Dev Guidelines

Thomas B edited this page Mar 21, 2016 · 1 revision

Roundcube Development Guidelines

Here are a few rules and explanations that should make it easier for new contributors to understand the structure and guidelines of the Roundcube code base.

Available Documentation

The code is not very well documented but using the PHPDoc comments we finally made it to create a class and functions overview. More details can be found at the Roundcube Documentation page.

Naming conventions

File names

In general all files should have the appropriate extension such as .php, .js, etc. For PHP include files that are not meant to be executed directly please use the extension .inc. This prevents them from being executed directly in case that the access restrictions do not work as intended.

All files should be named with lower case letters and underlines (for word separation).

Because RoundCube uses PHP autoloading technology, classes need to be saved in a file named class_name.php within program/include/ to be included on demand.

Classes, functions and variables

All class, function and variable names should only contain lower case letters and numbers and use underlines for word separation. No CamelCase please.

Functions providing Roundcube specific functionality should start with either rcmail (webmail specific functions) or rcube (global/framework functions).

Class names should start with rcube.

Code style

All code (PHP and JavaScript) obeys the same code style guidelines:

  • Opening and closing brackets for function and class definitions are on a new line
  • Never write control-flow code on a line
  • Code should not exceed a limit of 80 characters per line
  • Never omit brackets for blocks containing only one statement
  • Indentation consists of 4 spaces per level and no tabs!
  • Conventional operators should be surrounded by a space
  • Commas should be followed by a space
  • Semi-colons in for statements should be followed by a space
  • All names should be written in English
  • A function should have only one return statement at the end
  • Logical units within a block should be separated by at least one blank line
  • Iterator variables should be called "i", "j", "k", etc.
  • Globals vars (PHP) should be named in upper case but better be avoided.
  • Variables should be initialized where they are declared and they should be declared in the smallest scope possible
  • In general, we adhere to PEAR CS

Good code:

    function foo_bar($aa, $bb)
        $out = '';
        if ($aa == 1 || $aa > 10) {
            $out .= "Case one\n";
            write_log("Foo: $aa");
        else {
        for ($i=0; $i < $bb; $i++) {
            $out .= $i . 'a';
        return $out;

The bracket indentation of the existing code differs from this example but I guess we should move towards this more common indentation style.

Bad code:

    function fooBar($aa,$bb) {
      if ($aa==1 || $aa>10){
        $out.="Case one\n";
        write_log("Foo: $aa");
      } else {
      for ($i=0;$i<$bb;$i++)
      return $out;

PHP Coding

All code should be functional in PHP 5.3.x and higher. When working with files please also make sure that the code works with safe_mode enabled. Set error reporting to E_NOTICE to see if all variables are properly declared.


Please add comments to logical code blocks giving a short description what this part is intended to do. For PHP classes, please add PHPDoc styled descriptions for public methods. Private method descriptions are optional.