Qt is a comprehensive C++ application development framework for creating cross-platform GUI applications using a "write once, compile anywhere" approach. Qt lets programmers use a single source tree for applications that will run on Windows 98 to Vista, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, and many other versions of Unix with X11. The Qt libraries and tools are also part of Qt/Embedded Linux, a product that provides its own window system on top of embedded Linux.
The purpose of this book is to teach you how to write GUI programs using Qt 4. The book starts with "Hello Qt" and quickly progresses to more advanced topics, such as creating custom widgets and providing drag and drop. The text is complemented by a set of examples that you can download from the book's web site, http://www.informit.com/title/0132354160. Appendix A explains how to download and install the software, including a free C++ compiler for those using Windows.
The book is divided into three parts. Part I covers all the fundamental concepts and practices necessary for programming GUI applications using Qt. Knowledge of this part alone is sufficient to write useful GUI applications. Part II covers central Qt topics in greater depth, and Part III provides more specialized and advanced material. You can read the chapters of Parts II and III in any order, but they assume familiarity with the contents of Part I. The book also includes several appendixes, with Appendix B showing how to build Qt applications and Appendix C introducing Qt Jambi, the Java version of Qt.
The first Qt 4 edition of the book built on the Qt 3 edition, although it was completely revised to reflect good idiomatic Qt 4 programming techniques and included new chapters on Qt 4's model/view architecture, the new plugin framework, embedded programming with Qt/Embedded Linux, and a new appendix. This extended and revised second edition has been thoroughly updated to take advantage of features introduced in Qt versions 4.2 and 4.3, and includes new chapters on look and feel customization and application scripting as well as two new appendixes. The original graphics chapter has been split into separate 2D and 3D chapters, which between them now cover the new graphics view classes and QPainter's OpenGL back-end. In addition, much new material has been added to the database, XML, and embedded programming chapters.
This edition, like its predecessors, emphasizes explaining Qt programming and providing realistic examples, rather than simply rehashing or summarizing Qt's extensive online documentation. Because the book teaches solid Qt 4 programming principles and practices, readers will easily be able to learn the new Qt modules that come out in Qt 4.4, Qt 4.5, and later Qt 4.x versions. If you are using one of these later versions, be sure to read the "What's New in Qt 4.x" documents in the reference documentation to get an overview of the new features that are available.
We have written the book with the assumption that you have a basic knowledge of C++, Java, or C#. The code examples use a subset of C++, avoiding many C++ features that are rarely needed when programming Qt. In the few places where a more advanced C++ construct is unavoidable, it is explained as it is used. If you already know Java or C# but have little or no experience with C++, we recommend that you begin by reading Appendix D, which provides sufficient introduction to C++ to be able to use this book. For a more thorough introduction to object-oriented programming in C++, we recommend C++ How to Program by P. J. Deitel and H. M. Deitel (Prentice Hall, 2007), and C++ Primer by Stanley B. Lippman, Jos¿Lajoie, and Barbara E. Moo (Addison-Wesley, 2005).
Qt made its reputation as a cross-platform framework, but thanks to its intuitive and powerful API, many organizations use Qt for single-platform development. Adobe Photoshop Album is just one example of a mass-market Windows application written in Qt. Many sophisticated software systems in vertical markets, such as 3D animation tools, digital film processing, electronic design automation (for chip design), oil and gas exploration, financial services, and medical imaging, are built with Qt. If you are making a living with a successful Windows product written in Qt, you can easily create new markets in the Mac OS X and Linux worlds simply by recompiling.
Qt is available under various licenses. If you want to build commercial applica-tions, you must buy a commercial Qt license from Trolltech; if you want to build open source programs, you can use the open source (GPL) edition. The K Desktop Environment (KDE) and most of the open source applications that go with it are built on Qt.
In addition to Qt's hundreds of classes, there are add-ons that extend Qt's scope and power. Some of these products, like the Qt Solutions components, are avail-able from Trolltech, while others are supplied by other companies and by the open source community; see http://www.trolltech.com/products/qt/3rdparty/ for a list of available add-ons. Trolltech's developers also have their own web site, Trolltech Labs (http://labs.trolltech.com/), where they put unofficial code that they have written because it is fun, interesting, or useful. Qt has a well-established and thriving user community that uses the qt-interest mailing list; see http://lists.trolltech.com/ for details.
If you spot errors in the book, have suggestions for the next edition, or want to give us feedback, we would be delighted to hear from you. You can reach us at email@example.com. The errata will be placed on the book's web site http://www.informit.com/title/0132354160.