Qt Creator is an integrated development environment (IDE) that provides you with tools to design and develop complex applications for multiple desktop and mobile platforms.
One of the major advantages of Qt Creator is that it allows a team of developers to share a project across different development platforms with a common tool for development and debugging.
But why do you need projects? To be able to build and run applications, Qt Creator needs the same information as a compiler would need. This information is specified in the project build and run settings.
Creating a project allows you to:
- Group files together
- Add custom build steps
- Include forms and resource files
- Specify settings for running applications
You can either create a project from scratch or import an existing project. Qt Creator generates all the necessary files, depending on the type of project you create. For example, if you choose to create a graphical user interface (GUI) application, Qt Creator generates an empty .ui file that you can modify with the integrated Qt Designer.
Qt Creator is integrated with cross-platform systems for build automation: qmake and CMake. In addition, you can import generic projects that do not use qmake or CMake, and specify that Qt Creator ignores your build system.
Qt Creator comes with a code editor and an integrated Qt Designer for designing and building graphical user interfaces (GUIs) from Qt widgets.
As an IDE, Qt Creator differs from a text editor in that it knows how to build and run applications. It understands the C++ and QML languages as code, not just as plain text. This allows it to:
- Enable you to write well formatted code
- Anticipate what you are going to write and complete the code
- Display inline error and warning messages
- Enable you to semantically navigate to classes, functions, and symbols
- Provide you with context-sensitive help on classes, functions, and symbols
- Rename symbols in an intelligent way, so that other symbols with the same name that belong to other scopes are not renamed
- Show you the locations in code where a function is declared or called
You can use Qt Designer to compose and customize widgets or dialogs and test them using different styles and resolutions. Widgets and forms created with Qt Designer are integrated seamlessly with programmed code, using the Qt signals and slots mechanism, that lets you easily assign behavior to graphical elements. All properties set in Qt Designer can be changed dynamically within the code. Furthermore, features like widget promotion and custom plugins allow you to use your own widgets with Qt Designer.
You can use the code editor to write code in Qt C++ or in the QML declarative programming language.
You can use QML to build highly dynamic, custom user interfaces from a rich set of QML elements. QML helps programmers and designers collaborate to build the fluid user interfaces that are becoming common in portable consumer devices, such as mobile phones, media players, set-top boxes and netbooks.
Qt Creator provides support for building and running Qt applications for desktop environment (Windows, Linux, and Mac OS) and mobile devices (Symbian, Maemo, and MeeGo). Build settings allow you to quickly switch between build targets.
When you build an application for a mobile device target with a device connected to the development PC, Qt Creator generates an installation package, installs in on the device, and executes it.
You can publish the installation packages on the Ovi Store. For Symbian devices, the packages must be signed.
Qt Creator is integrated with a set of helpful tools, such as version control systems and Qt Simulator.
Version Control Systems
The recommended way to build a project is to use a version control system. Qt Creator uses the version control system's command line clients to access your repositories. The following version control systems are supported:
The functions available to you in Qt Creator depend on the version control system. Basic functions are available for all the supported systems. They include comparing files with the latest versions stored in the repository and displaying the differences, viewing versioning history and change details, annotating files, and committing and reverting changes.
You can use the Qt Simulator to test Qt applications that are intended for mobile devices in an environment similar to that of the device. You can change the information that the device has about its configuration and environment.
The Qt Simulator is installed as part of the Nokia Qt SDK. After it is installed, you can select it as a build target in Qt Creator.
Qt Creator provides means to help you with debugging your application. It interfaces the GNU Symbolic Debugger (gdb) and the Microsoft Console Debugger (CDB) to debug native C++ applications and an internal debugger for Java Script. This includes the ability to connect mobile devices to your development PC and debug applications running on the devices.
Qt Creator displays the raw information provided by the native debuggers in a clear and concise manner with the goal to simplify the debugging process as much as possible without losing the power of the native debuggers.