The developers behind the widely respected Qt project have lived through to fight another day after life under Nokia to now reside with commercial Qt channel company Digia. This week sees the release Qt 5.0 with what is claimed to be a "step function" increase in performance and better functionality to help developers address the paradigm shift(s) (note the plural) that touchscreens and tablets require.
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NOTE: Digia says that Qt 5.0 will be the platform on which full Android and iOS support will be delivered during the coming year.
Key benefits of Qt 5 include: graphics quality; performance on constrained hardware; cross-platform portability; support for C++11; HTML5 support with QtWebKit 2; an improved QML engine with new APIs; ease of use and compatibility with Qt 4 versions.
NOTE: QML is a declarative language designed to describe the user interface of a program: both what it looks like and how it behaves. In QML, a user interface is specified as a tree of objects with properties.
Qt's ability to deliver graphics has been enhanced with the use of OpenGL ES (the version of the graphics application programming interface designed specifically for embedded systems and mobile devices). This (says Digia) makes it easier to develop and deploy rich graphics with velvet-like animations and transitions, as well as smoothly rendered 2D and 3D animations on high-end architectures and on devices with relatively limited performance, such as mobile phones, tablets, and low-cost development platforms including Raspberry Pi.
Cross-platform portability is made simpler in Qt 5 due to a new modularized code base, consisting of essentials and add-on modules, which enable the system code size to be reduced. The consolidation of the Qt Platform Abstraction layer also emphasizes cross-platform portability by enabling the ease of development for multiple-target deployment, bringing freedom to the developer.
NOTE: Qt supports all major desktop operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux; embedded operating systems such as embedded Linux, Windows Embedded, and the most widely deployed real-time operating systems for embedded devices — VxWorks, Neutrino and INTEGRITY — and popular mobile OSes.
The Qt WebKit 2 integrated browser engine allows easy integration of web content and applications. It will make HTML5 developers "feel at home" and enable hybrid applications to be developed that combine the responsiveness and power of native code with large amounts of dynamic content.
"Qt 5.0 is the first major Qt release Digia has put out since acquiring the full Qt rights from Nokia earlier this autumn. We are happy to release Qt 5.0 together with the Qt Project and are pleased that we have been able to quickly and successfully integrate our development teams immediately after the acquisition process to deliver this anticipated Qt release. Qt 5.0 marks the beginning of the new Qt strategy and serves as the foundation for the further development of Qt," said Tommi Laitinen, senior vice president, Digia.