Policies/Frameworks Coding Style

This document describes the recommended coding style for kdelibs. Nobody is forced to use this style, but to have consistent formating of the source code files it is recommended to make use of it.

In short: Kdelibs coding style follows the Qt 4 coding style.


  • No tabs
  • 4 Spaces instead of one tab

Variable declaration

  • Each variable declaration on a new line
  • Each new word in a variable name starts with a capital letter
  • Avoid abbreviations
  • Take useful names. No short names, except:
    • Single character variable names can denote counters and temporary variables whose purpose is obvious
    • Variables and functions start with a lowercase letter

Example: // wrong KProgressBar *prbar; QString prtxt, errstr;

// correct KProgressBar *downloadProgressBar; QString progressText; QString errorString;


  • Use blank lines to group statements
  • Use only one empty line
  • Use one space after each keyword
  • For pointers or references, use a single space before '*' or '&', but not after
  • No space after a cast

Example: // wrong QString* myString; if(true){ }

// correct QString *myString; if (true) { }


As a base rule, the left curly brace goes on the same line as the start of the statement.

Example: // wrong if (true) { }

// correct if (true) { }

Exception: Function implementations, class, struct and namespace declarations always have the opening brace on the start of a line.

Example: void debug(int i) {

   qDebug("foo: %i", i);


class Debug { };

Use curly braces even when the body of a conditional statement contains only one line.

Example: // wrong if (true)

   return true;

for (int i = 0; i < 10; ++i)

   qDebug("%i", i);

// correct if (true) {

   return true;


for (int i = 0; i < 10; ++i) {

   qDebug("%i", i);


Switch statements

Case labels are on the same column as the switch

Example: switch (myEnum) { case Value1:


case Value2:

   // fall through




Line breaks

Try to keep lines shorter than 100 characters, inserting line breaks as necessary.

Artistic Style (astyle) automatic code formatting

You can use astyle (>=1.19) to format code or to test if you have followed this document. Run the following command: astyle --indent=spaces=4 --brackets=linux \

      --indent-labels --pad=oper --unpad=paren \
      --one-line=keep-statements --convert-tabs \
      --indent-preprocessor \
      `find -type f -name '*.cpp'` `find -type f -name '*.cc'` `find -type f -name '*.h'`

A related shell script could be found for unix in kdesdk/scripts/astyle-kdelibs and for windows in kdesdk/scripts/astyle-kdelibs.bat.

Vim script

You can find a vim script in kdesdk/scripts/kde-devel-vim.vim that helps you to keep the coding style correct. In addition to defaulting to the kdelibs coding style it will automatically use the correct style for Solid and kdepim code. If you want to add rules for other projects feel free to add them in the SetCodingStyle function.

To use the script, include it in your ~/.vimrc like this: source /path/to/kde/sources/kdesdk/scripts/kde-devel-vim.vim

Document started by Urs Wolfer. Some parts of this document have been adopted from the Qt Coding Style document posted by Zack Rusin on kde-core-devel.

This page was last edited on 15 April 2021, at 11:15. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.