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About this file
This file contains information for anyone wanting to work on the Geany
codebase. You should be aware of the open source licenses used - see
the README file or the documentation.
Writing plugins
You should generate and read the plugin API documentation, see below.
src/plugindata.h contains the plugin API data types and some notes.
See plugins/demoplugin.c for a very basic example plugin.
src/plugins.c loads and unloads plugins (you shouldn't need to read
this really).
Plugin API documentation
You can generate documentation for the plugin API using the doxygen
tool. Run 'make api-doc' in the doc subdirectory. The documentation will
be output to doc/reference/index.html.
We are happy to receive patches, but it's best to check with us by email
or mailing list whether a new feature is appropriate, and whether someone
is already working on similar code.
In general it's best to work from the current SVN, but we accept patches
against other releases.
$ svn diff > fix-some-bug.patch
If you're not using SVN, you can use the diff command:
$ diff -u originalpath modifiedpath > new-feature.patch
For Windows:
Subversion (SVN):
diff, grep, etc: or
See also the 'Building on Windows' document on the website.
File organization
callbacks.c is just for Glade callbacks.
Avoid adding code to geany.h if it will fit better elsewhere.
See the top of each src/*.c file for a brief description of what it's for.
Keeping the plugin ABI stable
Please be aware that anything with a doc-comment (a comment with an
extra asterix: '/**') is something in the plugin API. Things like enums
and structs can usually still be appended to, ensuring that all the
existing elements stay in place - this will keep the ABI stable.
Note: Some structs like KeyBindingGroup and GeanyCallback cannot be
appended to without breaking the ABI because they are used to declare
structs by plugins, not just for accessing struct members through
a pointer.
Before the 1.0 release series, the ABI can change when necessary, and
even the API can change. An ABI change just means that all plugins will
not load and they must be rebuilt. An API change means that some plugins
might not build correctly.
When reordering or changing existing elements of structs that are used as
part of the plugin API, you should increment abi_version in plugindata.h.
This is not needed if you're just appending fields to structs. The
api_version value should be incremented for any changes to the plugin API,
including appending elements.
If you're in any doubt when making changes to plugin API code, just ask us.
Use the code generation features of Glade instead of editing interface.c
or support.c. Glade 2.10 is recommended as long as we support GTK+ 2.6,
because later versions of Glade are not 100% compatible with GTK+ 2.6
(e.g. they may use functions added in GTK+ 2.8).
You can build Glade 2.10 and run the binary in place, without installing
it - this should work fine even if you have another version of Glade
installed on the system.
GTK API documentation
The official GTK 2.6 API documentation is not available online anymore,
so we put them on
There is also a tarball with all available files for download and use
with devhelp.
Using the 2.6 API documentation of the GTK libs (including GLib, GDK and
Pango) has the advantages that you don't get confused by any newer API
additions and you don't have to take care about whether you can use
them or not.
This is because Geany depends on GTK 2.6. API symbols from newer
GTK/GLib versions should be avoided to keep the source code building
against GTK 2.6.
Don't write long functions with a lot of variables and/or scopes - break
them down into smaller static functions where possible. This makes code
much easier to read and maintain.
Use GLib types and functions - e.g. g_free instead of free.
Your code should build against GLib 2.6 and GTK 2.6. At least for the
moment, we want to keep the minimum requirement for GTK at 2.6 (of
course, you can use the GTK_CHECK_VERSION macro to protect code using
later versions).
We currently try to support the old GCC 2.9.x compiler,
so we always declare variables before statements. You can use
-Wdeclaration-after-statement in your ./configure CFLAGS to warn about
You should also try to write ISO C90 code for portability, so always
use C /* */ comments and function_name(void) instead of function_name().
This is for compatibility with various Unix-like compilers. You can use
-ansi in your CFLAGS to help check this.
We use a tab width of 4 and indent completely with tabs not spaces.
Use the multiline comment /* */ to comment small blocks of code,
functions descriptions or longer explanations of code, etc. C++ single
line comments will cause portability issues. The more comments are in
your code the better.
Lines should not be longer than about 100 characters and after 100
characters the lines should be wrapped and more indented than the first
line to highlight that the line is continued. We avoid putting spaces
between function names and the opening brace for argument lists. Try to
fit in with the existing code brace indenting style, comments, operator
spacing etc. It's not required but it makes our lives easier ;-)
We prefer to use an unmodified version of Scintilla - any changes should
be passed on to the maintainers at
Tagmanager was originally taken from Anjuta 1.2.2, and parts of it
(notably c.c) have been merged from later versions of Anjuta and
CTags. The independent Tagmanager library itself ceased development
before Geany was started. It's source code parsing is mostly taken from
Exuberant CTags (see
Some of these notes below are brief (or maybe incomplete) - please
contact the mailing list for more information.
Using pre-defined autotools values
When you are use macros supplied by the autotools like GEANY_PREFIX,
might not be static strings when Geany is configured with
--enable-binreloc. Then these macros will be replaced by function calls
(in src/prefix.h). So, don't use anything like
printf("Prefix: " GEANY_PREFIX); but instead use
printf("Prefix: %s", GEANY_PREFIX);
Adding a file foo.[hc] in src/ or plugins/
Add foo.c, foo.h to SRCS in path/
Add foo.o to OBJS in path/makefile.win32.
Add path/foo.c to po/ (for string translation).
Adding a filetype
You can add a filetype without syntax highlighting or tag parsing, but
check to see if those features have been written in other projects first.
For syntax highlighting, it may be possible to use an existing Scintilla
lexer in the scintilla/ subdirectory - if not, you will need to find
(or write) one, LexFoo.cxx. Try the Scintilla project first. Remember
to update scintilla/ and scintilla/makefile.win32.
For tag parsing (e.g. for the symbol list), see 'Adding a TagManager
parser' below.
Add GEANY_FILETYPES_FOO to filetypes.h.
Initialize GEANY_FILETYPES_FOO in filetypes_init_types() of filetypes.c.
Rebuild Geany.
From your geany/ directory, run:
src/geany --generate-data-files
(The src/ prefix may be different, depending on where the binary is
This will update data/filetype_extensions.conf. Note that
you need GEANY_DEBUG to be defined when building Geany for the
--generate-data-files argument to work - this is always defined in the
SVN version. Alternatively, edit the file by hand.
All languages need a data/ configuration file. See
data/filetypes.c for an example. For languages with a Scintilla lexer,
there should be a [styling] section, to correspond to the styles used
in styleset_foo().
Programming languages should have:
[keywords] if the lexer supports it.
[settings] mostly for comment settings.
[build_settings] for commands to run.
For syntax highlighting, you will need to edit highlighting.c and add
the following things:
1. Write styleset_foo_init() to setup default styles and load style
settings from the configuration file. For details, see
2. Write styleset_foo() to apply styles when a new scintilla widget
is created. For details, see styleset_c().
3. Add this in highlighting_init_styles():
init_styleset_case(GEANY_FILETYPES_FOO, foo);
4. Add this in highlighting_set_styles():
styleset_case(GEANY_FILETYPES_FOO, foo);
Error message parsing is done in msgwin_parse_compiler_error_line() of
msgwindow.c. See the ParseData typedef for more information. (In future
this may be done with a regex).
For brace indentation, update lexer_has_braces() in editor.c;
indentation after ':' is done from on_new_line_added().
If the lexer has comment styles, you should add them in is_comment()
in editor.c. For now, this prevents calltips and autocompletion when
typing in a comment (but it can still be forced by the user).
If the Scintilla lexer supports user type keywords (e.g. SCLEX_CPP),
see editor_lexer_get_type_keyword_idx() in editor.c.
Adding a TagManager parser
This assumes the Geany filetype already exists.
First write or find a CTags compatible parser, foo.c. Note that there
are some language patches for CTags at: - see the tracker.
(You can also try the Anjuta project's tagmanager codebase.)
Add foo.c to SRCS in
Add foo.o to OBJS in makefile.win32.
Add Foo to parsers.h & fill in comment with parser number for foo.
In foo.c:
Edit FooKinds 3rd column to match a s_tag_type_names string in tm_tag.c.
In filetypes.c, filetypes_init_types():
Set filetypes[GEANY_FILETYPES_FOO].lang = foo's parser number.
In symbols.c:
Update init_tag_list() for foo, listing the tm_tag_* types corresponding
to the s_tag_type_names strings used in foo.c for FooKinds.
Loading a plugin from GDB
This is useful so you can load plugins without installing them first.
Alternatively you can use a symlink in ~/.geany/plugins or
$prefix/lib/geany (where $prefix is /usr/local by default).
The gdb session below was run from the toplevel Geany source directory.
Start normally with e.g. "gdb src/geany".
Type 'r' to run.
Press Ctrl-C from the gdb window to interrupt program execution.
Program received signal SIGINT, Interrupt.
0x00d16402 in __kernel_vsyscall ()
(gdb) call plugin_new("./plugins/.libs/")
** INFO: Loaded: ./plugins/.libs/ (Demo)
$1 = (Plugin *) 0x905a890
(gdb) c
Program received signal SIGINT, Interrupt.
0x00d16402 in __kernel_vsyscall ()
(gdb) call plugin_free(0x905a890)
** INFO: Unloaded: ./plugins/.libs/
(gdb) c
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