Home > Qt > Qt 4 Designer Reviewed Qt 4 Designer Reviewed Submitted by Johan Thelin 2005-06-01 Qt 24 Comments The last time the Qt 4 Resource Center had a look at Qt 4 Designer there where some problems. Now, a follow-up article tries a later version and finds that Designer has improved dramatically. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 24 Comments 2005-06-01 4:31 pm Definitly looks interesting! I especially love the new multi-window mode. I hated the previous look things always got buried and there was no really quick easy to access them. 2005-06-01 4:55 pm FYI, Qt Designer is not a Linux-only application, nor is Qt a Linux-only technology. 2005-06-01 5:00 pm We have decided not to upgrade with QT4 because the designer is unusable which is a great great shame. The developers need a lesson in user interface design. Why for example do I need to toogle to a different mode (using a function key!) in order to add events???? And when one has toggled, what a way to manage events, using some tedious non-intuitive GUI approach, why can’t I just click on the widget and it takes me to the code stub? A GUI designer is meant to increase one’s productivity not slow it down, with QT4 designer it’s almost faster to code by hand. 2005-06-01 5:06 pm As far as I know it was ment to be a designer for Guis Not a Gui Designer for coders 2005-06-01 5:13 pm >As far as I know it was ment to be a designer for Guis Not a >Gui Designer for coders So is the idea that a ‘creative’ gui design will use the QT4 designer and then hand the files over to a coder? 2005-06-01 5:14 pm Very LOVELY Not only it looks very clean and professional, but it is so usable too! For example the properties arrangement (by inheritance) helps you a lot doing your stuff. Go go Trolltech! 2005-06-01 6:05 pm > We have decided not to upgrade with QT4 because the designer That’s dumb. Report it or fix it for yourself, you have the source. 2005-06-01 6:38 pm In general I’ve found it faster and easier to just write up the gui displays by hand. It doesn’t take so much time, is easy to hack on later and isn’t subject to version incompatibilities with new releases of the designer. One of the original innovations of Qt was its ease of building and laying out guis via code. It’s nice you aren’t forced to use a gui designer. 2005-06-01 6:42 pm >As far as I know it was ment to be a designer for Guis Not a >Gui Designer for coders So is the idea that a ‘creative’ gui design will use the QT4 designer and then hand the files over to a coder? Yes. Or the programmer will do both, of course, but on separate ways. It might look a bit annoying if you’re used to the VS.Net way, but it has some advtanges. On the VS.Net style, for example, it’s very tempting to start mixing business layer and presentation layer code. Another good thing is that you can get the XML generated by the GUI designer and use it on many different IDEs, so it’s naturally more portable. 2005-06-01 7:32 pm > We have decided not to upgrade with QT4 because the designer is unusable which is a great great shame. Now, you can use the connections’ window and avoid the mode switching… 2005-06-01 8:09 pm The first screenshot looks pretty much like GLADE Other than that, the thing looks WAY better than the latest 3.X version. 2005-06-01 8:44 pm one word – UGLY So it looks good then? Honestly, I develop with Windows all the time and I think Qt Designer and the screenshots there look fantastic. 2005-06-01 9:36 pm > We have decided not to upgrade with QT4 because the designer is unusable which is a great great shame. >>Now, you can use the connections’ window and avoid the mode >>switching… Ok, I havn’t looked at the latest build, we will have to try it out. Unfortunately we’ve been spoilt for GUI development will IDEs like VS.NET and Delphi which are incredibly productive for GUI development. We tried things SWT desginer, InteliJ and JBuilder but none of them are as productive. 2005-06-01 9:53 pm Actually the two step approach is how I work. I get sent a web-page design in Front Page or Dream Weaver or even a Photoshop image and then from that I code it up in standard compliant code. 2005-06-02 1:31 am > We have decided not to upgrade with QT4 because the designer >That’s dumb. Report it or fix it for yourself, you have the >source. You are joking of course? Do you know how much it would cost to fix someone elses code? I figure it would take a number of months or so to change how qt designer works (it’s a deep change, requiring testing, docs etc), at 80 per hour for a 40 hour week that amounts to about 40 thousand dollars. I always suspected that OSS people has not sense of economics. 2005-06-02 2:53 am Well, snowflake, I see that you are used to Delphi. I am too, because I use it since 1996 until now… 😀 After all these years, I am very confortable with it and I can say for sure that it made more harm than good. Why? Because whenever I need something to happen, I double click the event and code what I need. This is not so good like it seems to be. By doing it I don’t think about the code in the overall point of view. But it is so much easy that I almost allways do it this way. It does not enfoce the use of good software engineering. Some months ago I started to learn a little about design patterns and saw that Delphi makes too easy to be lazy. A good program is never easy to make and need a lot of thinking before it is event started to code. Of course that is possible to code in layers (the presentation layer put apart from the core layer) with Delphi. But the way that Java and C++ go is to enforce this good pratice. You have to make the objects that comply your rules and the presentation talks to those rule objects. The rule objects don’t know if they are being used to display or to calculate some other value. Who need to know this is the presentation, wich can be a web or a desktop app. It doesn’t matter. All this to get to the conclusion that QT Designer is not a RAD and is good that it is this way. It encourages you to think before you act. Of course, it is harder, and I am having a really hard time changing my mind. But, above all, I am sure it will worth the results. Well, I apologize for any errors I made. English is not my first language. 2005-06-02 5:45 am For example, using Glade is a living hell. But then again, so is using GTK+. Generally I just use Glade to get a rough idea of what I want my window to look like, then I generate code and hack it until it looks right. Which is a very sad way to go about things. Glade can generate an xml file which you can actually load up in an application and use, but I’ve never seen anyone do this. That’s the way guis should be done: with an interchange format. So if there’s some bug reported like “button is too big and overlaps text field” you can just load the xml into the designer, fix it and you’re done. 2005-06-02 6:24 am I mean they say they want to gain mindshare by releasing a GPL version for Windows but then they wont include support for Visual Studio. How do they expect any windows developer to even consider buying their commercial license when they can’t even use their development tools? The Qt 4 designer looks a lot like Glade, Forget Trolltech, I’ll stick with wxWidgets. 2005-06-02 6:57 am You were also joking evaluating a product line on a development version of its first release, right? 2005-06-02 10:42 am “I mean they say they want to gain mindshare by releasing a GPL version for Windows but then they wont include support for Visual Studio. How do they expect any windows developer to even consider buying their commercial license when they can’t even use their development tools? The Qt 4 designer looks a lot like Glade, Forget Trolltech, I’ll stick with wxWidgets.” 1. The gpl version will not “officially” support Visual Studio. What does that mean? Well, it probably will run with Visual Studio, but don’t expect support from Trolltech. 2. The commercial version officially supports Visual Studio. 3. Designer looks like it did before, except without a code editor. 4. Designer is meant to be embedded into IDE’s, but it can also be used as a standalone program. 2005-06-02 5:23 pm “1. The gpl version will not “officially” support Visual Studio. What does that mean? Well, it probably will run with Visual Studio, but don’t expect support from Trolltech.” Probably run? Like if we’re lucky then it will magically run with Visual Studio? Doesn’t sound too reassuring. “2. The commercial version officially supports Visual Studio.” Well what do you mean by support? didn’t you say the GPL will “probably” run with VS? It sounds to me that Trolltech will puposely hinder the GPL version to NOT run with VS, otherwise if the commercial version will run with VS then why say the GPL won’t?” “3. Designer looks like it did before, except without a code editor.” I think it looks worse. But thats a matter of taste. “4. Designer is meant to be embedded into IDE’s, but it can also be used as a standalone program.” Its not just the designer that trolltech says wont be supported in the gpl version , its every other tool they provide. Sorry but going back and forth between various tools in order to do something that you should be able to do in any modern IDE like VS, thats OK for coders who are used to his sort of thing but certainly doesnt exploit the advantages of a good integrated system. 2005-06-02 5:36 pm Quote: “Probably run?” Ok, bad choice of words. It WILL run with VS. But you can not get help from Trolltech if you have problems. To have that, you have to get the commercial edition. There is no difference between the GPL and Non GPL version, except that the commercial version might have things like ssl and a few other classes. For the rest, they are identical. Or do you really think they will develop 2 completely seperate libraries? I don’t think so. Designer is NOT an IDE, and it NEVER WAS !!! It’s main purpose is to embed it into an IDE like VS or KDevelop. btw: What looks worse? Are the colors not right? The fonts ugly? And what other tools are you talking about? The translation tool? It’s pretty much the same. 2005-06-02 8:36 pm “3. Designer looks like it did before, except without a code editor.” I think it looks worse. But thats a matter of taste. OK, Angel, just humour me here. Here’s a snapshot from Qt3 Designer: http://doc.trolltech.com/3.3/designer-manual-1.html and here’s a snapshot from Qt4 Designer (in MDI mode). http://qt4.digitalfanatics.org/articles/images/des2/des2-2.png Care to elaborate on how it look worse to you? I’m strangely curious… 2005-06-03 3:55 am “It WILL run with VS. But you can not get help from Trolltech if you have problems. To have that, you have to get the commercial edition. ” Really? Going from what Trolltech has publicly stated I had the impression that it wouldn’t run, period. If its true what you say then great and they need to fire whoever manages their publicity. Yes I know the differences from the commercial and GPL versions. And yes I know Designer is not and IDE, Did I ever say it was? To both of you, I take back the “looks worse comment”, It was based on screens of Qt3 Designer,the only version I have used is the first beta of Qt4 designer. I just dont feel comfortable with it, but since I posted that message I have downloaded and installed the latest beta and Im giving it more use. But for the record I never said it was UGLY or BAD. The only BAD thing I can say about Qt is the GPL license but thats another pickle altogether.