It is my pleasure to announce that we have released Qt 5.6 Beta today, with binary installers available for convenient installation. Qt 5.6 will be a long-term supported release as we announced at the Qt World Summit in the beginning of October. This means Qt 5.6 support for 3 years along with additional patch-level releases. Let's take a look at some of the highlights of the forthcoming release!
Qt 5.0.0 was released 3 years ago and we have done a huge amount of improvements since then. Therefore, we believe that it is time to create a Long-Term Supported (LTS) release with Qt 5.6. Our previous LTS release was Qt 4.8, which is running out of support in December. Most of you have already upgraded to Qt 5, but if you still have active projects in Qt 4 we encourage to migrate now.
Qt 5.6 will be supported for 3 years, after which additional extended support can be purchased. During this time period, even though following Qt releases (5.7 onwards) are already out, Qt 5.6 will receive parallel patch releases bringing bug fixes and security updates. We will also aim to provide support for new operating system and compiler versions when possible, however this can not be fully guaranteed even for an LTS release. Furthermore, it should be noted that the deprecated modules and technology preview modules are not subject to the LTS.
To build a foundation for the LTS Qt 5 release, we have been developing our continuous integration and releasing infrastructure. After all, as Qt is released and thoroughly tested on a multitude of different platforms and configurations, there is quite an infrastructure behind making all this possible. A new CI system, called Coin for COntinuos INtegration, has been developed and taken into use with Qt 5.6.
With the new CI system we are also using the binaries produced during the CI run in the Qt release packages. This prevents us from having to make new builds for packaging, saving time on integrating changes and creating new packages. In addition to time, the new approach saves a significant amount of CPU cycles in our cluster. Qt 5.6 Beta is the first release with CI produced binaries, so we ask that you please report all issues you encounter. This will help us fine-tune the system for RC and final.
One of the biggest new features coming with Qt 5.6 is a fully rewritten cross-platform High-DPI support. It allows applications written for standard resolution displays to be automatically scaled when shown on high-pixel-density displays. Using the new High-DPI support, Qt automatically adjusts font sizes, window elements, icons and graphics in general in a Qt application based on the pixel density. High-DPI support allows applications to adjust automatically even when the user moves a window from one display to another with a different pixel density.
Windows 10 Fully Supported + VS2015 binaries!
We have supported Windows 10 to a large extent already with Qt 5.5 and will now provide full support to both the win32 and WinRT APIs of Windows 10. Qt applications run on Windows 10 desktop PC's, tablets and phones - and can be distributed via the Windows Store. For native Windows win32 applications moving to Windows 10 and the new WinRT API means a major rewrite, but with Qt is is a matter of simply compiling your application for WinRT.
In addition to Windows 10 support, Qt 5.6 also provided pre-built binaries for the Visual Studio 2015 compiler. Unfortunately, VS Add-In no longer works with VS2015, but we'll update the VS Add-In for users of earlier Visual Studio versions with the release of Qt 5.6.0.
We have removed WebKit and Qt Quick 1 from Qt 5.6 release content. The source code is still available in the repositories, but these are not packaged with Qt 5.6 any more. Qt Script remains deprecated, but is included in Qt 5.6 release.
Qt 5.6 Timeline
With the Beta release now out, we hope to get a lot of feedback from you and will polish Qt 5.6 further towards the Release Candidate and 5.6.0 final in the coming months. We are targeting to release the Qt 5.6.0 LTS final in Q1/2016.