Digia recently made Qt 5.3 available to developers through its web site. Qt - pronounced "cute" - is a cross-platform application and user interface development framework. It's chief claim to fame is that it allows developers to reuse their code to target multiple desktop, embedded, and mobile operating systems at the same time. The latest update targets Android, iOS, and Windows with a handful of helpful APIs. Let's take a look.
The Qt Positioning API adds GPS support for both Android and iOS devices. With it, developers can add location-based services to their Android and iPhone apps. The Qt Purchasing API allows developers to add in-app purchasing features to their Android and iOS apps, as well. Digia says this functionality will be extended to WinRT and Windows Phone down the road, in addition to the Mac OS X App Store. A new Bluetooth API brings direct support for the short-range wireless technology to Android apps.
Qt 5.3 takes aim at cloud services with a WebSockets API and managed WebSockets backend service. Digia says its cloud services lets developers connect their apps to cloud-based services, allowing for real-time, bi-directional communication between the app and the server. It supports chat and notifications, too.
Enterprise apps, too, will see some benefit from Qt 5.3. It includes a professional build tool called the Qt Quick Compiler, which will let developers compile QML files into their apps. According to Digia, the compile protects IP of the QML source, while also improving load times and performance by pre-parsing QML files. Digia claims using the Qt Quick Compiler improves app startup times by 90%. App writers will be pleased to note that Qt Enterprise 5.3 adds support for QNX Neutrino 6.6. This should let developers more easily create apps for automotive, automation, healthcare, and in-flight entertainment industries.
Non-API improvements to Qt 5.3 include improved documentation, new coding examples, and the QQuickWidget, which is meant to ease the migration of Qt Widget-based applications to Qt 5. It allows for hybrid development with both C++ Qt Widgets and Qt Quick UI technology from within the same app. Last, the Qt Quick Controls have been updated to include calendar control, native dialogs, and styling for the menu bar.