Qt 5.5 Beta Released

It’s my pleasure to announce the release of the Qt 5.5 Beta today.

Since we released Qt 5.4, a lot of effort has been put into fixing bugs reported both by our customers and the community. With this in focus, we went through a couple weeks of dedicated bug fixing here at The Qt Company. During this time, we worked 100% on fixing as many open issues as possible. Although the focus of Qt 5.5 has been on stability and performance, it also has some interesting new features and functionality to offer.

3D and OpenGL Features

While Qt has had OpenGL integration and support for many years, the integration was mainly about low level enablers and classes. With Qt 5.5, we are now adding two new modules, that greatly extend our set of 3D APIs: Qt Canvas 3D and Qt 3D.

The first module that makes using 3D easier in Qt is Qt Canvas3D. The module first appeared as a Technology Preview in Qt 5.4, but is now fully supported in Qt 5.5. It provides a WebGL-like API that can be easily implemented using Qt Quick, which greatly simplifies 3D content integration. WebGL itself is a low level API, but Qt Canvas3D can be used in conjunction with JavaScript frameworks such as three.js making loading and displaying 3D content trivial.

Another major new feature, available as a Technology Preview, is the new Qt 3D module. Qt 3D is a module that existed during Qt 4 times, but was never added to Qt 5…yet. Thanks to our partner KDAB, it has now undergone a major refactoring and is an even better solution than the Qt 4 version.

Qt 3D takes our 3D support a good step upwards making it a lot easier to use and integrate 3D content into Qt applications. The module provides both C++ and QML APIs. For more details what Qt 3D 2.0 brings, you can check Qt 3D documentation and KDAB’s series of blogs. Being a Technology Preview, the module still has some rough edges. Please let us know what you think, so that we can turn Qt 3D into a fully supported part of Qt with Qt 5.6.

Qt Quick and Multimedia related news

A good amount of work has gone into improving the QML engine, which is the basis for Qt Quick. Apart from many bug fixes and performance improvements, it now supports JavaScript typed arrays and a new method to interface with your own value based classes.

Enterprise Controls have been folded into the base Qt Quick Controls and are also made available in the Community version. We also added a TreeView control to complete the set of controls required for building desktop applications.

A lot of work has also been put into Qt Multimedia. On Linux, we now use gstreamer 1.0 as the default backend and lots of bugs have been fixed for the other platforms. The new Video filtering framework is a great new feature that allows the integration of frameworks, such as OpenCL or CUDA with VideoOutput elements.

Qt WebEngine and WebView

Qt WebEngine has been updated to Chromium version 40 and has received new APIs for managing downloading of files, controlling cache and cookies, as well as settings. Support for Qt WebChannel is now built-in and many experimental APIs are now public and fully supported.

The Qt WebView module has some new APIs and now also supports Mac OS X in addition to Android and iOS.

Qt Location

Qt Location is another module that has made its way from Qt 4 to Qt 5 as a Technology Preview. Your feedback on this will be important to make this module an integral part of the Qt 5.6 release. Qt Location adds mapping, geocoding, routing and places support to Qt. In conjunction with the existing Qt Positioning API, it should give you all you need to create location aware applications. Qt Location can make use of different mapping providers, such as Nokia Here, Mapbox and Openstreetmap currently.

Other Improvements

Many other things have been improved with Qt 5.5, you can find description of all the new features on our wiki. For example, we now support more platforms for Bluetooth LE and there is a new SSL backend based on Secure Transport for Mac OS X and iOS.

We have also updated the supported platform and compiler configurations. On Linux we are now supporting RedHat Enterprise Linux better than before, and the binaries can also be directly used on RHEL as well as many other Linux distributions. For Mac users OS X versions 10.8, 10.9 and 10.10 are supported by Qt 5.5. We are not yet officially supporting Windows 10, as it has not been released, but we have been using the pre-releases in development and will add support to Windows 10 with Qt 5.5.x patch release after it is available.

Deprecated Modules

With all these new features coming, some older ones are being deprecated, namely Qt WebKit, Qt Script, and Qt Declarative (Qt Quick 1). All of these modules are still available with Qt 5.5, but we strongly recommend using their replacements for any new functionality: Qt WebEngine, Qt Quick, and Qt QML, which also provides a fully compliant JavaScript engine. While there are still some smaller feature gaps in a few places between these modules, we believe that the replacements are now better than the deprecated modules. We will of course continue to improve the new modules and will try to fill any remaining feature gaps from the old ones.

You can download the Qt 5.5 Beta from your Qt Account portal or via download.qt.io. Please try them out and report back to us any issues you might find, so that we can make Qt 5.5 as awesome as possible.

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