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We are currently looking for volunteers to help develop SoylentNews slashcode. Anyone willing is free to help, but we really need good perl devs. Slashcode is based heavily on perl and most pages have some type of perl code on them. We also seek non-perl devs, there is plenty of stuff that you can do without touching the code too much.

Our code is hosted on GitHub at Have a look and see how you can contribute. Bugs are now on GitHub Bugs.

Volunteers should send an email to expressing your areas of interest and what your coding strengths are. Also you can hop onto SoylentNews:IRC and join the #dev channel. Come by and express your interest to paulej72, audioguy, or mrcoolbp.

Currently we are undergoing a bit of a reorganization and we hope to have more information available here soon about our short term and long term goals for the code.

Who we are

Dev Team Main Page




paulej72[1] Team Leader for Dev UTC-4 (EST/EDT)
Ncommander Currently on concentrating on admin-ish stuff. UTC-5
martyb/bytram primary bug herder, Database (in training) UTC-4 (EST/EDT)
The Mighty Buzzard Code Monkey Extraordinaire UTC-6 (CST/CDT)
Xyem Code Monkey First Class GMT

Index of Development Pages and Resources

Note: Any sort of code posted onto the wiki can now be syntax highlighted using the <syntaxhighlight> tag. It will default to perl, but can be changed to other languages. For example <syntaxhighlight lang="sql">. More documentation is at mediawikiwiki:Extension:SyntaxHighlight_GeSHi.

Work Notes


Slashcode Primer

Slashcode is a complex beast. Here is the listing of the repo:


We really are only concerned with three of these directories: Slash, plugins, and themes. The first directory, Slash, is the home of the module and its related code. The module,, does all of the back end work of slashcode. It provides a set of APIs that are used to generate pages and manipulate the database. This is where the heavy perl coding is done. We definitely need help with this section in both expanding our knowledge and working with the code. (As I started on this from a css/html slant I do not have a good idea of what is here --pauej72)

The second main part of the system are the themes. In this case we have only one theme called slashcode. The theme is broken down into pieces the first is htdocs. htdocs is all of the static html files, perl files that directly start page generation events, the css files, images, and other static code. The second part of the theme is the templates. These templates are loaded into the database an are used by slash to layout the data from different sources and turn them into html files that apache can send to the user. Templates re a mixture of perl, slash coding, and html. Templates use slash calls to load other templates and usually each template leaves a breadcrumb in the final html with a start and end comment with the template's name and id. These breadcrumbs make it easy to find out which template file is generating the particular piece of html that you need to change.

Slashcode also has a plugin architecture that allows certain system to be bolted on to the main system. The main system is basically articles, comments and users. The pulgins add the admin interface, the messaging system, enhanced login, journals, and other things. The files for these plugging are in the plugins folder, not in the theme folder. The issue with plugins is that it contains both front end code such as templates, css and pl files, it also has perl modules that are loaded into the perl engine.

The rest of the directories are used for build and install purposes and probably will not need to be modified regularly.

This is a work in progress so please check back here for more.

Development VM

Please see DevelopmentVMHowto for the full How To.

Additional notes:

Integrated Development Environment

Note This is a work in progress. Currently the Windows development environment seems mostly useless except for Syntax Highlighting and basic Code Navigation.

Regardless of what IDE (Integrated Development Environment) you choose to go with, you're going to require a Perl interpreter (With a built-in Debugger) and optionally the PadWalker module for variable inspection (Also used by built-in debugger).

Perl (Interpreter)

Linux users generally already have a full Perl stack installed, so this resource is for Windows users. There's a number of different Perl interpreters available for Windows users. You can download ActivePerl for free below:

PadWalker (Variable Inspection)



Eclipse with the EPIC Plug-In provides a great Perl IDE for Windows users. After installing ActivePerl and the PadWalker module you will need to install a Java Runtime.
Before you Begin: It's important to note that if you are running 64-bit Windows, you should choose the 64-bit JRE and pair it with a 64-bit Eclipse. They cannot be mis-matched (A 32-bit JRE with a 64-bit Eclipse or vice versa).
Step 1):
Download Oracle's runtime for free below. You can choose the JRE (Runtime Environment) if you only want to do Perl/Slashcode development or the JDK (Development Kit) if you want to do Perl/Slashcode development and Java development in the future. Choosing the JRE will save you disk space:
Java Runtime Environment 7u55
Java Developer Kit 7u55
Step 1.1):
After you have installed the JRE and restarted Windows, follow this guide from Oracle to setup the environment variables for Windows, including the PATH and CLASSPATH variables:
Environment Paths
Step 2):
Install the Eclipse IDE. You can download the latest release (Kepler) for free below:
Eclipse Kepler
Step 3):
Install the free "EPIC" plug-in for Eclipse. This is done from within Eclipse and is fairly straight forward. From within Eclipse, click the "Help" top strip-menu and choose the "Install New Software" option. You can also find detailed instructions below, however they may become out of date:


As an alternative to Eclipse, you can try Geany. Geany isn't exactly a full IDE like Eclipse, however you can setup the file locations of Perl and get a pretty good workflow going. You can download Geany for free below:


  1. Working on template and css issues on the site, main bug herder. - Paulej72WorkNotes