Qt Installer Framework 4.0 Released
November 04, 2020 by Tino Pyssysalo | Comments
We are proud to announce that Qt Installer Framework 4.0 has been released. At the same time, we have released Qt Online Installer and Qt Maintenance tool 4.0, which have been updated to use the new IFW version as well.
The main objectives for the new major release included:
- Improved command line interface experience
- More intuitive installation with the GUI - especially for new users
- Improved package meta-data download speed
- Package manager like installation experience for source components
Look at ChangeLog for all the details.
Command line interface
We introduced a proper command line interface support to make installation scripts unnecessary and to improve headless installation experience. The available CLI commands and options are listed in the wiki or users may study them using the CLI itself.
We introduced a default installation option for users, who do want to pick up each and every component one by one in the CLI or GUI. Default installation for all the components marked as 'Default' and 'ForcedInstallation' can be done with a simple command like
installer(.exe) install --root C:\Qt\InstallFolder
Many users have requested for a support for unattended installation. Qt Account login credentials can be now replaced by saving the JWT token to an environment variable QT_INSTALLER_JWT_TOKEN. There is no need to pass the credentials using the command line switches anymore. If qtaccount.ini is found from cache that will be used making it unnecessary to enter the credentials every time the installer is launched.
Unattended installation experience can be further improved by letting the user create and download temporary, revokable CWT tokens in Qt Account. This is something we plan to start supporting in the future.
More intuitive installation with the GUI
Quite a few changes were done to improve the user experience with the GUI installation. A sidebar was added to guide especially new users through the installation process. More explaining texts have been added and wordings improved in many places. An option to add images to be shown during the time-consuming package download and installation phase was added to the Installer Framework.
Meta-data download speed improvements
The meta-data download time has reduced more than 50% from the 3.2.x versions. Due to the huge number of components in Windows, downloading all the meta-data can still take a few dozens of seconds - depending on the network throughput obviously. We will continue working with further performance improvements in the forthcoming versions.
Package management and Qt Online Installer
There have been discussions, whether Qt could provide a more package manager -like behaviour to manage Qt and other components. We ended up into a hybrid solution, where Qt Online Installer is still used to download download both binary and source components. The source components and their dependencies will be built with Conan package manager, when the components are used as part of a development project. This simplifies the release process, as there is no need to create binary packages for each Qt version and target platform. It will improve the package download speed as well as only the source download is needed. In Qt 6.0, three libraries have been planned to be distributed in source format only. More information available in this blog post.
This work will continue as well and the next step is to study, how we could use Conan servers to distribute Qt components.
Where to get the IFW and the installer?
Precompiled binaries for the Installer Framework can be downloaded from Qt Online Installer, sources and binaries can be found also in Qt Download page (open source) or in Qt Account for commercial users. The latest documentation can also be found online.
The new installer is available in Qt Downloads and in Qt Account for commercial users. Maintenance Tool is updated using the existing installation(s) Maintenance Tool.
Peek to the future
The work is not complete. As already mentioned, there are numerous items in the backlog to be implemented in the forthcoming releases. One of the cooking changes will be the user interface upgrade. The new UI will look something like below.
We want to thank all the people, who have contributed to this release - developers, reviewers, testers, and everyone, who has provided feedback to us. Your effort is highly appreciated.
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