Qt for Symbian and the Nokia Smart Installer (beta)

Qt 4.6.2 is released, and in addition to all the bug fixes in it, we've also snuck in a feature or two, especially for the Symbian platform. One of interest is the ability for Qt to make use of the beta version of the Nokia Smart Installer, which makes it easier to deploy your Qt application to Symbian phones.

Using the Nokia Smart Installer

This is how you make use of it in short:

  1. Download and install Qt for Symbian 4.6.2
  2. Download the Nokia Smart Installer v 0.9 (beta)
  3. Unzip it on top of your installed Qt for Symbian folder
  4. Code your cool mobile application
  5. Run qmake && make release-gcce to create yourapp.exe
  6. Run make sis to create yourapp.sis
  7. Run make installer_sis to create yourapp_installer.sis
  8. You have an application ready for deployment!

When the user now installs yourapp_installer.sis on their phone, the Smart Installer will go on-line and get all the dependencies that your Qt application requires, typically Qt and QtWebkit + Open C. If these packages are already installed on the phone, the Smart Installer does nothing. So, it is a little bit like an "apt-get for Symbian" has been wrapped around your application. See below for a nice drawing of how it all works (click for full size).

How the Smart Installer works

The benefit of such a binary is twofold. It ensures the phone gets the up to date and correct versions of Qt and its dependencies, and it also dramatically reduces the file size of the application you are shipping.

Trying it out

If you're an impatient person and just want to try out how an application using the Smart Installer works, then click the link under the image below. It will install the Qt demos (fluidlauncher and the other demos and examples) using the Smart Installer on your phone.

Downloading Qt and dependencies

Tip: To get less prompts when installing, sign your app properly. Go to symbiansigned.com and Express Sign yourapp.sis, then wrap it with the Smart Installer and Express Sign yourapp_installer.sis as well. The example above still has fluidlauncher self-signed, so there are more prompts than needed. At the moment, if everything is properly signed you are looking at five prompts for the user to answer - and we're working on getting that down to only two or three.

If you have trouble using the Smart Installer, go to qt.nokia.com/phonedemos and you can download the Qt demos where all dependencies are included in one big package and no network access from the phone is required.

It's still in beta!

Now the Nokia Smart Installer for Symbian is still in beta, but we want you to try it out. At the moment it won't be possible to get any "smart" Qt applications into the Ovi Store - but it is just a matter of time before that becomes possible.

Stability wise it works pretty well on the 3.2 and 5.0 phones we've tested (5800, N78, N97 mini etc.) but we've had some issues with some of our N95s where wlan fails in mid-download. Please test and give feedback to the developers in this forum. We want to hear about any usability as well as functional issues you discover.

EPL release and the Symbian Foundation

The Nokia Smart Installer for Symbian is not directly developed by the Qt developers, but we're helping out the team in Finland/India with patches and QA. At the moment the code is not yet available for download - but we are in the process of preparing the code for contribution to the Symbian Foundation, so this should be resolved shortly.

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