Qt Everywhere: LG-Nortel
In a new series we want to run here on this blog, we will be bringing you opinions straight from the ‘industry floor’, as we speak to some of our users about their experiences working with Qt.
To kick things off we are speaking with Ms. Cho Eunil, Chief Software Engineer at LG-Nortel. The company has recently used Qt to build the user interface for its IP8850 high-end enterprise IP phone that provides multimedia audio and video calls.
Ms Cho works specifically in the communications space. She is responsible for LG-Nortel’s for MMI framework and also works with the company’s call processing and video communication devices.
Ms Cho joined LG in 2000 and holds an MS Computer Engineering from ChungNam National University. She lives in An-yang, Korea with her husband.
Qt: What first drew you towards evaluating and eventually working with Qt?
Cho Eunil: Back at the start, our internal videophone and IP teams evaluated Qt while we were looking for an alternative graphics framework to EVAS. Although we were using the EVAS open source graphics engine at that time, there were performance issues when we used it with Python. Also, the features were relatively limited and there was no documentation or support. On the other hand, Qt was providing bindings to Python and both the native framework and the Qt offerings appeared to be quite comprehensive.
Qt: Tell us about what your product needed to deliver to the market and how using Qt helps you meet this challenge.
Cho Eunil: LG-Nortel needed a new graphics framework to keep up with challenging market requirements. As we provide a wide range of devices from enterprise to home use, the framework had to be both comprehensive and flexible. Qt was suitable because of its extensive features not only at the GUI level, but also the extended features that meet complex UI requirements and creative solutions.
Qt: How long has your company been using Qt technology – and, how has your implementation of Qt developed and progressed from early stages to today?
Cho Eunil: LG-Nortel started using Qt technology in May 2008. The learning process was a little difficult to start with, as the work with the IP8850 product was our first Qt-only project, but we had the opportunity to we used Nokia’s service offering at the beginning of the project to create a basic platform and sample code. The development process included learning from the Nokia code during a trial-and-error process. Today, we are more used to finding solutions or sample code from the open source community. While it was a steep learning curve, we believe we have developed our knowledge base. Our internal Qt developer pool has increased and we are now able to deliver training internally.
Qt: What other critical factors influenced your decision to choose Qt?
Cho Eunil: The fact that Qt is a commercial product and provides services was a strong factor in our decision making process. Also, given the fact that we needed a new graphics solution for the long-term future, Qt’s comprehensive development environment meant that we could build a common platform for LG-Nortel that could be reused.
Qt: What does your development team tell you that they enjoy most about being able to work with Qt.
Cho Eunil: Qt’s documentation is one of the most useful aspects of working with the technology; there was no such luxury with our previous open source solution. Also, there’s lots of great sample code provided with Qt and on the company’s excellent Qt Labs and Blogs sites.
Qt: Please describe your team’s experience when learning Qt. How quickly and proficiently was Qt adopted by developers who were new to it?
Cho Eunil: After the initial Qt training, Nokia provided a base platform with code for our engineers to study. As we were experienced with Java and other OOP-type programming, it was easier to learn. We had very little time, less than a month in fact, to learn Qt before the development started and we experienced a lot of trial-and-error processes. But overall Qt was easy to learn.
Qt: How many developers were involved on your Qt-related project?
Cho Eunil: Our project team included three LG-Nortel engineers, two more from a Vietnamese outsourcing company and one Nokia CS engineer. The Nokia CS engineer focused on developing the platform functionality and its reusable components. The LG-Nortel engineers were focused on call control and system integration and the external Vietnamese engineers were developing stand-alone applications.
Qt: What is the killer-application development factor that you feel Qt offers?
Cho Eunil: I’m not sure it if it is a killer-application in any sense, but we think QtWebKit is a really exciting new technology!
Qt: Did you use Qt’s tools for translation and localization?
Cho Eunil: We used Linguist, lrelease and lupdate for language support. As we had had translations done before this project started, we had to manually copy translations to Linguist but other than that it was done easily.
Qt: As a result of choosing Qt technology what savings did you experience in terms of development time, more efficient performance and greater cross-platform interoperability?
Cho Eunil: Considering the IP8850 work was our first Qt project, the development time was acceptable. We estimate that we spent two months out of eight adjusting our methods and learning Qt. Efficiency wise, it was easier to use external resources for application development as we did with Vietnamese engineers thanks to Qt documentation. We have not considered going cross-platform yet.
Qt: What other benefits has using Qt technology brought your organization from a business perspective?
Cho Eunil: Qt provides a good foundation to develop LG-Nortel’s native application platform. Qt helps us to identify new business opportunities and respond to the changing market adequately.
IP8850 SIP based high-end IP Phone.
Hardware: CPU - BCM1103
RAM: 64 MB Flash: 128 MB
The device is currently available in Korea and Norway.
Company official website: www.lg-nortel.com
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