April 29, 1999
Dissolving Boundaries with Qt
SEBASTOPOL, CA -- Qt is an easy-to-use, multi-platform C++ GUI
toolkit. With Qt, a developer can write an application once and run
it on UNIX, Windows 95/98, and Windows NT platforms. Qt has a
similar look and feel to the standard Motif toolkit for UNIX systems,
but it is easier to use. And it emulates the look-and-feel of Windows,
so you can provide all of your users with native-looking interfaces.
Qt also manages to straddle both the proprietary and open source
community -- corporations are comfortable paying for Qt and the
accompanying support agreements they expect from a commercial sale.
Linux developers can acquire Qt for free (unless they wish to develop
closed-source commercial applications in which case they must purchase
a license). Now O'Reilly and Associates has published a book on
with Qt by Matthias Kalle Dalheimer.
"I do contract programming specializing in cross-platform software
development. My customers contract me because I can deliver on both
UNIX and Windows-something which not many people do nowadays, but
has become a quite comfortable market niche for me," explained
Dalheimer. "It would simply not be feasible to write an application
twice -- the cost would be so high that my rates would not be
competitive at all. Qt allows me to write my application once and
then compile it on various UNIX systems and Windows. Thus I only have
the development time once instead of twice. This is about
what Java promises, but without the slowness of the application and the
horrible development tools that still hamper Java application development."
Platform independence is not the only benefit of Qt. Qt uses an
ingenious signal/slot mechanism for connecting user interaction with program
functionality, providing an excellent framework for component-based
programming. Graphical rendering in Qt is highly optimized due to its use of
effective caching mechanisms-rendering in Qt is often faster than with the
similar native API. In addition to user interface classes, Qt
features portable support for file system access, working with date and
time values, and network programming. With Qt, you'll find that you need
to write very little, if any, platform-dependent code because Qt already
has what you need.
Qt's benefits are impressive, but the learning curve can be steep.
Qt comes with excellent reference documentation, but beginners often
find the included tutorial is not enough to really get started with Qt.
"We felt there was a need for a book that guides you through
the steps of writing a Qt application and presents all of the GUI
elements in Qt, along with advice about when and how to use them,
so that you can make full use of the toolkit." said Elke Hansel, Managing
Director of O'Reilly Germany. "There's also lots of information for
seasoned Qt programmers, including material on advanced 2D
transformations, drag-and-drop, and writing custom image file filters."
An interesting side note on the book:
is the first book in English published by O'Reilly to have originated in the
German office. "Traditionally, Europeans have always had a strong affinity
for Linux and free software in general, both as users and as programmers"
explained Hansel. "So when we started the Qt book, we had a strong
interest here in Europe, but we weren't sure how strong the interest
would be in the US. So we decided to publish it in English for the European
market only. By the time the book was published by the German company,
the Open Source movement had advanced so that Qt was widely recognized
as a cutting-edge topic. This was the first time we published an English
language O'Reilly book outside the US -- but we will do so again
whenever it makes sense."
For a Profile of Matthias Kalle Dalheimer by Thomas Scoville see:
For more information on the book, see:
Programming with Qt --
Writing Portable GUI applications on UNIX and Win32
By Matthias Kalle Dalheimer
1st Edition April 1999 (US)
1-56592-588-2, 384 pages, $32.95 (US)
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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