Becoming a KDeveloper

So, I’ve just been accepted into this year’s Summer of Code program. I’ll be working on KDevelop, introducing a system for using and sharing code templates. This includes both project templates (integrating KNewStuff into KAppTemplate) and more specialized templates (for code files,  classes, tests, make and cmake files, etc). The full proposal is online at

However, all this is still in the future. I’ve already been doing some work on KDevelop, and so far I’ve enjoyed it very much. Not only do I use it every day, its plugin architecture makes it easy to add small pieces of functionality. Note that because of school getting harder every year, I have little free time and my progress is a bit slow. But anyway, I’ll show you what I wrote the past few moths.

Unit tests

KDevelop currently has no support for unit testing. However, both KDevelop and KDevPlatform have loads of them, so a good system for running tests and reporting their results would find a good use. So I introduced some new interfaces for unit tests, including finding and running them. A toolview was adapted from the old and unmaintained Veritas library, however I took steps to better separate the interfaces and their implementations. Currently supported are tests declared with CMake and those using the PHPUnit framework.

A toolview for listing unit test suites and their test cases

Apart from simply listing tests, the relevant declarations are also extracted and a “show source” action is available. Support for running unit tests and reporting results is also functional, however I have trouble deciding which icons to use. There is a difference between a failed test case and an error, and also between an individual testcase and suite results. As a short-term solution I implemented a mess of different icons.

The toolview showing results of a test run

Finding tests declared in CMake files works reliable, whether they use add_test() directly or some wrapper macro (like kde4_add_test()). Unfortunately, this is not true for php tests cases. The problem with PHPUnit is that a test case must inherit from a certain class, but  doesn’t have to include any special file, so the parser find the right declaration by itself. I managed to fix it by modifying the parser, so that most test cases are found, but unfortunately still not all.

Additionally, when running the test cases, their output is displayed in a separate toolview. For test cases using QtTest or PHPUnit, the output is highlighted appropriately (green for success, red for failure). For Qt-based tests, clicking a line in the output also takes you to the declaration in the code.

An output from a test using the QtTest framework

If you wish to test this, the code is in the “unittest” branches of kdevplatform, kdevelop and kdev-php. Any input is appreciated, especially regarding the presentation to the user.

Code checking

Another valuable resource for KDE developers is the Krazy code checker. Seeing how easy it is to create KDevelop plugins, I wrote another one to run Krazy and report back the results. Any issues found are inserted into the declaration-use chain, so they are visible in the Problems toolview, as well as in the code itself.

An issue found by Krazy displayed in the Problems view and in the code

The code is still in my personal scratch repository at

When all else fails

I also implemented a different kind of code checking: by humiliation. If you stumple upon a horrible piece of code, either written by you or inherited, you can earn a feeling of superiority by sending it over to The Daily WTF.

A context menu entry for submitting an offending code snippet to The Daily WTF

I haven’t yet submitted any code with it, but I tested the plugin with Alex, the site’s maintainer, and he says it works. So watch out, if you write bad code, even if you fool all the unit tests and code checking tools, someone can still expose you.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Freakin Brilliant!

    I’ve been using Java and it’s JUnit framework for a uni project and was beginning to really miss it’s pretty output in C++/KDE.

    I can’t wait for this to become stable and in my KDevelop 🙂

    I think there aren’t any tests in KTp, so I’m going to start writing some so that by the time I use this, there will be nice heap of tests wanting pretty output.


  2. Very useful, I’m starting using it right these days! (New work, c++ finally).
    However what I’m missing is the ability to configure the test launch, particularly adding a “prerequisite” (I’m mostly referring to compilation of one of more targets the test depends on). How can it be done?
    Let me know if you need help! 🙂


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