Docear is an open source project. It is completely free, you can download and change the source code to your need and taste. If you want to share your developed features or bugfixes with us or if you want to test our software you will be highly welcome to do so.  :-)

The developer manual gives an introduction of how you can download the source code, compile it, extend it and share your work with us.

It is devided into four different parts:

  1. The document you are currently reading contains some information of how you can test Docear and about some of our basic coding standards. It also shows you the simple steps to create and send patches to us.
  2. If you need help with downloading your own branch of Docear from our official code repository at sourceforge, please consult our “Getting the source code” page.
  3. You can find help with importing and compiling Docear on our “Importing and Compiling” page. If you can’t get Docear to compile you might find answers to your problem there.
  4. Help about updating or merging your Docear branch or resolving conflicts can be found on our “Versioning” page.

We highly appreciate any offer to help and would love to work close with you!

Testing Docear

We will release experimental releases regularly on Please note that our experimental releases were not thoroughly tested by us. You should not work with them on productive data or regularly make a backup of all your data. As a registered Sourceforge user you can subscribe to the forum to be notified about new posts. They contain new features which are to be integrated in our official version of Docear.

If you want to test our experimental releases you are highly welcome. Please tell us about any bugs and issues you can find on

Code Documentation

Docear is based on the mind mapping software Freeplane. Like Freeplane it consists of severall OSGi plugins which offer their functionality to the core components “freeplane” and “docear_plugin_core”. In general all Docear plugins use “docear_plugin_” as a prefix to their name whereas Freeplane plugins use “freeplane_plugin_” as a prefix.

Docear is not a competitor project to Freeplane but targets a different groups of users which results in a close relationship between both the Docear and the Freeplane team. All cross-project decisions are made together, Docear merges with the Freeplane code regularly and Docear will probably be included as an extension to future versions of Freeplane.

In addition the Docear team is actively contributing to the Freeplane code, which means that all features which are useful for a mind mapping software are directly developed as Freeplane plugins. For instance we have implented the workspace component. It does not depend on any Docear specific OSGi plugin and is named “freeplane_plugin_workspace”. All features which follow a scientfic purpose, like literate or reference management, are developed as Docear OSGi plugins.

If you need any help with Freeplane specific code, the developer’s wiki of the Freeplane project and Freelane’s developer forum would be a good location to start searching for answers. There is currently no counterpart for the Docear projects. If you need any help regarding Docear specific code, please contact us directly.

Finding a development task

Please visit to get an idea of what we are currently working on.

If you want to help us developing Docear, please send an email at: describing what feature you want to implement or which bugfix you can provide. You can also ask us to find a task together with you.

When developing for Docear, please adhere to the following guide:

  1. Please send us a patch for one specific task or ticket at a time and do not confuse it with other code you might have integrated for other tasks or for testing purposes. Before working on your task, please make sure that you have a clean and unchanged branch from our official Docear repository on sourceforge. During and at the end of your work you should merge with the Docear repository regularly to make sure that your code still works with a newer version of Docear. After you have done your work please clean your code from unnecessary methods or debugging messages.
  2. Please use Docear or freeplane methods in your code whenever possible. Do not create any unnecessary redundancies.
  3. Please add new classes to the right package in the right plugin. Keep in mind that Docear specific plugins only share common dependencies on the “docear_plugin_core” and the “freeplane” plugin.
  4. Please keep your code simple and well structured

Creating and sending a patch

When you have implemented your changes to Docear in compliance with the guide above, you can send us a patch file by selecting “Bazaar” > “Collaborate” > “Send New Revisions…” from the menu bar. Please send the patch to “” and use the official Docear branch on sourceforge “bzr://” as submit branch.

After clicking the “OK” button your branch will be checked for any changes regarding the submit branch. A patch file will be created automatically and your standard email application will be launched including the patch file and the subject message you have provided.

bzr send

Please make sure that you use meaningful subjects and messages when you send us emails. You should also include the ticket number if available. Please add a short description of what your patch does and how it works. We will look through the code and integrate it into Docear when we have proved it helpful.

bzr send