KDevelop 1.4

KDevelop provides a tool that combines the resources of contributors and existing open-source products.
Configuration Management (Source Control)

If version control system was chosen during the project's creation, designated files can be added to source control system (see Figure 11). This can be done by selecting the file's Add to Repository pop-up menu option in the Group or File view. Changes can be committed via the Commit option and other developer changes retrieved with the Update option.

Figure 11. Using the Source Control System

Because CVS supports remote repositories, it is possible to have multiple developer projects using KDevelop. However, KDevelop does not provide the full functionality associated with CVS, such as file watching and editing privileges.

User Generated Documentation

KDevelop has hooks for generating program API documentation via kdoc and doxygen. When generated, the user can browse the user API documentation with KDevelop. This is very handy for large projects with several developers.

If user documentation was selected during the creation of the project, a user manual HTML template is automatically generated. It is up to the user whether to use an HTML editor to fill out this information.

Support

One of the possible disadvantages of open-source projects is support. Occasionally a project goes into hiatus, and it might be virtually impossible to contact someone concerning problems, help or bugs. However, KDevelop has a very active mailing list, which is continually monitored by the several maintainers of KDevelop. KDevelop itself provides a bug-reporting tool that allows users to send problem descriptions to the KDevelop folks.

Therefore, support is not a problem, and coupled with a good range of on-line documents, KDevelop provides a level of support that most commercial products cannot match.

What Is Missing Wish List

Although KDevelop is a robust and useful tool, several functional areas are missing or still need to be improved:

  • A smart editor would be handy that would automatically complete your code, like the parameters for the current function.

  • KDevelop 1.4 language support is limited mainly to C++ and C applications using the gcc/g++ compiler.

  • There could be better support for integrating with other GUI builders, such as the GNOME GUI builder, glade.

  • Incorporating an existing project into KDevelop is not easy.

  • Rapid application development (RAD) components that provide database connectivity and a base for enterprise level development are not present.

Because KDevelop is an open-source program, these missing or incomplete features may not be such problems after all. The KDevelop team is continually striving to improve the IDE, and if a feature is really wanted, implement it yourself and be part of the KDevelop team.

Summary

KDevelop has the capabilities equivalent to an intermediate level commercial IDE. It integrates well with the Linux platform, makes use of many open-source tools and provides a level of support that is hard to beat. Although there is still room for improvement, KDevelop fulfills the functions of a development environment suitable for small to intermediate projects and development teams.

Petr Sorfa (petrs@sco.com) is a member of the Santa Cruz Operation's Development Systems Group where he is the maintainer of the cscope and Sar3D open-source projects. He has a BSC from the University of Cape Town and a BSC Honours from Rhodes University. His interests include open-source projects, computer graphics, development systems and sequential art (comics).

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