Randa Report: Hacking on KDE and meeting friends

Hey there,

I'm already back home and now like to you let you know what I've been doing the last week during the Randa Sprint in the Swiss Alps.

Quick summay: It has been an immense event!

View from our hacking room, in Randa, Switzerland

Last week I've been mostly occupied with porting KDevelop to KF5 and, part of that, succeeded in making it compile and run on Windows as well. In between the hacking sessions, we had a lot of fruitful discussions which concerned the future of KDevelop and the whole KDE SDK itself. Let me break that down into the individiual tasks accomplished throughout the week.


Day 1 (Sat, 9th August)

Arriving to Randa, Switzerland at around afternoon. Meetup with all the KDE fellows scattered all around in the house.

Clang integration: C++ Macro navigation support

In the afternoon I was working a bit on tasks from kdev-clang (my GSoC project this year), which I wanted to get fixed first. So, I managed to bring back basic C++ Macro navigation support in our plugin (I'll explain the implementation details / shortcomings in another blog post).

KDevelop screenshot
KDevelop showing the uses of a macro definition when hovering the macro identifier and pressing "Show Uses"

Resolving inter-library dependencies in kdevplatform

Another largish patch landed in kdevplatform.git this evening: Splitting up the huge kdevplatformlanguage library (which contains all the language agnostic Definition-Use-Chain logic) into more managable parts. I've factored out the part that provides the infrastructure for serializing the DUChain items, and created kdevplatformserialization, which now contains all the classes required for writing your own (serializable) item repository.

This change resolved a few issues with inter-library dependencies we had in kdevplatform. This also helped making kdevplatform compile on Windows in the end.

Day 2 (Sun, 10th August)

More porting of kdevplatform to KDE Frameworks. Mostly fixing up CMake-related code in order to be able to compile tests using new CMake macros (ecm_add_test). Pushing a few compilation fixes for Windows for both GCC and MSVC.

Day 3 (Mon, 11th August)

Fixing up unit tests in kdevelop/kdevplatform using the frameworks branch. Also fixing a few crashes that popped due to changed behavior in Qt5 (mostly event-handling related).

Day 4 (Tue, 12th August)

Switch Declaration/Definition feature in kdevplatform

Moving support of the "Switch Declaration/Definition" feature (something you can trigger via the menu or via the "Ctrl+Shift+C" shortcut) to kdevplatform. That in turn means, that any language (well, any language which disambiguates between definitions and declarations) can make use of this feature without further work. Of course, the main motivation was to get this working for kdev-clang. Review-request here: https://git.reviewboard.kde.org/r/119648/

Basic Objective-C support in kdev-clang

Later that night, Alex Fiestas and me got into philosophical discussions about the Clang integration in KDevelop and suddenly the question about Objective-C support popped up. Realizing that we didn't ever look into that (despite being very well aware that Clang supports it), I decided to spent an hour on it in kdev-clang to see some first-hand results.

You can see the patch here. As you can see, this is mostly about making our Clang integration aware of Objective-C entities in the Clang AST. It's that trivial.

And here the result:

KDevelop screenshot
KDevelop providing basic support for the Objective-C language"

Note: If someone is interested in driving this further, that'd be greatly appreciated. Personally I won't have time in the near future to extend the Objective-C support (also, I don't do Objective-C these days, so I don't have a use for it)

Day 5 (Wed, 13th August)

Fixing up the Grep Dialog in KDevelop (frameworks branch). There were some issues with event-handling in KComboBox and default selection inside the dialog button box. In the end, I decided to port this over to QDialog and QComboBox right away and fixed up both issues during that.

Another major issue for KDevelop on Windows got fixed this day: Windows path handling in our custom QUrl-replacement class KDevelop::Path: We now also support Window's single-drive letter based file schemes (e.g. C:\tmp) here. That fixed include path / include lookup on Windows.

Day 6 (Thu, 14th August)

Attempting to fix hang-on-exit issue in KDevelop

This day, I was mostly spending (read: wasting) time attempting to fix the most apparent issue in KDevelop (frameworks branch): KDevelop not exiting cleanly when asked to be shutdown. I'm still not exactly sure what's wrong, but it seems like some object is not calling QCoreApplicationPrivate::deref, and hence the event loop is not being quit when the last window is closed (because QCA still assumes to be in use, i.e. the refcount being non-zero)

tl;dr: I'll keep you posted as soon as I find out what's wrong here.

Daytrip time

Thursday afternoon a whole bunch of the KDE fellows made a great day trip to get a closer look at the wonderful Matterhorn. For this, we got to Randa by taxi and got the chance to walk around in the (admittedly very touristy) town Zermatt. After a few minutes of walk, we got to see this amazing view of the Matterhorn:

View to Matterhorn from Zermatt, Switzerland

Day 7 (Fri, 15th August)

After a good week of productive hacking and meeting friends in the Swiss Alps, I left Randa very early in the morning by train towards Zurich, for my flight back to Berlin.


It has been a highly productive week this time. The team had a lot to discuss about future ideas that concern both KDevelop and the KDE SDK as a whole.

Interesting topics we've mentioned, which were directly related to KDevelop:

Improving the dashboards inside KDevelop:
We'd like to introduce a session-specific dashboard that shows information about the currently loaded projects, such as recent commits, recent bug entries, latest mailing list entries, etc.

Reducing the ramp-up time needed for newcomers:
We want to make it easier to download/build/run applications, and make it easier to contribute back patches to reviewboard for newcomers. Part of that we'd like make it easier to fetch dependencies of a particular KDE project, so the developer really doesn't need to worry too much about setting up his/her environment. We (the KDE SDK team) planned to improve kdesrc-build in a way it can be used as a backend for handling all this.

We also had a bunch of non-KDevelop related discussions, let me briefly summarize them:

  • The KF5 book is coming along nicely, and lots of people have been involved into making it shine
  • The KDE apidocs site got some love and looks much better now
  • (a lot more)


Thanks for making the event happen, thanks to all the donors for this year's Randa fundraiser! As always, it's been an terrific event, a super productive week altogether.

Thanks a lot to Mario Fux and his family/friends for organizing and keeping us happy during the event.