This is a fork of that replaces pango with for font rendering. Note: do not use the master branch; use one of the fontconfig branches
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Contributing to sway

Contributing just involves sending a pull request. You will probably be more successful with your contribution if you visit #sway-devel on Libera Chat upfront and discuss your plans.

Note: rules are made to be broken. Adjust or ignore any/all of these as you see fit, but be prepared to justify it to your peers.

Scope of future changes to sway

Important: Sway has completed its core value proposition: it is a fully featured Wayland-compatible replacement for i3. It is not our intention to expand on the scope of what i3 aims to accomplish. Our priorities now are increasing the stability, reliability, and performance of sway within its current scope. For this reason, most new window management feature requests are not accepted, even if accompanied by a patch.

Pull Requests

If you already have your own pull request habits, feel free to use them. If you don't, however, allow me to make a suggestion: feature branches pulled from upstream. Try this:

  1. Fork sway
  2. git clone && cd sway
  3. git remote add upstream

You only need to do this once. You're never going to use your fork's master branch. Instead, when you start working on a feature, do this:

  1. git fetch upstream
  2. git checkout -b add-so-and-so-feature upstream/master
  3. Add and commit your changes
  4. git push -u origin add-so-and-so-feature
  5. Make a pull request from your feature branch

When you submit your pull request, your commit log should do most of the talking when it comes to describing your changes and their motivation. In addition to this, your pull request's comments will ideally include a test plan that the reviewers can use to (1) demonstrate the problem on master, if applicable and (2) verify that the problem no longer exists with your changes applied (or that your new features work correctly). Document all of the edge cases you're aware of so we can adequately test them - then verify the test plan yourself before submitting.

Commit Messages

Please strive to write good commit messages. Here's some guidelines to follow:

The first line should be limited to 50 characters and should be a sentence that completes the thought [When applied, this commit will...] "Implement cmd_move" or "Fix #742" or "Improve performance of arrange_windows on ARM" or similar.

The subsequent lines should be separated from the subject line by a single blank line, and include optional details. In this you can give justification for the change, reference Github issues, or explain some of the subtler details of your patch. This is important because when someone finds a line of code they don't understand later, they can use the git blame command to find out what the author was thinking when they wrote it. It's also easier to review your pull requests if they're separated into logical commits that have good commit messages and justify themselves in the extended commit description.

As a good rule of thumb, anything you might put into the pull request description on Github is probably fair game for going into the extended commit message as well.

See here for more details.

Code Review

When your changes are submitted for review, one or more core committers will look over them. Smaller changes might be merged with little fanfare, but larger changes will typically see review from several people. Be prepared to receive some feedback - you may be asked to make changes to your work. Our code review process is:

  1. Triage the pull request. Do the commit messages make sense? Is a test plan necessary and/or present? Add anyone as reviewers that you think should be there (using the relevant GitHub feature, if you have the permissions, or with an @mention if necessary).
  2. Review the code. Look for code style violations, naming convention violations, buffer overflows, memory leaks, logic errors, non-portable code (including GNU-isms), etc. For significant changes to the public API, loop in a couple more people for discussion.
  3. Execute the test plan, if present.
  4. Merge the pull request when all reviewers approve.
  5. File follow-up tickets if appropriate.

Style Reference

Sway is written in C with a style similar to the kernel style, but with a few notable differences.

Try to keep your code conforming to C11 and POSIX as much as possible, and do not use GNU extensions.


Brackets always go on the same line, including in functions. Always include brackets for if/while/for, even if it's a single statement.

void function(void) {
	if (condition1) {

	if (condition2) {
	} else {


Indentations are a single tab.

For long lines that need to be broken, the continuation line should be indented with an additional tab.

If the line being broken is opening a new block (functions, if, while, etc.), the continuation line should be indented with two tabs, so they can't be misread as being part of the block.

really_long_function(argument1, argument2, ...,
	argument3, argument4);

if (condition1 && condition2 && ...
		condition3 && condition4) {

Try to break the line in the place which you think is the most appropriate to balance the lines.

Line Length

Try to keep your lines under 80 columns, assuming a tab width equal to 4 spaces, but you can go up to 100 if it improves readability. Don't break lines indiscriminately, try to find nice breaking points so your code is easy to read.


Global function and type names should be prefixed with sway_submodule_ (e.g. struct sway_output, sway_output_destroy). For static functions and types local to a file, the names chosen aren't as important. Static functions shouldn't have a sway_ prefix.

For include guards, use the header's filename relative to include. Uppercase all of the characters, and replace any invalid characters with an underscore.

Construction/Destruction Functions

For functions that are responsible for constructing and destructing an object, they should be written as a pair of one of two forms:

  • init/finish: These initialize/deinitialize a type, but are NOT responsible for allocating it. They should accept a pointer to some pre-allocated memory (e.g. a member of a struct).
  • create/destroy: These also initialize/deinitialize, but will return a pointer to a malloced chunk of memory, and will free it in destroy.

A destruction function should always be able to accept a NULL pointer or a zeroed value and exit cleanly; this simplifies error handling a lot.

Error Codes

For functions not returning a value, they should return a (stdbool.h) bool to indicated if they succeeded or not.


Keep the use of macros to a minimum, especially if a function can do the job. If you do need to use them, try to keep them close to where they're being used and #undef them after.


struct wlr_backend *wlr_backend_autocreate(struct wl_display *display) {
	struct wlr_backend *backend;
	if (getenv("WAYLAND_DISPLAY") || getenv("_WAYLAND_DISPLAY")) {
		backend = attempt_wl_backend(display);
		if (backend) {
			return backend;

	const char *x11_display = getenv("DISPLAY");
	if (x11_display) {
		return wlr_x11_backend_create(display, x11_display);

	// Attempt DRM+libinput

	struct wlr_session *session = wlr_session_create(display);
	if (!session) {
		wlr_log(WLR_ERROR, "Failed to start a DRM session");
		return NULL;

	int gpu = wlr_session_find_gpu(session);
	if (gpu == -1) {
		wlr_log(WLR_ERROR, "Failed to open DRM device");
		goto error_session;

	backend = wlr_multi_backend_create(session);
	if (!backend) {
		goto error_gpu;

	struct wlr_backend *libinput = wlr_libinput_backend_create(display, session);
	if (!libinput) {
		goto error_multi;

	struct wlr_backend *drm = wlr_drm_backend_create(display, session, gpu);
	if (!drm) {
		goto error_libinput;

	wlr_multi_backend_add(backend, libinput);
	wlr_multi_backend_add(backend, drm);
	return backend;

	wlr_session_close_file(session, gpu);
	return NULL;