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To Think About When Contributing Source Code
This document is intended to offer some guidelines that can be useful to keep
in mind when you decide to write a contribution to the project. This concerns
new features as well as corrections to existing flaws or bugs.
The License Issue
When contributing with code, you agree to put your changes and new code under
the same license curl and libcurl is already using.
If you add a larger piece of code, you can opt to make that file or set of
files to use a different license as long as they don't enfore any changes to
the rest of the package and they make sense. Such "separate parts" can not be
GPL (as we don't want the FPL virus to attack users of libcurl) but they must
use "GPL compatible" licenses.
Try using a non-confusing naming scheme for your new functions and variable
names. It doesn't necessarily have to mean that you should use the same as in
other places of the code, just that the names should be logical,
understandable and be named according to what they're used for.
Please try using the same indenting levels and bracing method as all the
other code already does. It makes the source code a lot easier to follow if
all of it is written using the same style. I don't ask you to like it, I just
ask you to follow the tradition! ;-)
Comment your source code extensively. I don't see myself as a very good
source commenter, but I try to become one. Commented code is quality code and
enables future modifications much more. Uncommented code much more risk being
completely replaced when someone wants to extend things, since other persons'
source code can get quite hard to read.
General Style
Keep your functions small. If they're small you avoid a lot of mistakes and
you don't accidentally mix up variables.
Non-clobbering All Over
When you write new functionality or fix bugs, it is important that you don't
fiddle all over the source files and functions. Remember that it is likely
that other people have done changes in the same source files as you have and
possibly even in the same functions. If you bring completely new
functionality, try writing it in a new source file. If you fix bugs, try to
fix one bug at a time and send them as separate patches.
Separate Patches Doing Different Things
It is annoying when you get a huge patch from someone that is said to fix 511
odd problems, but discussions and opinions don't agree with 510 of them - or
509 of them were already fixed in a different way. Then the patcher needs to
extract the single interesting patch from somewhere within the huge pile of
source, and that gives a lot of extra work. Preferably, all fixes that
correct different problems should be in their own patch with an attached
description exactly what they correct so that all patches can be selectively
applied by the maintainer or other interested parties.
Patch Against Recent Sources
Please try to get the latest available sources to make your patches
against. It makes my life so much easier. The very best is if you get the
most up-to-date sources from the CVS repository, but the latest release
archive is quite OK as well!
Writing docs is dead boring and one of the big problems with many open source
projects. Someone's gotta do it. It makes it a lot easier if you submit a
small description of your fix or your new features with every contribution so
that it can be swiftly added to the package documentation.
Write Access to CVS Repository
If you are a frequent contributor, or have another good reason, you can of
course get write access to the CVS repository and then you'll be able to
check-in all your changes straight into the CVS tree instead of sending all
changes by mail as patches. Just ask if this is what you'd want.
Test Cases
Since the introduction of the test suite, we will get the possibility to
quickly verify that the main features are working as supposed to. To maintain
this situation and improve it, all new features and functions that are added
need tro be tested. Every feature that is added should get at least one valid
test case that verifies that it works as documented. If every submitter also
post a few test cases, it won't end up as a heavy burden on a single person!
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