One code – many platforms, or get two apps for the price of one. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it is true. If you’re still searching for a solution to get your software running on various devices with different operating systems with slight or no change in code, consider Qt (“cute”), a cross-platform application framework . Software developed on Qt can run on Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, QNX, BlackBerry, and a number of other platforms.
Qt is one of the most popular cross-platform app development technologies around. The story of this framework laid out on the official website of Qt community is quite simple. With no further details, the community mentions: “In the summer of 1990, Haavard [Nord] and Eirik [Chambe-Eng] were working together on a C++ database application for ultrasound images. The system needed to be able to run with a GUI on Unix, Macintosh, and Windows. One day that summer, Haavard and Eirik went outside to enjoy the sunshine, and as they sat on a park bench, Haavard said, “We need an object-oriented display system.”
That was the point where the resulting discussion “laid the intellectual foundation” for the GUI framework, which was first released in 1995.
What is Qt?
To start with, Qt is a cross-platform framework, written in C++, designed for developing applications for desktop and mobile devices, as well as embedded systems. Qt combines a cross-platform software development application, graphical user interface (GUI) framework, and a toolkit for developing apps using C++ standard.
This object-oriented cross-platform framework comes with Qt Creator – its own Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that runs on Linux, Android, Windows, OS X, and other systems. It provides developers with all the functionality required to build cross-platform software. Considering the fact that Qt uses C++, it is entirely object-oriented and supports extensible and true component programming. GUIs can be written directly in C++ using its Widgets module, as it comes with Qt Designer – an interactive graphical tool that is integrated into Qt Creator.
Sure thing, it’s not mandatory to use IDE. But the main features of Qt Creator are worth mentioning:
- integrated help system
- intelligent code completion
- profiler integration
- syntax highlighting
- debugger and integration for all major version control systems
Advantages of using Qt app development platform
- Qt app development allows porting an application to multiple platforms through simple recompilation
- It increases development productivity and decreases time to market, making applications future-proof
- Developing with Qt simplifies technology strategy and, ultimately, reduces costs
- Saves time, through one code deployed across all screens and platforms
- Coding in C++ gives developer a greater control and the possibility to work with numerous existing libraries
- The code is compiled to native binaries that run at full speed (no need to use a virtual machine)
- Qt also has a very capable IDE in Qt Creator which works on all platforms and gives the same development environment wherever it’s used
- Qt cross-platform software development makes it easy to create intuitive experiences for all users, no matter what system is used
Disadvantages of using Qt app development network
- User Experience (UX) is far from being smooth. On desktop platforms, it is easier to develop native user experience because there are more common patterns and widgets, meanwhile, mobile UX is different and there is lack of platform-specific things.
- When using QT GUI components by default, you do not get an ideal look and feel of iOS and Android
- The startup time becomes much longer without Qt Quick Compiler that comes with Qt Commercial version only
- There is no official Qt support for mainstream Ad Networks (only 3rd party libraries, if found)
- QObject and QWidget are not thread-safe
C++ is quite a complicated language due to its huge syntax, manual memory management, and compatibility issues. Nevertheless, in the hands of an experienced Qt software development company, it can be quite efficient and productive.
Qt success stories
Because Qt technology provides modules for cross-platform application development in various areas, the Qt company itself has an impressive portfolio.
Pixellu’s SmartAlbums is another diamond in Qt use cases treasury. It is a success story of a small Washington startup. The company has built a long-awaited wedding album design app with the help of Vakoms. And now, has turned into a multi-million dollar company.
Qt app development platform is classified as a widget toolkit because its structure allows the creation of simple software with native-looking Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) using C++ standard.
This effective framework saves developers time and reduces the costs of product owners. It allows writing and maintaining a single code base on? whatever platform and then compiling it on any other platform you decide to use.