From Qt SDK 1.1 Beta to an app in just a day

A tweet came across my screen last week which immediately raised my curiosity. It was a father tweeting about his day home with his sick son who spent the day together designing and developing his very own Qt Quick app, the DoodleDrive game. I immediately picked up the phone to talk to this guy to find out what he thought of the new Qt SDK 1.1. Beta and to no surprise he was amazed at how easy it was to use.

Tommi Laukkanen had never used Qt before and is not a C++ developer. He’s a Finn, but no, he does not work for Nokia and never has. Professionally he is a software engineer primarily developing enterprise software. He has been waiting for Qt Quick to launch so that he could use his (non-C++) coding skills to take Qt for a test run. It certainly didn’t hurt that it was part of the new easy-to-install Qt SDK 1.1 Beta, which also supported his Mac development environment.

So leveraging his son’s design talents and his Nokia N8 12MP camera he captured the doodles of his son, clipped out the images in his photo editor and imported the pngs into Qt Creator. Next he started creating his UI in QML, the Qt Quick JavaScript-like language. Tommi said, “It was just so easy. We had a nice UI with a few rectangles in no time. Then using QML, which allows game states, we added animations. It was simple to use the Qt animation framework. My son is the hardest boss and expects results in minutes, not hours, so it was great to be able to change the animations in just a few seconds.”

Tommi also admitted that his friends were quite impressed with the results. They figured he had used some physics to create the animations, such as the bounce effects, but he explained he didn’t need to. All he did was use the the QML transition easing curves parameter to create the bounce. “It looks like physics programming, but it’s not,” concluded Tommi. All of this was done on his Mac and when it came to compiling he took advantage of the remote compiler, which worked smoothly for him.

"My older son was a bit sick today so I stayed home to be with my kids. As usual kids didn't know what to do and I came up with the idea if we'd create a simple game with help of latest Qt SDK 1.1 Beta that was released a day ago. ...and so we did :) This is a small "documentary" of the process."

DoodleDrive - Game Jam Afternoon from Tommi Laukkanen on Vimeo.

Tommi has published to Ovi Store before, so he plans to submit DoodleDrive there, too. Since Qt is cross-platform he was able to easily reuse his code from the Symbian^3 device targets to Maemo 5. Therefore DoodleDrive runs on N8, C7, E7 (basically any Symbian^3 Nokia device) and the N900. His next Qt Quick project is a Facebook client. He admits that he just creates mobile apps as a hobby to fulfill his app needs. Perhaps the saying “if you want it done right, you’ve got to do it yourself” applies here. He said he will definitely use Ovi Store as his publishing point for all his apps.

If you want to check out DoodleDrive, Tommi posted it on Forum Nokia projects. He has uploaded the source code so you too can see how to make a simple game in ~300 lines of QML. He talks more about this on his blog We also want to welcome Tommi to the Qt Ambassador program. DoodleDrive will soon show up on the Qt Ambassador Showcase.

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