Parts to be reviewed:Needs to be updated and directed towards external developers
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 swich 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 are 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.
Internationalization (i18n) Tools
- Lokalize is a computer-aided translation system that focuses on productivity and quality assurance. It has components usual for CAT tools: translation memory, glossary, and also a unique translation merging (synchronization) capability. It is targeted for software translation and also integrates external conversion tools for freelance office document translation.
- Dr. Klash
- This little utility, once activated, can present a report about conflicting shortcuts in menus. Not only is this helpful for translators but also for developers. A little hand editing of `kde-config --localprefix`/share/config/kdeglobals activates this feature:
[Development] CheckAccelerators=F12 AutoCheckAccelerators=false AlwaysShowCheckAccelerators=false
- Pressing F12 will show a dialog containing which accelerators in the currently focussed interface conflict and provide suggestions for new accelerators. If no accelerators conflict or Dr. Klash has nothing to suggest, no popup dialog will be displayed.
- With AutoCheckAccelerators enabled the dialog will popup automatically if a conflict exists and AlwaysShowCheckAccelerators can force the dialog to always popup even if there are no conflicts to report.
- The x-test language
- This helper language serves as a debugging aid for people finding untranslated strings in applications. If you start your application with the "x-test" locale, all translated strings will appear with trailing and leading xx's. First you have to check out these "translations" from l10n-kde4/x-test and install them.
- After you've built l10n-kde4/x-test and installed it, run your application using the "x-test" locale. This can be done by launching it from the command line like this:
> KDE_LANG=x-test kspread
- This will start KSpread using the "x-test" locale no matter what your current language setting is. Look for strings that do not have the xx's. If xx's are missing from a string, it could be due to missing i18n calls or even missing or incorrectly generated .pot files. Consult the i18n tutorials for further information.
- When checking for untranslated strings, be sure to check all the WhatsThis help and tooltips.
Examining .po files
You can look at the translated .po files to see if a string is present and has been translated. For example, here's a portion of l10n/de/messages/kdebase/konqueror.po:
#: konq_mainwindow.cc:3707 konq_tabs.cc:84 msgid "&New Tab" msgstr "Neues &Unterfenster"
The string to be translated is given on the msgid line. The translated string is on the msgstr line. Notice that the exact same string to translate came from konq_mainwindow.cc and also from konq_tabs.cc. This saves the translators from having to translate the same identical string twice.
You can also use Lokalize to examine .po files. Lokalize is part of the kdesdk module.
- Get information about KDE's installation - kde-config
- The tool kde-config helps to find out more about a KDE installation.
- Driving Konqueror From Scripts - kfmclient
- kfmclient is a small tool to communicate with Konqueror.
- Updating User Configuration Files - kconf_update
- kconf_update is a tool designed to update config files.
- Generating apidox
- tools that help develop and generate API documentation for your code.
- This is a helper tool needed to build KDE4. It automatically generates moc-files.
- This tool helps keeping track of merges between different SVN branches
- Project Management
- KDE is transitioning to [phabricator.org Phabricator] for project management. You can get started with Phabricator on the getting started page. The older Review Board is limited to code reviews only: see here for more details.