The Road to KDE Devland – step 1


In case you’ve missed it, the series starts with step 0.


When I became interested in KDE development some years ago, it wasn’t very easy to find out how to start. I found a KDevelop tutorial and learned a little about C++, but that’s pretty much it. Soon other things in life took over, and I returned to just watch KDE’s progress through the Dot and Planet KDE.

This summer, when I finally have a lot of free time, I want to start over. This means that “The Road to KDE Devland” series should suit you even if you don’t have any prior knowledge about C++ or programming in general.

Starting point

Nowadays there’s a natural starting point for soon-to-be developers:

Here are two articles to get you started:


From the first link, you can read “KDE is mostly written in C++. If you are not familiar with C++, you should do at least some work on it” and “To become proficient with KDE coding, you should understand the Qt toolkit”. Although other languages are supported, I’ll only focus on C++/Qt.

So the plan is simple: first I’ll learn C++, then Qt and ultimately get familiar with KDE coding. When you come to Qt, make sure it’s Qt4 and not Qt3 as there are some major differences. I think most people would highly recommend to skip Qt3 and start directly with Qt4.

Online Resources

There are a lot of useful links in the two TechBase articles I linked to earlier. Here are some additional links that you might find useful:



Personally I prefer real books, even if there are free e-books available. Which brings me to the next section…


There are a lot of good C++ books, so I won’t list them all – a Google search should get you on track. As for books on Qt, you can find a list here.

Below are the books I use. They are by no means the “best”, they just happen to be the ones I choose.

(Note: I own the 5th edition of Sams Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days and 1st edition of the other books).

When skimming through C++ GUI Programming with Qt 4, I found that it picked up pace and soon left me in the dust with the spreadsheet example. For that reason, I wanted another Qt book as a complement. I also considered getting Foundations of Qt Development, but bought the other book instead because of some good reviews.

If you have your own tips (online resources, books etc.), please share them in the comments section.

Now, the journey has truly begun – in the next step, I’ve hopefully started with the actual programming. See you then!


15 Responses to “The Road to KDE Devland – step 1”

  1. Hans Chen (mogger) 's status on Sunday, 19-Jul-09 18:28:26 UTC - Says:

    […] The Road to KDE Devland – step 1 « Who Says Penguins Can’t Fly? […]

  2. David Boddie Says:

    Python hackers should find the “official” PyQt book useful when getting started with Qt:

  3. Patrick Aljord (patcito) 's status on Sunday, 19-Jul-09 19:57:10 UTC - Says:

    […] The Road to KDE Devland – step 1 « Who Says Penguins Can’t Fly? […]

  4. mtux (mtux) 's status on Sunday, 19-Jul-09 20:05:07 UTC - Says:

    […] The Road to KDE Devland – step 1 « Who Says Penguins Can’t Fly? […]

  5. nemphis's status on Sunday, 19-Jul-09 20:07:47 UTC - Says:

    […] The Road to KDE Devland – step 1 « Who Says Penguins Can’t Fly? […]

  6. Luca Beltrame Says:

    @David Boddie I bought that book and it’s very helpful, although you need to have a decent understanding of Python before reading it.

  7. Hans Says:

    @David Boddie: Thanks for the link. I’ve edited the post to reflect that you can use other languages to develop for KDE too.

  8. Dion Moult Says:

    Loving this – I’ve got the Accelerated C++ book but no time at all to start reading it. I’m in my summer too but absolutely stuffed with other things. Perhaps I should also start up a blog series?

  9. snowno Says:

    The book written by C++-writer Bjarne Stroustrup himself is also very recommendable in my opinion.

  10. David Boddie Says:

    @Luca: The book starts off with a quick introduction to Python, though it’s obviously easier to get going with the later chapters if you already know the language well.

  11. scomar Says:

    Accelerated C++ is a great book – highly recommended.
    It’s easy to follow and logically structured. The website with sample code for the exercises is here:

  12. Plaristote Says:

    It’s been a while since I wanted to become a KDE developer. This guide is a very good initiative.
    I think I’m gonna follow your road ! Meet you at the next step and thank you for sharing the experience !

  13. KDE 4.x discussion thread - Page 3 - TechEnclave Says:

    […] KDE 4.x discussion thread Quick blog post for those interested in learning KDE/QT development: The Road to KDE Devland – step 1 Who Says Penguins Can’t Fly? Visit KDE TechBase @DarkStar: you still doing some sort KDE/QT […]

  14. The Road to KDE and Qt Development | veracity Says:

    […] to KDE devland Step 0 Road to KDE devland Step 1 Road to KDE devland Step […]

  15. The Road to KDE and Qt Development « cogito ergo vagus Says:

    […] to KDE devland Step 0 Road to KDE devland Step 1 Road to KDE devland Step […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: