Digia rolls out Qt 5.1 with Android and iOS support

The software development toolkit Qt brings support for Android and iOS mobile apps.

This week, the team at Digia rolled out the first alpha release of Qt 5.1.

Side note: You may know "Qt" as the framework powering KDE.

Why is this so interesting? Why, with so much cool tech news going on in the world, should we care about an alpha release of a Point-One version of a software development toolkit?

Two words: "Android and iOS." (Note: I'm not counting "and" as a word here... I mean, who does, right? Stupid "and.")

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Qt (pronounced "cute"...don't get it wrong or you get in trouble...trust me) version 5.1 is only slated to have the first round of support for Android and iOS, with full support coming in 5.2. But the goal is to make 5.1 completely usable for building complete, shippable apps for both mobile platforms.

That means Qt can now be used to build native, smooth applications on Linux, Windows, Android, iOS, MacOS X and even BlackBerry 10, all with an excellent integrated development environment – QtCreator. How cool is that? I'll answer for you, because I am typing these words and you are not actually here talking to me while I am writing this: it is very cool.

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Coming with version 5.1 is also something called "Qt Quick Controls" - which is a set of nice, reusable user interface controls. Currently, it is focused on Desktop applications, but is expanding to add touchscreen-specific features.

And, importantly, this release also brings "Qt Sensors" into play. "Qt Sensors" are pretty much exactly what they sound like - access to hardware sensors on devices where they are available, with built-in motion gesture recognition. Definitely a big plus for Android and iOS applications.

I've always had a love/hate relationship with Qt myself. It is, without any doubt, an excellent framework with some amazing features. Stuff that many other frameworks only dream about. But, and here's been the problem for me in the past...it has been, primarily, an SDK focused on C++ development. Now, I have nothing against C++. But, after having coded in C++ for a living for a number of years, I just would rather utilize different languages.

Luckily, Qt now includes excellent support for QML (aka "Qt Meta Language") which allows complete applications to be built in a more declarative style and utilize JavaScript. Which is just quite a bit of fun.

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