE Developer FAQ
- Search/browse KDE websites. A lot of questions can also be answered from the KDE websites, and the documentation included on it. You can search all the KDE websites on the homepage. In addition, you can browse the KDE TechBase website.
- Search mailing lists. A lot of questions have already been answered on the KDE mailing lists, particular the lists kde-devel, kde2-porting, kde-core-devel, kde-games-devel, kfm-devel and koffice-devel. You can search these lists either at lists.kde.org. You should always search for your answer before asking questions on the mailing lists. When you ask a question on a mailing list you are emailing thousands of people -- please do this only if the answer is not available through a simple search.
- Search engines. Do not forget about your favorite search engine. One of the best search engines is Google. With Google you can also search the great bulk of Usenet news sites, which is also particularly helpful, especially for general programming and gcc-related questions.
- Ask on KDE mailing lists. If you still do not have an answer, try asking your question on one of the KDE mailing lists listed above.
- For questions relating to core development or third-party KDE development, unless you are particularly interested in Konqueror, KOffice, games or Java development, your main choice is kde-devel (subscribe).
- For questions relating to Konqueror development, your main choice is kfm-devel (subscribe)
- For questions relating to KOffice development, your main choice is koffice-devel (subscribe)
- For questions relating to games development, your main choice is kde-games-devel (subscribe)
- For questions relating to Java development with KDE, your main choice is kde-java (subscribe)
- For questions relating to Qt development, please use the fine Qt mailing list.
- 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.