Developing C/C++ Applications with the KDevelop IDE

A sample implementation to help you get familiar with KDE's IDE and Qt Designer.

The aim of this article is to enable you to create an application with the KDevelop Integrated Development Environment (IDE) on a Linux/UNIX system running KDE 2. We explain this process by creating a sample application that gives some insight into the development framework and how it works. This might require getting your development environment set up correctly, so that you can work efficiently when getting started with your very own application or extension for the KDE 2 Desktop.

What Is an IDE?

An IDE provides the user with a complete set of tools that integrate into one graphical environment. It's an enormous bonus for developers if the environment remains flexible enough to handle things separately or outside of the IDE, so they are not forced to use the IDE's features where they think other tools are more appropriate.

Although IDEs on other platforms, especially on Microsoft operating systems, come with all the tools bundled into one package, it's very different on a UNIX system. With UNIX, the compiler, which is needed to create applications from the programming code that can be run on a machine, is part of the operating system. Various tools that can be used in conjunction with the compiler, like make or the GNU tools, are delivered as separate packages, and an IDE makes use of these tools internally.

The KDE Project, comes with an IDE called KDevelop. This IDE can be used on any UNIX system to develop software, especially KDE software, but not limited to it. Many experienced UNIX programmers use it for plain C and C++ programming.

Setting Up Your Development Environment

If you're using a popular Linux distribution, you should encounter few problems when setting up the IDE; especially when it already ships with KDevelop and takes over the installation of all the tools needed. What you need, in any case, is a C/C++ compiler, such as the current version of gcc that ships with current distros.

The next task is installing the GNU tools autoconf and automake and the package-building utility make.

For finding program errors, you need to install a debugger installed, which is called gdb, the GNU debugger. To complete your environment, the version control management utility, CVS, can be helpful, as well as source code documentation software, such as kdoc and doxygen.

The last package you need is KDevelop itself; it can be downloaded from the KDE web site at www.kde.org or from your distribution's web site.

If these requirements are all met, you still might be missing at least one very important part of your development environment, especially for KDE programming: the header files of the libraries that you intend to use. These files contain the API (application programming interface) that the compiler needs to have in order to look up which functionality you want to use while compiling your application.

The header files (also known as include files) should be located in your $KDEDIR/include (KDE header files) and your $QTDIR/include (Qt header files) directories. Make sure you have these installed; usually they're in packages with names such as kde-devel and qt-devel.

Further, there is the Qt Designer, a graphical user interface builder that is easy to use and works together with KDevelop to create KDE/Qt applications, so make sure that you have it installed as well.

Note: the KDEDIR and QTDIR environment variables should point to the directories where your KDE 2 and Qt 2.x installations are located, e.g., in your ~/.bashrc: export KDEDIR=/opt/kde2; export QTDIR=/usr/lib/qt-2.3.0.

Make Yourself Comfortable

As a programming beginner, it is crucial to have a successful experience. Let's start with creating your first KDE application. Open up KDevelop and make yourself comfortable with the environment.

In the treeview on the left side, you should see some books that you can unfold and that contain documentation included with KDevelop--almost 500 pages that can help you in almost every development situation. The second folder in that tree contains books with the API documentation of the Qt and KDE libraries.

In case you don't see them, set the appropriate paths in KDevelop through Options-->KDevelop Setup in the Documentation section. The other windows in the treeview will be used during development, and we will refer to them later. The right-hand window contains three tabs: two editor windows and a browser window, which will display the HTML documentation you select on the left treeview (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Welcome to the Desktop

The window on the bottom will be used to inform you about what your environment is currently doing; it will show the compiler output later on and display any error messages.

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where is qt c++ help/manual/howtos?

WebFormSubmitter's picture

Does anybody know where is qt c++ help/manual/howtos?
I just started to learn KDevelop & C++, created a sample KDE+QT C++ app,
and don't know what QT classes/methods are available?

How to configure KDevelop Debugger for QT project.

Koushik's picture

Hello all,
i would like to know, is there any options to configure debugger for Kdevelop. presently i am working on QT based project so i would like to debug the errors but some how i cannot. it simply does nothing if i use debug which is present in the Kdevelop IDE. i dont know how to configure it. i need it to be like a visual C++ debugger so that i can debug my code line by line. please provide appropriate information on this. Thanks

regards,
Koushik P S R

Re: Developing C/C++ Applications with the KDevelop IDE

Anonymous's picture

Kdevelop is great but it is very complex for beginners and people that doesn't develop KDE applications. I prefer to use Anjuta (http://anjuta.sourceforge.net) because it is more general and the syntax highlight is better than Kdevelop.

Re: Developing C/C++ Applications with the KDevelop IDE

Anonymous's picture

Different from KDevelop which finishes all the tasks under linux, Magic C++ is a kind of visual remote unix and linux C/C++ IDE under windows.You can have a look at http://www.magicunix.com . It looks just like Visual C++ and supprots for editing, compiling, debugging etc.

Re: Developing C/C++ Applications with the KDevelop IDE

Anonymous's picture

Where is figure 3?

Lost with debian woody + unstable

Anonymous's picture

Hi,

I've installed a Debian woody since Saturday (I'm new to Debian, i've used SuSE for several years) with some parts from unstale (kde within them).

I've downloaded kde-develop, I've also qt-designer installed but kdevelop seems to not be well configured.

First, documentation files... Where are the paths to them? I cannot build my KDE books, nor C/C++ reference...

Then, Qt-Designer; I've it installed, I can run it from outside KDevelop but after creating the sample application as KDE-Mini one there's no Form Dialog and not dialog editor button neither...

Well... Is there anyone here that can help me? Thanks a lot.

Re: Lost with debian woody + unstable

Anonymous's picture

Try to ask at #debian (/server irc.openprojects.net)

Re: Lost with debian woody + unstable

Anonymous's picture

apt-get install c-cpp-reference kdevelop kdevelop-data kdevelop-doc

all from unstable (attach /unstable to each package name)

Re: Lost with debian woody + unstable

Anonymous's picture

Thanks,

I did not installed c-cpp-reference and kdevelop-doc. Now I've it but Kdevelop still fails on setup. It says that "The documentation of the kde-library could not be found. It will be automatically generated in the next step". But then it ask me for the path of kdelibs and I can found them; it claims for the sources, that probably I've not installed but as I have now kdevelop-doc I think I'll no more need that sources... Could it be I can solve this later without installing that sources.

On the other hand, when I'm indexing the documentation (Qt only, as Kdevelop docs. are not found), it says that an 'htdig.conf' not were found... but I've htdig installed and an /etc/htdig/htdig.conf... I've tried linking that file from /etc/htdig.conf but it doesn't work... any ideas?

Thanks a million!

Re: Lost with debian woody + unstable

Anonymous's picture

apt-get install kdelibs3-doc

Re: Lost with debian woody + unstable

Anonymous's picture

p.s. try

apt-cache search kdelibs

to find packages related to kdelibs.

Re: Lost with debian woody + unstable

Anonymous's picture

p.s. try

apt-cache search kdelibs

to see packages related to kdelibs.

Now if it just had VIM..

Anonymous's picture

An IDE would be really nice if for nothing else than having a fast way to view classes in a program and bounce around between them, but without VIM as the editing component, it's too painful to bother with.

Re: Now if it just had VIM..

Anonymous's picture

The editor interface is generic so once kvim is completed you could use that :=)

Re: Now if it just had VIM..

Anonymous's picture

is anyone implementing kemacs to be used as a editor komponent on kdevelop?

Re: Now if it just had VIM..

Anonymous's picture

i'd love that too, but i don't really feel up to implementing it :)

Re: Now if it just had VIM..

Anonymous's picture

emacs 21 rocks. I use the viper-mode to get the good features of vi.

--

Only opinion

Re: Developing C/C++ Applications with the KDevelop IDE

Anonymous's picture

ehrm....

Re: Developing C/C++ Applications with the KDevelop IDE

Anonymous's picture

Ralf, you're a KDevelop developer, have a KDE.org email address, and you claim thet 1.4 w/2.1.1 is the latest release of KDevelop??? I'm running debian/sid, with 2.2.2, and my KDevelop claims that it is 2.0.2. Anyways, good article, even it it looks like it should be dated March 6th, 2001 :-)

Re: Developing C/C++ Applications with the KDevelop IDE

Anonymous's picture

I am used to program in VB and i find it av very good short introduction.

regards RP

Re: Developing C/C++ Applications with the KDevelop IDE

Anonymous's picture

I am currently using VisualFoxPro 6.0 to develop inhouse applications at work. With the arrival of Qt 3 and its data-aware apps KDevelop / QtDesigner has reached the critical level of power that puts it in direct competition with VFP6+, VB, PB, etc... for ease of development and productivity.

As a test, I used QtDesigner to write an addressbook app that connected to my PostgreSQL database Addresses table. What was neat was that I didn't have to write a single line of code for it to work in the preview mode. I can easily flip back and forth between the dev mode and the preview mode, just as I do in VFP. Oh, the connection to the PostgreSQL database was handled by the supplied QPSQL7 driver.

Programming doesn't get any easier than this.

Re: Developing C/C++ Applications with the KDevelop IDE

Anonymous's picture

So did I, which is why I said that it was a good article...

Re: Developing C/C++ Applications with the KDevelop IDE

Anonymous's picture

Score 0.... Assine comments. Did a small child write that? If you had looked at www.kdevelop.org, that the latest version is 2.1 Beta 2. Trying to sound cool you made yourself look like an idiot.

Re: Developing C/C++ Applications with the KDevelop IDE

Anonymous's picture

Well, my comment made a lot more sense when this was originally posted, and Ralf had a comment about how the latest KDevelop was 1.4 that comes with 2.1.1. Now it appears to have been edited, and I'll admit I look like an ass :-) You'll note, however, that I didn't claim to be running the latest KDevelop, just that the version I *am* running was higher than what he *claimed* was the highest number. As it was obviously a typo of some sort (actually, I suspect at least a couple of the paragraphs were cut and paste from another source) my response was simply a slightly-humourous way of telling Ralf such. As for it appearing to have been written by a child, I mispelt one word. I assure you, many people who are not small children do that ;-)

P.S. *NO* I'm not saying Ralf is guilty of plagarism, just that he has undoutably written about KDevelop before, and simply lifted the introduction, rather than rewritting it. A very smart thing to do, unless you forget to proof-read it B)

Re: Developing C/C++ Applications with the KDevelop IDE

Anonymous's picture

Anonymous, go buy some m$ stuff it should fit your need. Your reply to ralf is simply stupid.

Re: Developing C/C++ Applications with the KDevelop IDE

Anonymous's picture

Anonymous, your reply to Anonymous is simply stupid. Please kill yourself now. Thank you.

Re: Developing C/C++ Applications with the KDevelop IDE

Anonymous's picture

Try to introduce yourself to Clint Eastwood,

very important

reem's picture

hi everybody i want to know how to make a program by kdevelop to run /stop /wait/ kill all process thanks please anyone answer me

Hello Chuck

Anonymous's picture

Hello Chuck, we are now on 3.3.1.

It rocks

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