Qt for all
Under a new flag
by Tam Hanna
It is customary for the developer of a platform to host that platform's guide event – examples being MIX, I/O and the various Apple events. In the case of Qt, however, organising the event has fallen to Swedish consultancy company KDAB. It has organised this year's Qt Developer Days conference in Berlin, billed as "The event for the entire Qt ecosystem".
KDAB chose the famous Café Moskau as the location for the event. The enormous conference centre offered space for seven parallel tracks, each with a different theme. The maximum capacity of about 500 people was generously exceeded, with some talks offering standing room only.
For the sake of clarity, the organisers divided the event into a number of tracks. As well as the familiar in-depth presentations, elucidating the details of specific aspects of the platform, the focus this time round was on embedded applications. There were numerous presentations aimed at mobile developers, including one on Qt on the Raspberry Pi. Key issues were QML (Qt Meta/Modelling Language) and high-performance graphics, the significance of which for mobile and embedded applications is far from negligible.
Sponsorship by Research In Motion (RIM) meant that there was also a series of presentations on BlackBerry 10 (BB10), showcasing the device's operating system, which uses Qt. A stall staffed by prominent experts promised developers immediate assistance in the event of technical problems.
Digia, the framework's much scrutinised new owner, used the keynote speeches to make a clear statement of its commitment to the product. The company was at pains to convince developers that it would be continuing with a dual-licensing strategy and that there would continue to be an LGPL (and GPL) licensed version of the framework alongside the commercial version.
Digia also floated the following development goals:
- broader multi-platform support
- a better "developer experience"
- modern user interfaces
- a strong ecosystem
Because, in contrast to previous owners, Digia has no interest in the success of a specific hardware platform, it is keen to maximise platform support. It demonstrated the first ever version of Qt for iOS at the event; this will be made publicly available with the launch of Qt 5.0 – meaning soon – and, in conjunction with Necessitas, will enable developers to address all of the major mobile computing platforms. There was also a demonstration of working with Windows(Phone) 8/Windows RT, made possible by the recent addition of C++ support.