Qt: More, More, More

No software release is complete without a proclamation of the shiny new features packed inside the box. Such is the case with Nokia's freshly unveiled Qt 4.6, where the word of the day is more.

Qt 4.6 is packing an impressive variety of new features, from the shiny to the speedy. Graphic effects are among the selling points, including the addition of filtering, drop shadows and glow, as well as the ever-popular opacity. A new Animation Framework is also included, which offers "intuitive state machine functionality."

On the speed side, Nokia claims 4.6 "challenges the conventional development notion that advanced UI capabilities normally come with a significant performance cost." An OpenGL paint engine has been added, as well as OpenVG-based 2D vector graphics, DirectFB support, and Webkit. The GraphicsView rendering algorithm has also been rewritten and "highly optimized," a combination the company says will offer "the best possible performance while enabling developers to deliver the “wow” effect that is demanded by users."

Shine and speed aren't the only improvements, however. Among the most highly touted new features is multi-touch support. "Gesture based input methods such as flicking and kinetic scrolling" are now a possibility, providing new "dynamic, tactile" options for user interaction. And then there are the platforms.

Qt 4.6 has expanded its reach considerably. Support for Snow Leopard, Maemo 6, and Windows 7 is in the box, while Maemo 5 support remains under development. Real-time OSes are also in the mix, with "community support" for VxWorks and QNX. Nokia is touting the development opportunities presented by having both Maemo and Symbian support, saying that the common codebase will result in applications that "reach the market faster and reach a broader audience of device users."

According to Application Services and Frameworks VP Sebastian Nyström, this is "an exciting time for developers, regardless of their target form factor or platform" as they can now "easily create visually appealing and web-connected applications for desktops or devices, including targeting the hundreds of millions of Symbian and Maemo-based devices." In addition to the opportunity to "enjoy using Qt's intuitive programming interface to quickly create powerful, appealing applications," developers can also enjoy using QtCreator 1.3, and integrated development environment for Qt 4.6, which "contains everything developers need to create cross-platform applications."

Those engaged in Qt-based development, and the generally curious, can find more information on Nokia's Qt site and can download the Qt SDK (Qt 4.6 + QtCreator 1.3) under an LGPL or commercial license from the company's download site.
Justin Ryan is the News Editor for Linux Journal.
Look for him in the #linuxjournal IRC channel.

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