Developer Guide

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Revision as of 11:43, 19 May 2015 by PeterSampson (talk | contribs) (Text replace - "plugin" to "plug-in")
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Quick Links

Tips for New Developers

  • Ask lots of questions and don't be afraid to look a fool. It's a learning process and like I tell my students, 'if you don't understand (after a reasonable amount of effort), ask somebody who can help'.
  • Note our Coding Standards for Audacity (these don't apply to subordinate libraries). Most importantly, don't use tabs at all, and always use three spaces for indentation (otherwise things don't line up on different editors). We mostly use standard camel-case capitalization. Some use Hungarian notation, but not everybody.
  • Note the challenge of maintaining Quality in open source software. We have had many short-term contributors over some ten years. This can result in "organic" interdependencies that aren't obvious, so any code change has the potential to break something. Read all the comments in the code, write your own comments when you add code, and don't remove any code you don't understand.
  • Use the same tools other people are using.
  • Post error messages when asking for help, but try and select relevant bits.

Platform Specific Guides

Getting Audacity building on Linux is usually trouble-free because the right tools are there in the environment, or can be found and installed easily. The same isn't really true for Windows and the win/compile.txt file provided with the Audacity source code assumes you know quite a lot about how stuff works under the bonnet, and about Visual Studio.

Design Topics

Improving and Adding Features

Adding new features is one of the more exciting aspects of the job, but needs care so as not to destabilise what is already there. New approaches using a plug-in type of architecture can help this. Even so, there are some things that cannot always be done in an open source program due to licensing restrictions. Have a look at our Feature Requests page to see what our users most wish to see in Audacity, add your own requests, and let us know if you are interested in helping us implement the best of these.

We also have a Roadmap of planned steps in Audacity development.

Bug Fixing

Although Audacity is extensively tested, especially when new features and versions are introduced, we depend heavily on users to report bugs to us. If you are looking for bugs to fix, see Bug Lists.

More about Digital Audio

There are a few articles in our Digital Audio Technology category on this Wiki, and there is a short explanation of digital audio basics on this page of our Audacity Manual.

There are also articles on the internet ranging from beginners' guides on how sound is represented in a computer, to research papers on digital signal processing (DSP) algorithms. For some recommended sources, see Digital Audio Recommended Articles.