How To Help Developing Lazarus
Prerequisites to developing Lazarus
There are two things to note:
- You should have the latest release of FreePascal compiler (FPC) or a recent SVN version (i.e. a later version) of it. For obtaining FPC, see FreePascal download.
- You must have the very latest Lazarus from SVN. For obtaining it, see Getting Lazarus via SVN.
Also see these links: Extending the IDE, Lazarus IDE ToDo List. If you have any question you can ask them on the Lazarus Mailing list (see Mailing list) or on the #lazarus-ide IRC channel on irc.freenode.net.
So now you have the latest version of Lazarus and wish to start improving it, but are asking yourself "where do I begin?" Well, that depends.
Fixing known bugs
If you don't have any particular woes about Lazarus but just want to help, then I would recommend looking at the bug list Bug Tracker find a bug that you think you can fix, and start hacking. The Lazarus team has prioritized the open bugs in the Road To 1.0.
Lazarus needs more documentation! If you don't want to fix a bug you can help by writing documentation. Even this page is a work in progress. If you have useful information to add, or if you see mistakes, please feel free to improve the contents of this page.
The on-line IDE help is gradually being created as a part of the wiki. Recently a lot of stub pages of the Lazarus IDE documentation about the IDE windows have been added. When working in IDE, if you need help, press F1. You will be presented a help wiki page (possibly empty or incomplete). Improve it, if you have the relevant knowledge.
A widgetset (WS) is the "glue code" between the LCL code parts that are independent of the target operating system and the target operating system itself. For each supported target OS, the corresponding WS units are to be found in one of the subdirectories under the C:\Lazarus\lcl\interfaces\.
Here is an outline of the steps one should follow, in order to improve a widgetset (description provided by Mattias Gärtner on the Lazarus mailing list on 2006-07-15). When making changes to a WS, it is not necessary to rebuild everything (Lazarus including the IDE), in order to test the efects of the changes. Proceed as follows:
Create your testbed project - a small project, which will contain the testing code for your WS changes; Setup keyboard shortcuts for 'Build Lazarus' and 'Configure Build Lazarus' (in IDE, go to Editor Options/Keymapping); repeat Configure "Build Lazarus" to only build the LCL (in IDE, go to Tools/Configure "Build Lazarus"); repeat Make your improvement in the WS code; Build Lazarus (in IDE, go to Tools/Build Lazarus)- this only rebuilds the LCL, which rebuilds also the selected WS; Now compile your testbed project; Run and debug your program; until no errors found in your change; Reconfigure "Build Lazarus" to build all (in IDE, go again to Tools/Configure "Build Lazarus"); Build Lazarus and test the IDE; until no errors/degradation due to your changes found in IDE; Create a patch and send it (see further below for details).
How to submit your changes?
If you need help doing any of these things, you can always ask on the Lazarus mailing list or ask in #lazarus-ide on irc.freenode.net.