Programmers Code Down At Qt Developer Days 2010

The Qt Developer Days 2010 conference was held last week in the Bavarian regional capital of Munich. Now in its seventh year of existence, the cross-platform Qt application development framework has gone from its previous existence under the Trolltech name, to the present incarnation of the company under Nokia, after corporate acquisition back in June 2008.

More than 1,000 attendees gathered for the European leg of Qt’s developer roadtrip, with a US event to follow on 1 November. Along with Nokia, CTO Rich Green, making his first keynote appearance at a Qt event, we also heard from Sebastian Nyström who is VP of application service frameworks for Nokia Qt Development Frameworks, and Lars Knoll who is Qt director of R&D – both of whom used their podium slots to detail the roadmap ahead for the next year to eighteen months.

Qt 4.7 development toolkit

As well as a greater number of partners, customers and more training sessions that in any previous year, this year’s event has seen a heavy focus on the recent official release of Qt 4.7, which was unveiled on 21 September.

As an open source development toolkit, Qt 4.7 is now updated with a new declarative language called QML. Already proving interesting to attendees it seems, QML will soon pair with new tooling in the Qt Creator IDE to form the Qt UI Creation Kit (Qt Quick). QML and Qt Quick aim to accelerate the development of mobile user interfaces that work across multiple platforms and form factors.

The company itself describes Qt Quick as a “High-level UI technology that allows developers and UI designers to work together to create animated, touch-enabled UIs and applications.” Aside from the official statements in that vein, attendees seem genuinely interested in the opportunity to give designers a better insight into what they should be asking for in terms of requirements through new tools that work in this way.

Also prevalent in last week’s news announcements was the fact that Qt is now the standard toolkit of MeeGo, the Linux-based mobile platform that Nokia and Intel launched earlier this year. What is hoped now is that use of Qt deployment across both MeeGo and Symbian will make it easier for third-party developers to build apps that work on both platforms. Qt Quick and QML are designed to give developers an easier way to describe flexible user interface layouts. In practice, QML can apparently be used easily and seamlessly with JavaScript as the binding ‘glue’ code so that control of the GUI’s behaviour can be pinned down.

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Adrian Bridgwater

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