Revival of the GIMP developer website

This weekend, we published a new developer 🧑‍💻 website! 🥳

Screenshot of the new developer website of GIMP
Screenshot of the new developer website of GIMP

As the name indicates, it is targetted at developers, both core contributors (people making GIMP itself) and third-party developers (people making plug-ins and publishing them on the side). This is why the website has 2 main sections:

  • Core: for core developers, with roadmaps, information on how to build GIMP, coding style guidelines…
  • Resources: for third-party developers, with links to the public libgimp API, tutorials to make plug-ins…
    We call this section “Resources” as in the future, it may also contain info on how to make brushes or other data for GIMP.

A bit of history

GIMP has had a developer website for at least 2 decades (the Internet Archive traces back an early page in 2001), yet mostly unmaintained ever since 2009, which is a shame.

Since then, documentation for developers was scattered on the general website, the source repository itself and 2 wikis (developer and GUI wiki). As you may know, the developer wiki encountered problems recently. As for the GUI wiki, it is still there, though we plan to merge both wikis into our new developer website.

Rather than having duplicate documents all over the place, we want to consolidate developer documentation into a single point of entry.

Work in progress

This new website is still a work-in-progress. Contents is still incomplete and often outdated. We decided to publish it in its current state and update it as we go, rather than wait forever.

As usual, we stick to only serving static pages, no server-side scripting. It’s simpler and safer as we don’t want to spend our time administering a webpage (we develop GIMP, not webpages).

What has been done so far:

  • We ported the website from DockBook to Hugo, especially thanks to Robin Swift, with help from Pat David. It has a few advantages:
    • The markdown syntax is less powerful yet so far sufficient and simpler that DockBook XML. It should facilitate contributions.
    • Hugo websites are easier to build and test, with nice immediate feedback loop when using the hugo webserver during development.
    • Hugo has a nice organization where file structure also decides of the website structure.
  • Contents was reorganized, reviewed, partially rewritten or merged. Some outdated documents were kept for historical interest, yet may not be as relevant for modern GIMP usage.
    We identified 2 main sections — as explained above: Core and Resources — with an additional Conferences section where we mostly keep track of historical meetings where developers made some decisions on the future of GIMP. We try to organize documents in these sections and subsections when relevant.
  • We progressively improve automatization of the website publishing, for instance automatic grab of the newest libgimp library documentation, and early error detection.
  • We created a testing website to validate changes before publishing to the main website (similar as what we do for Both websites will be automatically published daily from their own branch and can be triggered manually through Continuous Integration jobs on Gitlab.
  • All documents from the old developer website were salvaged, ported to markdown, reorganized or discarded after examination.
  • Several development-related documents from the main website were moved to or merged into others. For instance, we had redundant pages about contributing code for GIMP. There is now (unless we missed some) only a single tutorial: Submit your first patch.
  • Dozens of the old wiki documents were ported to markdown and moved or discarded after examination. In particular, some of the most requested pages have a home again:
  • Some documents from the main source repository of GIMP were moved. An important document is the GIMP Coding Style guide.
  • Redirections were created, because “Cool URIs don’t change” and links to moved pages can be found in many third-party websites. For instance old links on the roadmap (which used to be at now redirect to the new roadmap.

What’s next

More documents need to move, be rewritten or fixed. This is only a start.

Also the website style is currently pretty simple and bare. On one hand, maybe it’s not too bad for a development website. On the other hand, discussions have happened proposing to make the website look a little more lively and less austere 🧐. We’ll see!

Why this website?

Improving onboarding

By having a single point of entry, we hope it will feel less heavy for newcomers to understand where to go for building GIMP and contributing patches.

Now if anyone asks, tell them to look at the Core section of GIMP’s developer website.

Simplifying plug-in development

We strive for a lively third-party plug-in ecosystem. For this to happen, we want to help third-party developers. There are a lot of documentation and tutorials about plug-in developement, but they are spread across the web, many links are dead, a good part of the documents are unmaintained and therefore partly outdated.

This new website doesn’t bring much yet on this side, though by making plug-in development one of the 2 main sections, we clearly intend to change this fact for the upcoming GIMP 3.0. You should not expect new tutorials for GIMP 2.10 plug-in development, but this is definitely where you should keep an eye on if you are interested by plug-in creation for GIMP 3.0: Resources section of GIMP’s developer website


The main work happened on the gimp-web-devel repository.

Since mid-July, when we started the website renewal, the following contributors participated:

  • Jehan: 86 commits
  • Pat David: 38 commits
  • Robin Swift: 15 commits
  • Lukas Oberhuber: 1 commit

Some more work, unlisted here, happened on gimp-web (main website) repository.

Contributing to and Funding GIMP

As usual, we remind that GIMP is Community, Free and Libre Software. It is what we all make of it, together. This is a main reason of such a developer website. Hopefully you will find it useful. If not, don’t remember that the website itself is community-made. So feel free to propose developer tutorials and fixes or updates to existing ones.

Last but not least, if GIMP is useful to you and you wish to fund development, you are very welcome to donate to the project and fund core GIMP developers, as a way to give back and accelerate the development of GIMP.