Qt Declarative UI and Plasma
Something we've been trying out recently with Qt Declarative UI is a Plasma integration. A characteristic of plasmoids is that they tend to have their own unique UI design. Integration of Declarative UI with Plasma has the potential to make it much easier to design such plasmoids. There is also the potential to help make plasmoid development easier by providing a declarative language that is designed specifically for fluid user interfaces, and is more accessible to designers without C++ knowledge. And it also has the potential to facilitate the construction of highly animated plasmoids, like the weather example which animates the clouds and rain/snow all separately. As a prototype we are hoping that its use will provide constructive feedback which enables Declarative UI to truly fulfill these potentials.
There is one very tricky aspect to Declarative UI's Plasma integration. That is that there are large sections of Plasma code which are already written, containing widgets and QGraphicsItems, which might like to add some declarative parts but are certainly not going to re-write themselves. Declarative UI is based on existing Qt technologies, GraphicsView in particular, and can be integrated into existing applications. We just have very little experience with doing that right now and are still investigating how well this works, so feedback on this issue is warmly welcomed. We do intend to get things so that, as much as possible, existing Qt code can easily add Declarative UI bits to its UI when and if they want. You certainly won't have to rewrite your application to use Declarative UI if you're happy with your Graphics View solution. In fact, the prototype Plasma integration makes the existing Plasma QGraphicsWidgets directly usable in QML without altering their code at all (we're still checking how well this works though).
We're hoping that, at some point in the future, people will have Declarative UI as another one of their options for how to build their plasmoids. An especially compelling one if it's to be heavily animated or they don't like coding.
Below is a screen shot showing some of what we have so far. On the left is the weather example, and those are Plasma::PushButtons being used in the middle. On the right is a data source example, printing all the information it can get from the time data source. On the right, below the QML plasmoid, is the file watcher plasmoid showing the full QML source for the data source example just above it.
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