Episode 8

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


  • 2nd Beta of Qt Symbian Smart Installer
  • 1st Beta of Qt 4.7 and Qt Creator Released
  • New Qt Developer Network website enters private beta
Mark Hatch and Justin Noel

Intro: Welcome to ICSNetwork's This Week in Qt, the ten minute podcast that keeps you informed of significant events that may impact your engineering projects. If you have not yet heard about ICS, please visit our website at www.ics.com. As an organization, we believe we have the best independent team of Qt engineers in the world. Whether you're starting a new project or need help removing that insurmountable roadblock that every project has, please contact us at sales@ics.com.

Mark: Good morning. This is Mark Hatch. I run the Qt business here at ICS, and today is This Week in Qt. And, as always, Justin Noel is here - our senior engineer at ICS to give us some insights into what's been going on over the past week. So Justin, what are we talking about today?

Justin: Well there's been a lot of news this week in Qt; well a lot of it happened Thursday. There is a new beta of the Qt Symbian Smart Installer that is going to be the way that current Nokia phones are going to be upgraded to be Qt phones. The first betas of Qt 4.7 and Qt Creator 2.0 were released. And there's a new website being launched by Nokia called the Qt Developer Network, and it's currently in private beta.

M: That interesting. So let's start with the Symbian Installer.

J: Well we talked about this about a month ago or so when the first beta of the Smart Installer came out. The idea is that this would be part of the ovi store integration where if you have a Qt-enabled application on the ovi store when a user on a phone downloads your application, that the ovi store is going to make sure that before your application is installed that Qt is installed. So all applications on the phone will be using the same shared objects for their Qt.

M: Okay, yeah we had several customers here which one of their concerns about using Qt and why they didn't use it right away and were using Symbian initially because they didn't want to carry the load of Qt on every download. They wanted it to be on the phone once they bought it from the ovi store.

J: Yes, up until the Smart Installer came out, you'd have to jump through a lot of hoops to actually get Qt installed on the phone. And there's really no way without getting a special arrangement with Nokia to have a Qt application on the ovi store.

M: So when is this going to become finalized?

J: I think it will probably be out in the next couple of months. I would have guessed it would be out by the end of quarter two - about July or so.

M: So there will be FCS around that time?

J: Yes. And right now, we've said this before, that the Smart Installer is entirely Qt 4.6-based. It doesn't look like it will be moving to 4.7 anytime soon. So take that into consideration when developing your applications for mobile devices.

M: So are the Mobility APIs in 4.6?

J: What actually is included is the Mobility libraries are distributed as a separate library but are included inside of the Smart Installer.

M: Oh okay, good. But 4.6 means no QML?

J: Exactly.

M: Okay, that's too bad.

J: So the second point, staying on that line of thought of Qt 4.7, is that the first betas of Qt 4.7 and Qt Creator 2.0 were released. There were a couple of major line items for this beta to make it different than the technology preview. And when we talked about the technology preview about a month ago the same topics came up. The big news was that Qt Mobility was no longer going to be a separate library. Qt Mobility is being rolled back into Qt 4.7 directly. However, in this beta, Qt Multimedia has been backed out.

M: Oh no. Why was that? Do you have any idea?

J: Well, it seems to be that they're going to be doing an API shakeup that's either going to leave Qt Multimedia either binary or source incompatible with the way it stands right now. So what they're doing is taking all of Qt Mobility, except for Qt Multimedia, and bringing it into Qt 4.7. If you want to use Qt Multimedia, then you have to use an extra library that you can download from Qt Solutions.

M: And there's an LGPL version of that?

J: Of course.

M: Okay, good. How about Qt Creator 2.0? What's going on there?

J: There have been some flashy demos, once again, Videos appeared on labs.trolltech.com showing the visual designer and all of the things it can do. It looks like it's shaping up pretty well. You can drag and drop your elements around, assign different states and then watch them in a preview mode. It looks like it's going to make it pretty easy to develop gadget-style applications, like a weather application or simple things like that.

M: This is still targeted at C++ developers, or at least the mindset of a developer as opposed to someone who might be developing something in Flash, for example, right?

J: Yes. Right now, Qt Creator as a whole is very tailored toward someone like me, a C++ developer, and the visual design tools are kind of coming along right now. I expect they're going to get a lot better very quickly.

M: Do you think that you could actually morph Creator into something that a Flash developer might use, or a UI designer might use?

J: Yes. It looks like they've done a pretty good job at dividing the tools, such that when you create an application, you can create a QML application and don't need any C++. You can stay entirely inside the visual designer and get a running application.

M: But don't you need to know Qt properties or things like that?

J: They actually do a pretty good job of hiding most of that as well. Because Qt is based on introspection and the ability to have runtime properties, it looks much like a Flash developer would expect.

M: Okay. When do you expect the final version of this? I mean this is the first beta.

J: Yes, right now Nokia has not specified any particular date, but I would say sometime in July.

M: It certainly will be before DevDays, right?

J: Yes. In tradition in the last couple of years, DevDays has been the time at which Qt has released a new major version. It seems because of advancements, such as Mobility and QML, they have shortened their major feature set development from a one-year release cycle to what's turning out to be more of a 6/9 month development cycle.

M: That's pretty impressive. Usually you'd expect after they were purchased by Nokia that the development cycle if anything would extend, not collapse.

J: Well there are a lot of features. And it's a very future-looking toolkit right now.

M: Well that's great. So you were saying before that there's a new website in town?

J: There is. Announced on the mailing list and on labs.trolltech.com was a new website called the Qt Developer Network. It is located at developer.qt.nokia.com.

M: Wow, that's a mouthful!

J: It is. A lot of very short words with dots in the url. But it turns out, right now in order to login you need to be part of the private beta. Which means to log into the website, you need to have been specifically asked to join. There is a form up on the website at developer.qt.nokia.com where you can actually ask to join the private beta. And then it will ask you a bunch of questions about Qt and what you think you can add. But even without having a login, you can browse a lot of the material up on the site by just clicking around the links. So you can find that they plan on distributing videos, sort of video tutorials, on aspects of Qt and how to use it. There's going to be a wiki. And there's going to be a question and answer forum with a point-based system so that you can be a top poster on Qt Developer Network. It also looks like parts of this may replace labs.trolltech.com. There is a section in there for Qt developer blogs from the actual developers at Nokia themselves that overlaps with labs. And they might actually bring all of the code over as well. So you might be seeing labs.trolltech.com going away.

M: So this will probably replace qt-interest at some point, right?

J: Yes, although I find that to be very sad. I'm not a very pull type of person when it comes to talking about Qt. I like it to show up in my mailbox every day. I was never really able to get into Qt Centre at all, which is a forum, because you have to go there, make sure you keep up on all your posts, and check out the new posts. I like mailing lists in that they come to me.

M: Right, and it will be interesting to see if they figure out how to merge the two. Yahoo does a pretty good job with Yahoo Groups where they can have a digest sent to you or you can log into a forum basically and see what's going on.

J: Yes. Broadening the tent for access for more people to ask questions and get answers from people who like mailing lists or forums would be great.

M: So have there been any postings yet on what's new on this developer network?

J: It looks to be mostly boiler plate, but the biggest thing is that the first news story is the announcement that pre-registration is open for Qt Developer Days. It's going to happen, once again, in Munich, Germany, and it will happen once again in San Francisco. Munich, Germany is October 11th to the 13th at the Dolce Hotel and Resort outside Munich. DevDays San Francisco is going to be November 1st to the 3rd at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport.

M: Well that's a change of location there in Munich.

J: Yes. Last year was an overwhelming turnout. There had to have been 400 people there and eating lunch was an elbow to elbow experience.

M: Yeah, I heard it was very crowded.

J: It was great to see a large up swell in interest for DevDays.

M: I think the Hyatt is the same place as last year, right?

J: Yes, the Hyatt is the same place as last year. This year in Munich they're actually having the conference at a much larger, sort of resort/conference-type of facility. And it's actually 20 miles outside of what I would call Munich proper - which is the city center.

M: Wow, so that's about 30 kilometers for the rest of the world here.

J: Yes. So tourists beware. It might be a bit of a hike to see the tourist attractions inside of Munich.

M: But the most important question for you Justin, is how far is it to travel to the BMW museum there?

J: Well I'll have to hit Google Maps for that, but I'm sure it won't be far from the homeland of my car.

M: Well great. As always, thank you Justin very much for your insights here. Again, this is Mark Hatch and thank you for listening to This Week in Qt.

J: See everybody next week - same time, same channel.