New Qt and Qt Creator releases!
I haven't written here about Qt before, but I've been playing with it for the last four or five months. I saw the announcement yesterday about Qt 4.6 and a new version of Qt Creator (the IDE for Qt), and I had to try it. And I have to say, it is excellent.
Until yesterday at five pm, I was paid to be a full time Delphi developer. Delphi was released as Borland's answer to Visual Basic. It was for rapidly designing visual applications, and in that role it was a wild success. Delphi is vastly superior to any version of Visual Basic. You can actually do real work with Delphi, and it's really easy to make nice-looking applications using Delphi, without all the hoop-jumping that you need to do for Visual Basic.
The problem is that Visual Basic has been dead for a long time, and Delphi never caught on to the fact that it needed to compete against the newer generation of tools, like VB.NET and C#. What that's meant is that if you had real work to get done, and you weren't willing to commit to the .NET runtime, you needed to switch to a language like C++, or be stuck in the 1990s if you stayed with Delphi.
And the beauty is, C++ has made great strides towards being easier to use. Cross-platform libraries like wxWidgets and Qt made it easy to write apps that could be built on multiple systems without changing the source code. The open nature of C++ means that the tools keep up to date, and you can switch to another vendor if your current vendor goes under or stops updating their tools (I'm looking at you, CodeGear).
Two weeks ago, with a gigantic deadline looming, my work machine died. We rebuilt it, but the new machine had Windows 7 (it was the only media we had with an actual license for it). And the old Delphi doesn't work on it. The upshot was that the only applications that worked were ones where I broke the rules and built them with C++, because it was trivially easy to download updated compilers, rebuild my libraries, and then my apps. It took me about half an hour to get updated compilers, IDE and GUI libraries installed and built, which is a few hours less than it took me to figure out the broken Delphi situation.
So that diatribe aside, let me heartily recommend Qt 4.6 and Qt Creator 1.3. While my replacement was trying to build a music player application with Delphi and little success, I downloaded the latest Qt Creator, read up on Phonon, and had a working music player up and running. That's all I really needed to know to decide what the real Rapid Application Development tool was.
You can read about the new version and download it from Nokia.