After many months of designing, coding, reviewing, testing and documenting, Qt 4.7.0 is finally ready for the big time. Although it’s a little more than nine months since Qt’s last feature release (4.6.0 on December 1, 2009), the seeds of some of the new stuff in 4.7 were sown much earlier. Indeed, many of the ideas behind the biggest new feature in Qt 4.7.0, Qt Quick, were born more than two years ago, not long after Qt 4.4 was released
As some of you might know, programming isn’t exactly my cup of coffee so I’ll do my best not to sound too much like an idiot running down the list of new features in this latest Qt release.
Qt Quick is the biggest new thing in this release. “Qt Quick, the Qt UI Creation Kit, enables the creation of dynamic user interfaces, easier and more effective than possible with existing UI technologies.” It consists of three core technologies: QML, QtDeclarative, and the venerable Qt Creator.
- QtDeclarative is a C++ library that provides the underlying engine, which translates the declarative description of the UI in QML into items on a QGraphicsScene. The library also provides APIs to bind custom C++ types and elements to QML, and to connect the QML UI with the underlying application logic written in C++.
- Qt Creator has been improved to support interactive editing of QML UIs through drag-and-drop. The text editor supports the QML syntax and provides authoring assistance such as auto-completion, error lookup, help lookup and easy preview of QML UI’s. The Qt Quick features in Qt Creator will be released with Qt Creator 2.1
A lot of work has gone into further improving QtWebKit and its performance. For instance, QGraphicsWebView has a new tiled backing store which should improve scrolling and zooming performance. There’s also a new feature in QtWebKit called frame flattening, which will resize frames to make sure no scrollbars are displayed. The performance improvements are paying off: compared to Qt 4.6.0, scrolling performance has improved 350%, page loading 16%, and CSS animation 31% thanks to accelerated compositing.
There’s a lot more stuff in there, so go take a look.