I finally got myself to test the quite new Qt Creator 2.0.1 on Windows and on Linux – and I do have to say that I am impressed. It seems that sooner than end of the next decade we have a quite decent and unified development environment for all the different Nokia Qt-platforms / devices.
As I knew from previous tests, all distributions and environments are not equal, so I downloaded both Windows and Linux versions and started to test them. Somehow I did not notice the ”Getting Started”-section on the Nokia Qt-site — even though it is one of the main sections of the site.
Intuitively I went around Qt Creator and did almost the same things as the ”Getting Started”-tutorial instructs you to do, except deploy to Symbian phone – as I do not have one. Deploying to N900 worked really well, as soon as I understood that I needed to have MAD-developer installed on my N900. Development, compilation and deployment to Symbian was available only on Windows-platform – as the toolchain is not yet portable, though people have — according to some googling – created workarounds to be able to do Symbian software with Qt Creator in linux too.
But all and all even though I am not a fan of programming in C or c++, seeing Qt Creator’s new version, tinkering with live demos and deploying them to my phone was a good experience. Qt Creator seems to take unnecessary yak shaving out of the way and allows developers to focus on building applications on top of Qt, it actually also seemed that even Symbian toolchain had been constrained into sensible defaults – allowing you to quite easily to self sign and even package your software with smart installer.. though based on documentation you still needed to do that on the command line, instead of having it all in the Qt Creator GUI and templates.
But yeah. Qt and Nokia is moving into better direction and gaining competition. While X Code and Android SDK have had similar and better ease of use from the start, Nokia Qt is coming from behind and slowly gaining them.
All the efforts put in Qt Creator make the barriers of entry smaller and can get more developers to start and try to do development also on new Nokia phones, even though iPhones and Android Phones offer much more homogenous ecosystem with equally powerful devices and capabilities all around. With Qt Nokia offers reach throughout their top of the line devices and few other high end touch enabled devices. Based on Forum Nokia’s Device Specifications ( http://www.forum.nokia.com/Devices/ ) , there are 15 or so devices which are capable to run Qt-applications. However it seems quite hard to find ( read: not found via few simple google requests ) sales numbers to these phones to understand the breadth and depth of market, compared to older less capable Symbian devices and compared to main competitors: Android and iOS.
Even though Nokia would be these days the hype-underdog in smartphones and mobile computers, they can still surprise all of us. They have been doing lots of smart things in the background – and though sometimes progress seems slow – they are moving, improving and adapting. Huge legacy of numerous different APIs and development environments, including numerous ’own’ IDEs must have been a drag – but these days also the vision and message from Nokia is clearer than in a long time.
So Kudos to people at Nokia and keep up the great work!
The game is still on.