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09 May 2011, 15:28

Qt 5 to arrive in 2012

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Qt Logo The next generation of the Qt cross-platform application and UI framework, Qt 5, will arrive in 2012 say Nokia, seven years since the release of Qt 4.0 in 2005. The announcement was made in a blog posting by Lars Knoll, Director of R&D at Nokia. The Qt developers hope to have beta quality code available by the end of this year.

The developers have a number of goals for Qt 5. They want it to make better use of GPUs for smoother animated graphics while also making the creation of complex applications easier through the use of QML and JavaScript. They also want all Qt applications deeply web connected to make them "as powerful as possible". Finally, they hope to eliminate the complexity in porting and maintaining a port of Qt on new platforms.

The major changes in the actual code will involve redesigning the graphics stack to build it around Qt Quick and the QML Scenegraph, basing all ports on Qt's Lighthouse project, restructuring the Qt repositories to be more modular and separating all the Qwidget functions into their own library. Some of these changes have already been in progress and the developers hope to complete the work by August. The development team also aim to remove some legacy code which exists in Qt 4.7 and make changes to the API while maintaining source code compatibility for "the majority of cases" for applications migrating between Qt 4 and 5.

One change in the development cycle appears to be a plan to develop Qt 5 in the open; previous versions have mostly been developed in-house by Trolltech and Nokia. With Qt 5, Nokia plans to open the development so there will be no difference between in-house and external developers, which will require the Qt developers to change their workflow and processes. Initially the developers plan to focus on a small number of platforms including Wayland and X11 on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows and will look to the community for further platform support; hence the goal of simplifying porting to other platforms.

There is a white paperPDF which goes into more detail on the currently in development plans. Companies and individuals who want to become involved in the development of Qt 5 should look at attending the Qt Contributors' Summit to be held between 16 and 18 of June in Berlin.

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