HOW-TO:Submit a patch

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Revision as of 17:24, 3 April 2010 by Analogue (talk) (Code submittions)
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XBMC is a non-profit open source hobby project that is developed by volunteers in their spare time without any monetary gain. The team of developers working on XBMC encourage anyone submit source code patches for bug-fixes, new features/functions or improvements to existing ones. Any and all contributions to the source code are appreciated, though please understand that there is no guarantee that your patch will be accepted and implemented into XBMC. If you wish to have input from XBMC developers prior to implementing a feature or improvement, please open a discussion on the forums. Lastly, understand that it may take us a little while to review your patch, so please be patient - clean and well documented code will most likely be looked at sooner than messy or undocumented code.

Note! We know our rules place a burden on you the submitter, but rest assured that maintaining a large, complex software project is even harder, so please accept the rules that have been set before you here. These rules are there for a reason, we cannot afford to spend too much of our time fixing buggy, broken or outdated patches. The closer you follow our rules the higher is the likelihood that your patch will be accepted.

1 Code submissions

Please submit all code submissions as a "unified diff" to the XBMC Tracker (Trac) - see the section below for information on how to create a unified diff - and please avoid compressing it prior to uploading unless absolutely necessary. Then to get some attention please also post a new thread in the development-section of our forums describing the patch. Doing so allows for a more open discussion with the whole XBMC community including non-developers about possible improvements/enhancements or additions and bugs/fixes. Note that any code you submit will be (c) Team XBMC.

1.1 Minimum requirements

We currently do not have any other minimum requirements other than the code being under LGPL or GPL license, that it is clean and that any comments and documentation be accurate and in English.

1.2 Code documentation

Though not yet a standard in all XBMC source code, please try and document at least the "public" portions of your code using doxygen inline comments. If you are submitting a new feature or function, please also add a small "readme.txt" to the the patch describing the use of feature that may be used as a basis for user documentation in the wiki later. You are most welcome to format this up for the wiki after the patch is submitted.

1.3 Code guide-lines and formatting conventions

This is still under discussion, so for now please follow or add to the discussion here. Of course, modular designs (like dynamic or static libraries) are preferred.

All code should strive to be platform agnostic - XBMC is multi-platform software, thus any single platform-specific features should be discussed with XBMC team members before being implemented. Major features should ideally be developed in a separate branch or in small increments so that other members have the opportunity to review the code and comment on it during development.

1.4 Patch format

Please do not send complete files. These need to be diffed by hand to see the changes, which makes reviews harder and less likely to occur. Besides as soon as one of the files changes, your version becomes harder to apply, thus reducing its chances of being accepted. Please follow these simple rules when making patch for XBMC:

1. Always make patches for Subversion HEAD. We do not accept patches for releases or outdated Subversion revisions.
2. Make unified diff created using e.g. svn diff against head ('svn diff' or 'diff -Naur'). Unified diffs can be applied easily with 'patch'. This is much harder with other diff types. Unified diffs are more readable and thus easier to review.
NOTE! Please make each patch per feature, (not one patch per source file with multiple features in it).
3. Please create the diff from the root of the XBMC SVN source tree, this makes the diff easier to apply as it saves the step of searching for and changing to the correct directory.
4. Test the functionality of your patch. We'll *refuse* it if it breaks something, even if it extends other features!
5. Read your patch. We may *refuse* it if it changes indentation of the code or if it does tab/space conversion or other cosmetic changes!
TIP! If you already wrote some code and did cosmetic changes, you can use 'diff -uwbBE' to help you remove them. Do not forget to check the patch to make sure diff did not ignore some important change and remove any remaining cosmetics! To use these options directly with svn, use this command: svn diff --diff-cmd diff -x -uwbBE
6. Comment parts that really need it (tricky side-effects etc). Always document string operations! Comment on what you are doing and why it is safe. This makes it easy to review and change your code if needed. Do not comment trivial code. Comments must be English!
7. If you implement new features or modify the behavior of existing features, please do not forget to also point out whether any changes are required in the wiki documentation, and ideally perform these changes once your patch is accepted.
8. If you make independent changes, please submit them as separate patches in separate patch-tracker item to our XBMC patch-tracker. Likewise, if your patch is very large, try splitting it into several self-contained pieces, so that each part can then be reviewed and committed separately.
9. Upload the patch file directly as an attachment to the Trac ticket rather than using some other web hosting facility. The fewer steps it takes us to get at the patch, the higher the likelihood of it getingt reviewed and applied. If your patch is so large that you cannot upload it, try splitting it into smaller pieces first, and only if it is absolutely unavoidable use zip to compress it.
10. Use a clear title and description in the ticket detailing what the patch is for and (if necessary) why it was done the way it was. If the patch fixes a bug, include the bug number (eg fixes #8479) in the title or description, and add a comment to the bug ticket linking back to the patch.
11. Give us a few days to react. We try to review patches as quickly as possible, but unfortunately we are constantly overloaded with work, be it XBMC-related or from our day to day lives. If your patch seems to be ignored, post a reminder asking for opinions in the forum's development section or as a reply to the original patch ticket, mentioning that you got ignored - we are interested in your work and will eventually either accept it or reject it with an explanation of what we liked and disliked about your patch. Note that we will often ask you to make changes to your patch to make it acceptable before we commit it, so please implement those changes, and attach an updated patch to the ticket. Some of these changes may seem trivial, but the less work we need to do, the faster it'll hit SVN.
11. Do not immediately ask for Subversion write access. If you have contributed one or more nice, acceptable patches and they need maintaining, we'll come to you.
12. If you send a modified or updated version of your patch, resend the complete patch. It is very time-consuming and error-prone to piece together patches that are distributed over several files and/or tickets. Please always resend patches as replies to the original trac ticket to keep the thread with the discussion together.

2 External Links