KDE Dev Guide

Useful Tools

This chapter lists some of our favorite tools for software development, debugging. building, and other activities. Some are discussed in other parts of the book as well.  

Core Tools

These 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 of the tool. Of course, the standard development tools, such as a C/C++ compiler and some sort of text editor, are also required.

CMake - CMake is the build system of choice for the KDE SC. 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. 

Git - Most KDE SC projects are developed in Git, so you will need it to get the source code in the first place. You can find the relevant Git URLs at the KDE SC projects directory. It will be helpful to follow the git configuration instructions. 

Subversion - The KDE SC still uses Subversion for some things, notably translations.

Debugging and Analysis Tools

These are used to analyze a program and do such tasks as profiling.

Valgrind - Valgrind helps to find memory leaks and uninitialized memory blocks. It also includes a profiler and more. Valgrind is one of the most important development tools.  

The GNU Project Debugger (GDB) - GDB helps you find problems in source code by allowing you to set breakpoints, step through the code, look at stack traces, etc. It keeps evolving, but we currently recommend version 6.x. Graphical frontends are available. See also the debugging tutorial "Debugging with GDB" at http://techbase.kde.org/Development/Tutorials/Debugging/Debugging_with_GDB 

KDbg and DDD - KDbg and DDD are graphical user interfaces to GDB. 

MS Windows tools (Process Explorer, Console, WinDbg, DebugView, etc.) - More information about these is available on the "KDE on Windows" page on Techbase:


Development Tools

These are more basic tools that will help you with your development. We have discussed some of these earlier. 

Qt Creator

This is the recommended IDE for KDE SC development, making it easy to write new programs and to integrate existing ones into an IDE. Further details can be found in this tutorial:



KDevelop is the IDE created as part of the KDE SC for developing KDE and Qt C++ applications. It includes a an integrated debugger, a powerful editor with syntax highlighting, a Project wizard to create applications from templates, the automake/autoconf suite, and even the class documentation. Further details can also be found on the KDevelop wiki.



Eclipse was developed for Java programming, but designed with a view toward extensibility that has made it popular for many programming languages. You can find out more at http://www.eclipse.org.

MS Visual Studio® Express IDE (Windows only)

Visual C++® Express is the free version of the Microsoft Visual Studio compiler from, and is officially supported by Nokia. It is a choice for compiling Qt and KDE applications on Windows. More information can be found at:


Internationalization (i18n) Tools

These help you create applications that can be viewed and used in different languages and with the local conventions of different countries for currency, time, etc. 


Lokalize is a computer-aided translation (CAT) system that focuses on productivity and quality assurance. It has the usual components for CAT tools: translation memory, a glossary, etc. It also includes a unique translation merging (synchronization) capability. It is targeted at software translation and integrates external conversion tools for freelance office document translation. 

Dr. Klash

This reports conflicting shortcuts in menus. It's helpful for both translators and developers.

The x-test language

This language helps you find 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. 

Helper Tools

These provide a variety of useful functions.


This helps a user to find out more about a KDE SC installation. 


This lets you control the Konqueror browser through scripts. 


Command-line tool for network-transparent operations  


This updates configuration files. 

apidox tools

These help develop and generate API documentation for your code. 


This is a helper tool that builds KDE SC4. It automatically generates moc-files. 


This tool helps you keep track of merges between different SVN branches.

Quality Assurance

Code Review

KDE uses the Review Board for performing code reviews; see the page on the Review Board on the kDE Techbase for more information:


Continuous Building - Dashboards

Dirk's dashboard has all KDE modules, while the win32 dashboard has a selection available on Windows.

English Breakfast Network - Static Analysis

The English Breakfast Network is a collection of machines that do automated KDE source artifact quality checking. Basically, that means they have a git clone of the entire KDE codebase (including documentation and whatnot) and they run checking tools on that.

EBN uses:

  • Krazy - Code Analysis
  • APIDOX - API Documentation 
  • Sanitizer - DocBook Checker
  • Usability Checks