I’m happy to announce that Qt 5.3 has been released. The main focus for this release was performance, stability and usability. Nevertheless, Qt 5.3 has also gotten a fair amount of new features that help make developers’ lives easier.
Qt 5.2 has been a tremendous success, having been downloaded over 1 million times. With Qt 5.2, we delivered on our promise that Qt is a true cross-platform framework by adding Android and iOS support. Qt 5.3 is building on that foundation, and adding to it.
Focus on stability and usability
With Qt 5.1 and 5.2, we’ve received a lot of feedback from users. With Qt 5.3, we’ve used that feedback and put a lot of effort into polishing the product and enhancing the overall quality and user experience across all platforms.
Qt 5.3 contains a lot of improvements and fixes for the desktop platforms. We focused quite a lot on fixing some of the desktop issues reported. Most importantly, a lot of compatibility issues with OS X have been addresses. Qt 5.3 also adds binary packages for Visual Studio 2013.
The Qt 5.2 packages still had a couple of rough edges, especially the first-time user experience for iOS and Android wasn’t as good as it could have been. With Qt 5.3, most of these issues are now resolved. We have also conducted a series of usability tests for installation and first-time usage of Qt and have fixed most of the issues found.
We have, for example, added a convenient installer wizard for Android. The wizard will check whether the required native build tools are installed, and provide a guided installation for them if they are missing.
We have also done a lot of work to improve and better structure our documentation and examples.
Support for new platforms
Qt for Windows Runtime Beta
I’m very happy to see that the Qt for Windows Runtime port has now reached the status of a supported beta. Qt for Windows Runtime does not only cover Windows Phone, but also tablets and desktop PCs. In more detail, you can use it to target:
• All PCs and tablets running Windows 8.1, using the Modern UI
• WinRT tablets on ARM, such as the Microsoft Surface
• Mobile phones running Windows Phone 8
Applications developed with Qt for Windows Runtime, can be deployed to the Windows Store/Windows Phone Store and purchased through it.
Most of the Qt modules are supported and the tooling is already integrated into Qt Creator IDE allowing you to directly deploy to devices, very much like with Qt for Android. Check out the separate blog post with video for more details.
Official support for QNX 6.6 and QNX 6.5 SP1
Qt 5.3 also adds official support from Digia for the latest version of QNX Neutrino 6.6, providing pre-built Qt Enterprise binaries for it. If you would like to get a 30-day evaluation of Qt Enterprise for QNX , please contact Digia. QNX Neutrino 6.5 SP1 is also supported using the separately distributed QNX Screen component.
Even with the focus on stability, the developers working on Qt have found some time to implement some cool new features for this release. Below are some highlights.
Qt 5.0 through Qt 5.2, has shown a strong division between Qt Widget UIs and Qt Quick UIs —you had to choose which one to use. With the new QQuickWidget class in Qt 5.3, we are now bridging that gap. It is a QWidget that allows you to embed Qt Quick contents into a QWidget- based application. This helps all developers who want to create parts of the UI using Qt Quick while keeping their existing Qt Widget based UI un-touched.
Compiled Qt Quick
With Qt 5.3 we are introducing a first look at a new professional build tool available under the Qt Enterprise version, Qt Quick Compiler. The compiler takes QML files and compiles them to native code showing a big difference in performance on operating systems where one cannot use a Just in time compiler, namely iOS and WinRT.
The compiler is also very useful to improve load times of QML user interfaces, as all of the parsing work now happens at compile time. This is especially interesting for startup times of applications and boot times of devices using Qt Quick for the user interface.
Finally, the compiler helps keep your source code safe, as it is now no longer necessary to ship the sources of your QML-based application.
Check out the documentation for more details.
An important part of creating mobile consumer applications is to allow for in-app purchases within the application. To make this very easy for Qt-based applications, we have now added the Qt Purchasing API. The Qt Purchasing API is an Qt Enterprise add-on and currently supported for Android (Google Play) and iOS (App Store). For the future, we are planning to extend it to support WinRT (Windows Store / Windows Phone Store) and likely also towards desktop marketplaces, such as the Mac App store. Adding in-app advertising is also a possible extension.
Websockets and cloud
To complement, Qt Cloud Services now offers the Managed WebSockets solution to easily setup a server that can be used for things like broadcasting push notifications, implementing chat features or multiuser environments. You can read more about Qt Cloud Services and Managed WebSockets from qtcloudservices.com.
The Qt Quick Controls have also received new features such as a Calendar control, native dialogs and styling support for the menu bar.
Qt 5.3 also includes many improvements and enhancement for the Qt Print Support module, offering much better support for printing.
Qt Creator 3.1.1 has been released today and bundled into the Qt 5.3 installers. It includes important bug fixes to the earlier released Qt Creator 3.1.0, including a fix to performance regression with the Issues pane. For details, check the Qt Creator 3.1.1 change log.
We have also released Visual Studio Add-In 1.2.3 that brings support for VS2013 and includes Qt 5.3 documentation. For full list of changes, please check Qt VS Add-In changes-1.2.3.
New monthly subscription plan
Since Qt 5.2, it has been possible to buy Qt Enterprise for the mobile operating systems through our webshop. With Qt 5.3, this channel now also covers all desktop platforms. Through the web shop, you can now buy Qt Enterprise for application development targeting desktop and mobile platforms with a convenient monthly subscription. It includes all the Qt libraries, Qt Creator Enterprise, commercial licensing, support and a self-service customer portal via a pay-as-you-go model. Check it out here.
I hope that Qt 5.3 will meet your needs. It has taken a lot of work to make it happen, and I’d like to thank everybody who contributed to it. We hope you like it just as much as we enjoyed developing it. Try or buy Qt Enterprise 5.3 from qt.digia.com/Try-Buy or download the open source version from qt-project.org.