The latest version of Qt has changes to make it more stable, faster and easier to use.
Qt is a cross-platform application and UI software development framework that lets you create native apps for desktop, embedded or mobile platforms. It can also be used to create modern embedded devices with alternative screens or remote controllers running on desktop or mobile platforms.
This video highlights the improvements in the latest release:
The developers admit that the previous version, Qt 5.2, still had a couple of rough edges, especially the first-time user experience for iOS and Android, but say most of those issues are now resolved, with additions such as an installer wizard for Android that checks whether the required native build tools are installed, and provides a guided installation for them if they are missing.
The Windows Runtime port of Qt is another area that has been improved, and has now reached the status of a supported beta. You can use it to target PCs and tablets running the Modern UI for Windows 8.1, Windows RT tablets on ARM, such as the Microsoft Surface, and mobile phones running Windows Phone 8.
The new version has been improved with a new QQuickWidget class, a QWidget that lets you embed Qt Quick contents into a QWidget- based application. Writing on the Qt Blog, Lars Knoll says this helps all developers who want to create parts of the UI using Qt Quick while keeping their existing Qt Widget based UI un-touched.
Qt 5.3 also includes a first version of a new professional build tool that will be available in the Qt Enterprise version. Qt Quick Compiler takes QML files and compiles them to native code. This feature offers a big difference in performance on operating systems such as iOS and WinRT where you can’t use a Just in time compiler. It can also be used to improve load times of QML user interfaces, as all of the parsing work now happens at compile time.
In-app purchases are now supported via the Qt Purchasing API, a Qt Enterprise add-on that currently provides support for Android (Google Play) and iOS (App Store). Knoll says that this will be extended to support WinRT (Windows Store / Windows Phone Store) and potentially towards desktop marketplaces such as the Mac App store.
The final improvement means you no longer need to ship the source code of your QML-based apps as part of the compiled versions, so keeping keep your source code safe.
The enterprise version is available with a 30-day free trial from Digia and the open source version can be downloaded from the Qt Project site.
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