Working Together for Qt 5

Qt 5.0 Alpha release is now out. It is a really important step in the process of creating the next major version of Qt. Based on the Qt 5.0 Alpha, we can now continuously improve the maturity together and release the final in June. It has sometimes been asked what is the role of Digia and Qt Commercial in the Qt Project? I wanted to write some lines to explain how we have been contributing to the Qt Project, as well as what Qt 5.0 means for us.


Let’s start with Digia and the Qt Project. As you likely know Digia has the rights for commercial licensing of Qt. Qt Commercial is based on and compatible with open source Qt, providing added features and functionality such as charts and improved tools, support for a large number of different desktop and embedded platforms  – offered under a commercial license. It is very important for us, as well as the whole Qt community, that the essential parts of Qt are the same between the LGPL and the commercial versions. It means avoiding duplicate work, faster innovation, less maintenance overhead, as well as compatibility – all items that clearly benefit everyone. We have a sizeable R&D operation focused on making Qt better. We are creating new functionality, improving existing code, releasing and testing Qt for the benefit of the whole Qt community.


Ongoing Commitment to Qt 4
In addition to Qt 5, we are still placing substantial R&D resource power on the development of Qt 4. A large part of our customer base has critical projects developed with Qt and Qt Commercial is committed to supporting the Qt 4 series for a long time.  Actually, we have still a surprisingly high number of customers who have production systems running on Qt 3. It is definitely in our interests to take care of Qt 4 in addition to developing Qt 5 further.


Leading Contributor in the Qt Community
Digia has been an active participant in the Qt community for over 5 years. We have created various different solutions with Qt for our customers, improved Qt in many platforms and created a hefty amount of code for Qt 4 and Qt 5. We looked back into some numbers and calculated that in the past few years Digia has done well over 3000 contributions to Qt and Qt Mobility making Digia the biggest contributor to Qt after Nokia.


Qt Commercial’s Qt 5 Focus
So, what is situation with Qt 5? Of the over 3,000 contributions we have done, the majority of these are towards Qt 4, and therefore also included in Qt 5. The main areas where we have specifically focused now for Qt 5 are the following: Windows and Mac desktop platforms, cloud functionality and releasing scripts, to name a few examples.  


The main focus in our development is to make sure that Qt 5.0 fulfills the needs of our customers and runs nicely on all the major desktop and embedded platforms. Working together with the community we are contributing to improve all the leading desktop and embedded platforms. We want it to be feasible for our customers to migrate to the new major version of Qt smoothly. Since Qt Commercial will support Qt Commercial 4.8 for a long time, at the moment there is no need to rush with migration to Qt 5.0.


However, Qt Commercial strongly recommends that our customers consider Qt 5.0 for new product development in order to take advantage of advanced graphic performance and web technologies as well as portability. And of course Digia, Qt Commercial is ready to assist our customers with Qt 4 to Qt 5 migration projects. In order to achieve this, we need to have all the highly-performing features and functions of Qt 4 that Qt fans have learned to love, running equally well on Qt 5. Together with the new functionality Qt 5 brings it is clearly the direction to go. It is a natural evolution step for active projects, and a vehicle to create new things better than ever before.


Qt Commercial’s Qt 5 Top 5 Features
With all the great new things of Qt 5, what are the most important ones for Qt Commercial customers? Here’s the Qt Commercial top 5 list:

  1. Compatibility with Qt 4. Qt 5 is straightforward and is nicely compatible with Qt 4 including all of its well-known features and functions, not requiring a full re-write for migration.
  2. Qt Quick 2. A really powerful way of creating UIs for 21st century applications and devices. Qt C++ still remains a powerful development language, and it is by far better than many competitors. But Qt Quick is just so much more powerful for making interactive UIs. Running on the new V8 engine, Qt Quick 2 is ready for Qt Commercial customer needs. Moving forward our target is to include support for desktop components for the 5.1 release together with the Qt Project.
  3. Cloud. With Qt 5.0 all the essential building blocks of cloud computing are now available for the application developer, and it will be possible to create toolkits for existing cloud services. With the cloud enabling functionality and state-of-the-art web browser engine supporting HTML5, it is possible to both connect Qt apps to web services, and to bring web content to Qt apps.
  4. Modularization. Qt is used in a really wide variety of different use cases. With Qt 5 it will be even easier to scale to meet different requirements ranging from the high-end desktop graphics to the embedded control UI of a real-time system. 
  5. Active community. The Qt Project brings together developers and users with varying interests keeping Qt 5 ahead of the competition in the years to come.


The Qt 5.0 Alpha release is now available, and although every part is not yet complete (hey, that’s why it is called Alpha), it is really important to have it out as a baseline for the maturation process of Qt 5. It is equally important that users try it out and provide feedback. We are not issuing a separate Qt Commercial Alpha release, but we encourage all Qt Commercial users to try out the Qt 5.0 Alpha done by the Qt Project.  Going forward towards the Beta we will make Qt Commercial installers available, as well as include the commercial add-ons to the releases.


In the coming weeks and months, we will be further detailing the development work being done in Qt Commercial R&D and the added features and functions that will soon come. Stay tuned to the Qt Commercial blog.


You can get the Qt 5.0 Alpha release from the Qt Project here.


If you are a Qt Commercial licensee, and wish to discuss Qt Commercial 5.0, please contact us.