Qt Gets Prettied Up

Qt Software (pronounced "cute") gets gussied up with a makeover in Qt 4.5 and also is chosen as a key platform for development on the Nokia S60 smart phone software stack. Qt 4.5 focuses on performance, WebKit integration and 64-bit support. Meanwhile, the S60 support gives Qt developers a new area of focus, as Nokia has shipped more than 80 million S60 3rd Edition handsets (the version Qt will support).

LONDON-Already attractive to thousands of developers, the Qt (pronounced "cute") cross-platform application framework became a lot more attractive to a whole new group of developers recently.

Not only did Qt Software announce the availability of the Qt framework for the Nokia S60 platform on Oct. 20, but the company formerly known as Trolltech and now owned by Nokia also released a technology preview of Qt 4.5, the next version of the software.

On Oct. 21, Qt Software announced the Technology Preview of Qt 4.5-the upcoming new version of its cross-platform application framework for desktop and embedded development. Qt officials said preview packages are now available to commercial and open-source users for download, testing and feedback.

The Technology Preview provides a first, complete look at new Qt features-all of which are aimed at achieving the three primary design goals for the Qt 4.5 release: to improve the run-time performance of Qt-based applications; to allow Qt users to realize the full potential of WebKit; and to future-proof Qt users' investments on the Mac platform with added 64-bit support, Qt Software officials said.

In a meeting with eWEEK at the Symbian Smartphone Show here, Benoit Schillings, chief technology officer at Qt Software, said his group "spent a lot of time focusing on performance, graphics processing and other things. Compatibility with 64-bit Mac OS is important, as is enhanced support for the WebKit engine. Qt engineers are quite familiar with WebKit."

Nokia sets Symbian Foundation road map. Learn more here.

Qt Software officials said Qt 4.5 brings a new performance benchmarking library, focused re-engineering of key functionality and a new pluggable graphics system-all aimed at increasing the performance of Qt-based applications. And because most engineering work has been done to the core Qt API, in most cases Qt users need only to upgrade to Qt 4.5 to realize performance benefits immediately, the company said.

Moreover, the company said Qt integrates with the WebKit browser engine, and with Qt 4.5 that integration has been upgraded to utilize the latest version of WebKit. Qt users can now preview new Netscape plug-in support-which allows developers to incorporate Adobe Flash content-added support for HTML 5 and integration with a new JavaScript engine, SquirrelFish.

And, continuing the Qt tradition of insulating developers from platform-specific changes, Qt 4.5 adds support for developing 64-bit applications on top of the new Mac Cocoa API, making it possible for Qt developers to deploy resource-intensive applications to the latest version of the Mac OS (10.5), Qt Software officials said.

In addition, Qt 4.5 takes advantage of Greenhouse, Qt's IDE (integrated development environment). Greenhouse "is not a full-fledged IDE like Eclipse or Visual Studio, but a lightweight IDE driven by our needs in that area," Schillings said.