Article from Issue 200/2017

We explore KDevelop 5.1,, Cursynth, QMapShack 1.8, KWipe 2.1.3, Rapid Photo Downloader 0.9, Kakoune, VPG 0.2.8, Anbox (alpha), Terasology Alpha 7, and Mudlet 3.0.

Development Environment

KDevelop 5.1

We should have covered KDevelop earlier. The major milestone of version 5.0 was passed in 2016, representing the successful completion of a journey for this long-standing programmer's development environment. KDevelop had an auspicious beginning back in 1999. It was the only graphical development environment for Linux that could make sense of the mess of makefile dependencies, and many developers found themselves using it. It was even popular outside of the KDE/Qt community because it used the best parts of the Kate text editor with Vim-like keybindings, syntax highlighting, and latterly, code completion.

But like KDE itself, KDevelop seemed to be completely rewritten just as one version was becoming stable. The poor reception of KDE 4.0 and the release of the excellent Qt Creator seemed to be double blows, and KDevelop development ground to a halt. Consequently, KDevelop 5.0 is the result of considerable effort over two years to bring the project back, moving the code from KDE 4 to KDE 5 and away from CMake to a new QMake project manager back end. Other languages and frameworks are also featured, with better support for QLM, Python, and PHP, alongside essential updated support for C++ 11 and KDE 5.

That KDE 5.1 comes only six months after 5.0 is the best possible indication that development is back on track. The move from internal code analysis to Clang in version 5.0 has started to pay off, with the addition of Cppcheck for static analysis of C/C++ code, and the general quality of the syntax highlighting and code parsing is absolutely fantastic. If you're a Python programmer, this new update may also make KDevelop a compelling alternative, with new support for Python 3.6 syntax and semantics. KDevelop is a great option for beginners, too, as obvious mistakes are highlighted and even solutions suggested. It does take up more CPU than Vim, but if you're programming all day, you sometimes need all the help you can get.

This release also adds OpenCL language support. This is the Open Computing Language that's typically used to write code executed on your graphics hardware (GPUs). As GPUs are vastly superior at parallel code execution, OpenCL and its Nvidia counterpart, CUDA, are already having a huge impact when working with Big Data. KDevelop's CUDA support is reportedly incoming, which firmly puts this IDE at the cutting edge of development technologies.

Finally, you can switch color themes on the go, much like you can in applications like digiKam. Appearances are often superficial, but many developers rely on schemes with varying contrast for different times and lighting conditions. The latest version of Qt Creator does have a dark theme, but you still need to edit its CSS if you want to take customization further. KDevelop offers KDE's usual plethora of color options, which are many. This feature may not teach you more about your code, but it may save your eyesight.

Project Website

1. New project wizard: Templates for common KDE and Qt apps are included. 2.  qmake support: Import qmake-based projects, such as those generated by Qt Creator. 3. Layouts: Split views, add tabs, and change the colors. 4. Syntax highlighting: Even separate variables have their own color. 5. Kate preview: See the entire file with a zoomable thumbnail. 6. Object overview: Hover over your own objects for details on their use. 7. Analysis: Check your code with Cppcheck. 8.  Project overview: There are many different ways of viewing your project.

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