Nokia Qt SDK in Beta - cross platform development toolkit

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This week Nokia announced the launch and beta availability of the Nokia Qt SDK, a single 'easy-to-use' software development kit (SDK) for Symbian and MeeGo application development. The SDK is, effectively, an evolution of the Qt SDK, with specific focus on, and support for, Nokia's mobile devices. It provides a complete tool chain for creating, developing, testing, packaging and deploying Qt applications. The SDK is available for both Windows and Linux (Mac support is being investigated) and can be downloaded from the Forum Nokia website. Read on for more details.

The SDK is an important milestone for Nokia. It represents the next generation of Nokia's Qt based developer toolkit. It is intended to provide an end-to-end solution for looking to develop for Nokia's mobile devices. There is already support for development, testing and packaging and it is intended that the tool will tie into Nokia's Ovi Store distribution platform in the future. 

The SDK is based on Qt 4.6.2; this is built into the N900's PR 1.2 update (which is expected imminently); it will also ship with all Symbian^3 devices including the recently announced Nokia N8. However it can also be used to develop applications for early Symbian versions including both S60 5th Edition (Symbian^1) and S60 3rd Edition (3.1, 3.2.1, 3.2.2).

Sebastian Nystrom, vice president of Nokia Application and Service Frameworks, had this to say: "With the Nokia Qt SDK we are putting the power to create beautiful and high-performance applications in the hands of the developer. This beta SDK is a significant step in evolving our developer offering into a unified one that lets developers target millions of devices from the same codebase. In the first phase of the beta, we are focusing on testing the cross platform capabilities of the SDK with support for a broad, but initial set of API’s. Over the coming months we will add many more APIs. The beta program is in place for developers to share their experiences with us as we evolve this SDK to meet and exceed their productivity and application creation needs. We are now ready to share our excitement with the developer community!"

The main tool of the Nokia Qt SDK is a custom version of the Qt Creator IDE. This is an IDE tool which aims to streamline Qt development. It includes a C++ code editor, integrated GUI and layout designer, project build and management tools, visual debugger and an integrated, context sensitive help system.

From within Qt Creator you can run the simulator, which allows developers to see how their application will work on any Qt device. Different profiles can be loaded to test against different devices; there is support for Maemo, and all Symbian variants (touch and non-touch). The simulator also allows testing against both platform data (i.e. contacts, messages and other content) and device status (i.e. low battery and network availability). The simulator can also be set to create dynamic data (e.g. for device motion from accelerometer or intermittent network availability).

Nokia Qt SDK

Also included are the Qt Mobility APIs, which provide cross platform APIs for a number of common mobile functions (e.g. sending a text message). These are especially important as they make it more likely that a given mobile application can be coded in a cross platform manner. The 10 Mobility APIs are Service Framework, Bearer Management, Messaging, Contacts, Versit, Publish and Subscribe, Location, System Information, Sensors and Multimedia. However the APIs are expected to grow in scope and number over time. You can read more about the Qt Mobility APIs in this white paper.

Nokia Qt SDK

One of the nice features of the Nokia Qt SDK is the online installer, which means you only download and install what you need. Furthermore there's an automatic update mechanism built into the SDK, which will help developers keep their SDK update, especially during the beta period.

Developer testimonials video

This video video showcases a number of developers who have been using the Nokia Qt SDK. Further case study information is available on the Forum Nokia website for AccuWeather, Mobillizy Wikitude), Rovio (Angry Birds), Entetrainer (Speed Hero), Offscreen and Shazzam.

The video below is a summary video; there are longer version for each company available on the Nokia Conversations channel.