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04 July 2013, 08:50

Qt 5.1 - more than just a minor update

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Qt logo Just under six months after the release of Qt 5.0, a new version of the C++ user interface development framework has now been released. Qt 5.1 is not just a minor update focusing on improvements and performance, as originally intended, it also offers various new features, the most important ones being iOS and Android support, although these aspects continue to be classified as technology previews. According to the developers, however, the implementations can already be used in various scenarios.

Qt 5.1 has been released together with version 2.7.2 of the Qt Creator development environment. The components are available via a new online installer that will assist with automatic updating in the future. The developers have also released a new version of the add-in that provides integration with Microsoft's IDE Visual Studio. For the first time, Qt now works with Visual Studio 2012, and Windows users can choose ANGLE (Almost Native Graphics Layer Engine) or OpenGL.

With this release, the Qt developers have introduced a new model for managing serial ports (Qt SerialPort). Familiar from Qt 4.x, the Qt Sensors module for accessing sensor hardware has now become a Qt component again. It currently supports Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Mer/SailfishOS. The new Qt Quick Controls module offers a collection of reusable UI components for desktop applications. Qt Quick Layouts provides extra help with managing scalable user interfaces.

The previously mentioned support of iOS and Android is almost the same. Compared to Qt 5.1 on other platforms though, missing components include Qt Serialport, Qt WebKit and parts of Qt Multimedia. Qt Quick 2 is also missing from the Qt implementation for Apple's mobile operating system, because its V8 JavaScript engine can't be used under iOS. The developers plan to provide full Qt Quick support for the operating system with Qt 5.2, which they have already scheduled for release in late 2013.

The open source, LGPLv2/GPLv3-licensed Qt is available to download for Linux, Mac OS X, Android (with Linux or Windows development environment) and Windows. Qt 5.1 is also available under a commercial licence.


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