GSoC 2010: Making KDevelop suitable for large C projects

Milian Wolff mail at
Mon Mar 29 20:01:47 UTC 2010

On Monday 29 March 2010 21:48:23 Nitin Gupta wrote:
> On 03/30/2010 12:37 AM, Andreas Pakulat wrote:
> > On 29.03.10 23:16:06, Nitin Gupta wrote:
> >> On 03/29/2010 06:03 PM, Milian Wolff wrote:
> >>> Nitin Gupta, 27.03.2010:
> >>>> For past few months, I have been working on a simple IDE (called
> >>>> KXref) based on Sublime UI framework, to allow working with large C
> >>>> based projects (Linux kernel in particular):
> >>>>
> >>>> 
> >>>> However, I soon realized that it will be much more useful and
> >>>> productive if all this can be developed as plugins for upcoming
> >>>> KDevelop4. My initial attempt to get it working for Linux kernel
> >>>> failed badly primarily due to lack of cscope, or better GNU global,
> >>>> integration (built-in background parser is too slow for such large
> >>>> projects). There are many other factors which make it unsuitable for
> >>>> kernel projects (as detailed below).
> >>>> 
> >>>> Unlike popular belief, an IDE for kernel projects (IMHO) is highly
> >>>> desirable. Trying to understand such huge and complex codebases is
> >>>> almost impossible otherwise. Plain vim+ctags is often not sufficient.
> >>>> 
> >>>> I'm planning to submit this as a GSoC proposal. I would be thankful
> >>>> for any feedback.
> >>> 
> >>> My personal opinion is: One can integrate each and every tool there is
> >>> for KDevelop, but I'd much prefer improving the performance of the
> >>> build in parser instead of using yet another tool for the job...
> >>> 
> >>> I found quite a few places to optimize over the weeks, and I bet there
> >>> are more.
> >> 
> >> Built-in parser seems to be slow beyond repair. Following is test 
> > I suggest you back that statement up by some knowledge about the
> > codebase. Making such blanket statements won't get you much friends
> > around here ;)
> Yes, I should have gathered proper profiling data but the numbers are still
> very disappointing. Argument that its all done in background with
> preference given to opened files isn't too nice -- with large C project
> containing 20k - 30k files, the parser (in its current form) can take
> hours pumping CPU at nearly 100%. Maybe improving in-built parser speed is
> the way to go but it was too tempting for me to go for already optimized
> solutions like gtags even if they could not provide as much of information
> as in-built parser.

If gtags would provide all required to fill the DUChain, try to use it. You can 
simply create a new alternative language plugin that fills the data in the 
DUChain from gtags. As I said: it's all possible.

> Maybe we should have options for in-built parser like: more comprehensive
> parsing vs speed. I think this will quickly make KDevelop suitable for
> large projects while it is gradually optimized.

Also exists already, might have to push it further.


> >> Apart from faster parsing, essential components for supporting large C 
projects are:
> >>  - Graph Viewer: Use information from gtags query to quickly generate
> >>  call graphs
> >>  
> >>     - Check if existing graph viewer can be extended to use gtags or a
> >>     new one needs to be developed.
> > 
> > This is available as playground plugin already based on duchain,
> > automatically working for all language plugins we have.
> > 
> >>  - Query Viewer: Again use gtags for queries and show results as
> >>  generated by gtags
> >>  
> >>     - Current 'Code Browser' window does not show query history. A
> >>     tabbed query result window is needed
> >>     
> >>       to maintain query history (very important).
> > 
> > What exactly do you mean with "query"?
> I meant queries like "find callers of this function", "find definition of
> such function" etc.

But you know that they already exist with the DUChain? And that there is no 
way around the DUChain since otherwise you'd need a whole bunch of new plugins 
making it essentially pointless to have such a nice abstraction like the 

Look at QtCreator, it's blazingly fast but otoh doesn't have many feature that 
KDevelop has and is also very reliant on the AST, meaning: no language 
Independence at all.

Milian Wolff
mail at
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