Coding Conventions


Please make use of the following coding conventions when contributing to MNE-CPP:

Object Rule
Classes MyClass
Member functions myFunction
Member variables m_typeMeaningfulName
Local variables typeMeaningfulName

Readability and Documentation

Use meaningful variable names and type indicators. Avoid complex as well as condensed expressions. For example:

int iNumChs = 306;
QString sChName = "MEG0000";
void loadTxtFile(const QString& sPath);

In general, try to make your code match the one around it, e.g., indentations, use of linebreaks, etc. Please use the DoxyGen style to document your code, as seen here. If you introduce a new function, please make sure to use the @since tag to specify the current version you are developing for. Always align your function parameters in .h and .cpp files, for example:

 * Constructs a FileLoader object.
 * @param[in]  iOpenMode            The open mode. 0=ReadWrite, 1=WriteOnly, 1=ReadOnly 
 * @param[in]  bSkipEmptyLines      Whether to skip empty lines.
 * @param[in]  sCommentIdentifier   String to identify comments. Default is empty which 
 *                                  results in comments being read as normal lines.
 * @since 0.1.1
FileLoader(int iOpenMode,
           bool bSkipEmptyLines,
           const QString& sCommentIdentifier = "");

Add the MNE-CPP Wizards to QtCreator

The following steps will show you how to setup the MNE-CPP QtCreator wizard. This wizard is of great help to create new C++ classes which are conform with the MNE-CPP coding conventions. This helps streamlining the contribution process.

  1. Navigate to your MNE-CPP repository \tools\wizards
  2. Copy the mnecpp folder to your QtCreator wizard folder location. Depending on your operating system, this folder will be in different locations (see Qt documentation for more information). As an example, on Windows, if you installed your Qt instance in C:\Qt you should copy the mnecpp folder to C:\Qt\Tools\QtCreator\share\qtcreator\templates\wizards. On Mac, you should copy to /Users/<userName>/Qt And on Linux, /home/<userName>/Qt/share/qtcreator/templates/wizards/.
  3. Restart QtCreator.
  4. Now you should be able to right click on the project where you want to add a new class and see the MNE-CPP category appear in the wizard.

Command Line Outputs

Every output should start with [<ClassName::FunctionName>]. Please make use of qDebug() during development and qInfo() for general user information. qWarning() should be used to alert about unusual situations which do not lead to a termination of the application. qCritical() should only be used if an error was catched which will lead to the application being terminated. For example:

void FileLoader::loadTxtFile(const QString& sPath)
    qInfo() << "[FileLoader::loadTxtFile] Working on file" << sPath;

    if(!sPath.contains(".txt")) {
        qWarning() << "[FileLoader::loadTxtFile] The file does not end with .txt."

    QFile file(sPath);
    if (! {
        qCritical() << "[FileLoader::loadTxtFile] Unable to open file."
Please note: Eigen objects (MatrixXd, VectorXd, etc.) can only be plotted via std::cout.

Commit Policy

A good commit should follow:

  • If you add new functions/classes, ensure everything is documented properly.
  • All code should follow the Coding Conventions & Style.
  • Write new unit tests for the bugs you fixed or functionality you added.
  • Commit often! In particular: Make atomic commits. This means that each commit should contain exactly one self-contained change - do not mix unrelated changes, and do not create inconsistent states. Never “hide” unrelated fixes in bigger commits.
  • Write descriptive commit messages. Make them self-contained, so people do not have to research the historical context to make sense of them.
  • And most importantly: use your brain :)

For better readability, we introduced conventions for PR naming and commit messages. This gives a first impression about the content of a commit and improves the commit history’s readability. Please use the following identifiers:

Short Meaning
FIX bug fix
ENH enhancement (new features, etc.)
MAINT maintenance commit (refactoring, typos, style fixes, etc.)
DOC documentation

The following examples show how such commit messages could look like:

FIX: fix namespace error 
ENH: add cHPI in Neuromag Plugin
MAINT: improved GitHubAction workflow for Linux deployment
DOC: add documentation for new amplifier in MNE Scan

Add the MNE-CPP Documentation to QtCreator

You can display external documentation in the Help mode, which you can open via pressing the F1 key. To augment or replace the documentation that ships with Qt Creator and Qt:

  • Download the .qch file mne-cpp-doc-qtcreator.qch file for the MNE-CPP version you use here.
  • To add the .qch file to Qt Creator, select Tools > Options > Help > Documentation > Add.