Despite developer uncertainty surrounding Nokia’s Qt development framework following the company’s recent partnership with Microsoft to support Windows Phone 7, Nokia has announced a series of updates and enhancements to Qt, including a new release known as Qt Quick.
In a March 1 blog post, Daniel Kihlberg, head of worldwide marketing and services for Qt, said, “With the release of Qt Creator 2.1, we have now passed the official milestone needed to mark the official release of Qt Quick! Qt Quick (Qt UI Creation Kit) introduces exciting new functionality into Qt that lets developers and UI designers work together to rapidly create beautiful, fluid UIs and applications for any Qt platform, all based on our simple-to-learn QML language.”
Moreover, Kihlberg said Qt Quick is Nokia’s next game changer. Qt Quick makes Qt easily accessible to many new developers and designers that are reluctant to learn or perform C++ coding, or those that find it challenging to create fluid touch UIs using our current tools, he said. “We estimate that many, many developers fall into one of these two categories.”
To reassure developers, Kihlberg said, “Qt Quick arrives at a time where on-going investments in Qt by Nokia and by community members continue. Developers can look forward to a strong Qt roadmap. As you may know, Qt is used by many leading consumer electronic companies – in addition to Nokia – that use Qt to deliver tens of millions of web enabled devices such as printers, tablets, eBook readers, photo frames, Skype / video phones and more.”
Meanwhile, in a separate March 1 post, Juha Latvala, director of development at Nokia, announced that the Qt SDK 1.1 beta has been launched. “While the SDK may be a beta, Qt 4.7.2 and Qt Creator 2.1 releases within it are final, meaning we have a complete package of the Qt Quick offering, he said. “Qt Quick is our fantastic new tool for creating lightweight, dynamic UIs and apps.”
Latvala said, based on developer feedback, Nokia decided to eliminate some confusion with its offering of SDKs – specifically developer queries regarding the merits of having two separate SDKs.
“This Qt SDK 1.1 beta is a precursor to a final -combined’ SDK that merges the previous desktop-focused Qt SDK and the mobile-focused Nokia Qt SDK,” Latvala said. “That package is the Qt SDK and this release is a beta of the upcoming version 1.1. We are carrying forward this one-SDK strategy.”
In addition, Latvala said going forward the Qt SDK will contain the Qt libraries, the Qt Creator IDE and the rest of the tooling developers would expect, plus Symbian and MeeGo packages.
The Qt SDK 1.1 package contains the following packages: Qt 4.7.2, Qt Creator 2.1, Mobility APIs (Qt Mobility 1.1.1), Qt simulator, Symbian toolchain, and the Madde toolchain for N900.
Nokia said three key releases underpin the Qt Quick launch. Qt Creator 2.1 contains Qt Quick tooling and other new features, while Qt 4.7.2 and Qt Mobility 1.1.1 are maintenance releases that address key issues present in previous versions.
“Qt Quick changes the whole paradigm of the development of embedded and mobile applications,” said Mark Hatch, chief operating officer at ICS. “We are able to create pixel perfect user interfaces in a tenth of the time it used to take.”
Meanwhile, Latvala noted that “probably the most interesting initiative, in good alpha quality, is the Qt for Android port using the Qt Creator IDE to let developers manage, develop, deploy, run and debug Qt Applications on Android Devices. That Qt is also making its inroads in other areas – such as WebOS – is also interesting.”
Nokia officials said a developer in the Qt community, BogDan Vantra, is taking Nokia’s ‘Qt everywhere’ mantra as his personal mission, as he has (independently of Nokia and Google) started creating a port for Qt on android. On the Qt Labs blog site there is video and information on this community project.