Chapter 1. What is KDevelop?

KDevelop is a modern integrated development environment (IDE) for C++ (and other languages) that is one of many KDE applications. As such it runs on Linux® (even if you run one of the other desktops, such as GNOME) but it is also available for most other variants of UNIX® and for Windows as well.

KDevelop offers all amenities of modern IDEs. For large projects and applications, the most important feature is that KDevelop understands C++: it parses the entire source base and remembers which classes have which member functions, where variables are defined, what their types are, and many other things about your code. For example, let's say one of your project's header files declares a class

class Car {
  // ...
    std::string get_color () const;

and later on in your program you have

Car my_ride;
// something with this variable...
std::string color =

it will have remembered that my_ride in the last line is a variable of type Car and offer you to complete ge as get_color() since this is the only member function of the Car class that starts like this. Instead of continuing to type you just hit Enter to get the full word; this saves typing, avoids typos, and doesn't require you to remember the exact names of the hundreds or thousands of functions and classes that make up large projects.

As a second example, assume you have code like this:

double foo ()
  double var = my_func();
 return var * var;
double bar ()
  double var = my_func();
  return var * var * var;

If you hover the mouse over the symbol var in function bar you get the option to see all uses of this symbol. Clicking on it will only show you the uses of this variable in function bar because KDevelop understands that the variable var in function foo has nothing to do with it. Similarly, right clicking on the variable name allows you to rename the variable; doing so will only touch the variable in bar but not the one with the same name in foo.

But KDevelop is not just an intelligent code editor; there are other things KDevelop does well. Obviously, it highlights the source code in different colors; it has a customizable indenter; it has an integrated interface to the GNU debugger gdb; it can show you the documentation for a function if you hover the mouse over a use of this function; it can deal with different kinds of build environments and compilers (e.g. with make and cmake-based project), and many other neat things that are discussed in this manual.