Published by Ewan Spence, David Gilson at 9:34 UTC, September 2nd 2011
Qt developers have a lot of new tools to explore and play with over the weekend, as Nokia has announced a major update to the Qt SDK. The headline change is the introduction of Qt Creator v2.3 (full details on Creator 2.3 can be found here), other changes include Qt 4.7.4, a new UI and features in Qt Simulator, updates to the notifications API, and the various components for running Qt apps on Symbian, MeeGo and the desktop. Existing Qt developers can update from within the SDK application folder, otherwise the links are in the Qt Labs.
Nokia has highlighted the following changes in the Qt Labs blog:
- Qt Creator 2.3: Plenty of small improvements to improve the basic developer experience. For more information, read the release blog.
- Qt Simulator 1.2: in addition to a significant UI facelift, Qt Simulator 1.2 is introducing several new features: sensor simulation, simulation of NFC tags as well as gesture simulation.
- Notifications API 1.1 is introducing QML bindings and quality improvements.
- Qt 4.7.4 for desktop app developers.
- MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan beta: This version of the Harmattan target is built on the same software image that was used in the version released in June so does not introduce new features, but is required to be updated in order to continue developing MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan apps.
- Update to Symbian Complementary Package: important CODA update to expand the support also to the latest Symbian Belle devices. Note that the apps created with the beta level new target for Symbian Belle devices can not yet be submitted to the Ovi Store.
- Update to Qt Quick Components for Symbian is not introducing functional changes.
Qt powered devices have a huge footprint in Nokia's line-up, and while some might look at Windows Phone and wonder if Qt has had its day, the tens of millions of devices out there right now which support Qt make it a viable developer platform. Those devices aren't going away over the next year or so.
An interesting part of the Qt Simulator 1.2 update post talks about how Nokia has implemented the simulation of multi-touch input on non-touch enabled platforms, e.g. mouse driven desktops:
But as Multi-touch screens are not widespread yet there was the need to add another possibility to trigger multiple touch point actions in Qt Simulator. Therefore you can now change Qt Simulator’s “mouse input mode”. By default it behaves just like mouse input but you can change to “pinch”, “pan” and “swipe” mode to simulate these gestures. Additionally you can use Qt Simulator’s script engine to add more complex gestures. These gestures can be triggered when Qt Simulator is in “custom gesture” mode
Qt Creator 2.3.0 has seen numerous improvements. For example, there is now support for building Qt applications for generic Linux platforms, and debugging has now been implemented for Symbian and Meego Harmattan 1.2:
- Coding style options for C++ have been vastly improved and can be defined globally and on a per project basis. Also see the blog post.
- Profiling has moved to its own “Analyze” mode, and additionally supports profiling QML applications and profiling with Valgrind’s Callgrind.
- Support for “generic remote Linux devices” has been added. You define your connection for a “Linux Device” in the preferences, and add corresponding deploy and run configurations to your project’s run settings, and there you go. You’ll have to make sure that you use a suitable toolchain for building your project yourself though.
- Debugging and profiling Qt Quick applications now works for Symbian and Meego 1.2 Harmattan devices with Qt 4.7.4 installed.
- Various other improvements to Qt Quick support, like views, models and delegates and Qt Quick Designer including mockup data, improved Live Preview (i.e. modifying your QML while running in a preview).
Finally, the core of Qt has been updated to version 4.7.4. In general, there are updates for text direction, split screen keyboards, and support for the QML Shaders plugin, to enabled OpenGL shading in Qt applications.
Qt 4.7.4 also brings a number of Symbian specific updates:
- Opt-in split view editor support (e.g. enabler for Qt Quick Components 1.1),
- Graphics improvements: Productized OpenGL ES support with optimized GPU memory management, Several OpenVG paint engine optimizations
- Faster orientation switching support
- Support for copy/paste keyboard accelerators in editors
As for availability, Qt Labs had to this to say:
Please note that Qt 4.7.4 will be available for the upcoming Symbian and MeeGo devices when final device software is available. Targets will be made available accordingly with updates of the Qt SDK.
Qt 4.7.4 is available as part of the Qt SDK update. Qt packages can be downloaded from the Qt Download page, and for those who prefer, to get it directly from the public git repository at http://qt.gitorious.org. The release has been tagged there as “v4.7.4,” and the changes are listed in the Qt 4.7.4 changelog.
Ewan Spence and David Gilson for All About Symbian, 2nd September 2011.
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