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Hacking HowTo

You like Smuxi and want to make it even better? Just grab the source code and spread your love!

Software Requirements

First you will need to install a few development tools and libraries

Depending on your operating system and favorite distribution the installation of the listed applications varies. For Debian based distributions it's just a matter of the following commands:

apt-get install git-core mono-devel monodevelop
apt-get build-dep smuxi
apt-get install libndesk-dbus-glib1.0-cil-dev libndesk-dbus1.0-cil-dev

Getting Source

Now you can obtain the source code of Smuxi using git. Git is a great tool to manage the source code. If this is the first time for you using git, you need to tell about yourself to git first using the following commands:

git config --global "Your Name"
git config --global

Now you are ready to clone the Smuxi source repository. This means you download a full copy of the Smuxi source code with full history of all source code changes ever done to Smuxi. You don't need to be afraid, thanks to git this is just 17 MB of disk space (after compile about 50 MB) :-) Just run the following command:

git clone --recursive

He we go, the Smuxi source code is now ready to be used in the directory called "smuxi".

Preparing Source

Before you can do anything with the code you need to initialize the build- system at least once. The build-system is the standard Linux one which consists of different tools called: autoconf, automake, intltool and libtool. Don't worry if none of them sound familiar to you, most of the time you will not need to deal with them. In order to prepare the source code now run the following command:

cd smuxi

Yes, the command generated lots of output, but nothing of that needs to be bothered about.

Compiling Source

Now you have 2 options to compile the source code. Either compile the source by using the autotools build-system or by using the MonoDevelop development environment. If you are not experienced with autotools, I recommend to use MonoDevelop.

Compiling Source using MonoDevelop

Start the MonoDevelop application from your desktop menu: Applications -> Programming -> MonoDevelop

Open the Smuxi solution in MonoDevelop: File -> Open -> Browse to the "smuxi" directory, open "src" directory, select "smuxi.sln", click "Open" button

Change the active configuration from "Release" to "Debug" (this is very important)

Show time! Build -> Build All

The build should take about 30 seconds. If the status bar says: "Build: 0 errors, XXX warnings" then all went fine!

Running Compile Result

Running Compile Result using MonoDevelop

Starting the compiled Smuxi with MonoDevelop is very easy just do:

Run -> Run

Modifying Source

Alright, now it's getting interesting. Making modifications to the Smuxi source code! Remember the version control system called git we used earlier in this howto? Now we need to tell git that we will be doing changes to the source.

Explaining the details of git or version control systems in general would overflow this howto, so I will reduce to what's really needed.

Before we change something you need to create a new so called "topic branch". A topic branch basically means a change that is limited to one "topic", say a single feature or a single bugfix. Topic branches are used to make small and distinct changes which can simply be merged (included) into the official Smuxi source repository.

Now we are going to create a topic to make a change. I will use changing the red color of the "Welcome to Smuxi" message to blue on the Smuxi tab as example. Why blue? Because I like blue :-D

Creating a Topic Branch

Before you create a topic branch you should make sure you are using the latest version of the source code. You can update your source code by running:

git pull

Now we are ready to create the topic branch by running:

git checkout -b feature/blue_welcome_message

The above command will create a new branch called "feature/blue_welcome_message" and also automatically switches to it.

Changing the Source Code

Now it's time to make the actual change in the lovely Smuxi source code.

In MonoDevelop open the "Session.cs" using the Solution pad on the left side: smuxi -> Engine -> Session.cs

Go to line 158 where it says:

                    new TextMessagePartModel(new TextColor(0xFF0000), null, false,
                            true, false, _("Welcome to Smuxi")));

And change:

new TextColor(0xFF0000)


new TextColor(0x0000FF)

The 0x###### is a hex number and specifies the color in RGB (red, green, blue).

Now save the source change using File -> Save

Test the modified Source Code

Ok, we are ready to test the change by compiling and starting Smuxi. Just hit Run -> Run from the MonoDevelop menu or execute make run from a terminal.

Now you should see Smuxi with a blue welcome message.

You just made your first successful change to Smuxi! \o/

Commiting the modified Source Code

After testing your modification we are ready to commit the change to git. This means we tell the version control system about the change so it becomes part of the source repository.

To see the current status of the repository run this command:

git status

Now it should look like this:

# On branch feature/blue_welcome_message
# Changed but not updated:
#   (use "git add <file>..." to update what will be committed)
#   (use "git checkout -- <file>..." to discard changes in working directory)
#   (commit or discard the untracked or modified content in submodules)
#    modified:   lib/Newtonsoft.Json (untracked content)
#    modified:   lib/Twitterizer (untracked content)
#    modified:   po/
#    modified:   src/Engine/Session.cs
no changes added to commit (use "git add" and/or "git commit -a")

The output is very descriptive, git is pretty good at showing the current situation and giving hints how to proceed. There are 4 modified listed items, while we only changed one of them. This can be a bit distracting but is not doing any harm and is nothing to worry about. The 4. "modified" line is the interesting one, as that is the file we have modified above.

To tell git to include that modification in the upcoming command just run the following command:

git add src/Engine/Session.cs

Now we are ready to make the commit, simply execute:

git commit -v

Git will now open your default console text editor and shows the changes we are going to commit in the bottom area. It should show line you have changed like this:

-                    new TextMessagePartModel(new TextColor(0xFF0000), null, false,
+                    new TextMessagePartModel(new TextColor(0x0000FF), null, false,

The "-" line means that line was removed, "+" means that line was added.

As the change looks good, we can go ahead and specify a commit message. The commit message has to be placed in the beginning area (first few lines before the "#" lines).

A commit message should explain what was changed ans possibly why it was changed. This way the source code history can be used to understand changes which is not always visible from the changed code itself.

For this example use the following as commit message:

Changed the color of the welcome message from red to blue because I like blue

After that you need to save the file and leave the text editor. Git will automatically pick up the commit message from that text file and does the actual commit for you.

Submitting Source Modifications

Before you can publish your work you need:

There are many free git hosters available, I can recommend GitHub as it's easy to use and free. So sign up and create an empty repository there.

You will also need a redmine account if you don't have already for Smuxi's ticket system. For that just sign up here.

Verify Work

Before you submit a change for inclusion in the official source repository of Smuxi you should check that the modifications in the right state.

As you have already committed the changes in the last step you can verify your work using the following git command:

git show

The git show command shows the last commit you have made and you should check your name, email and also the source change itself if everything is correct.

Publish Work

Now it's time to publish your work so other can make use of it. To push the changes to your public git repository use the following command:

git push $repo feature/blue_welcome_message

The push command uploads changes from your repository to another one. $repo should be the name of your public repository. The name gets chosen when adding the repository using the "git remote add" command.

File Merge Request

Now your work is available on the internet, but I do not know about it (yet). For that reason you need to inform me in some way that a change should be merged into the official repository. This is called a "merge request" as I will merge your changes. The recommended route is to use the ticket system of Smuxi to do this. Just open (or create if it doesn't exist yet) the ticket for your changes and add a new comment that contains your public repository URL and also the branch name. I will then check your changes and merge them or give feedback if the changes need further adjustments. As I am not developing Smuxi as full-time, please be patient for my merges :-) a couple of days is the usual timeframe though.

Happy Hacking

You are done! Enjoy your Smuxi hacking and thanks for your contributions in advance!