May 21, 2010

varunnarula varunnarula
Ant Farmer
9 posts

Qt vs Symbian C++

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Hi there,

Assume that one would want to develop only for Symbian devices, which use cases would favor development in Qt and which ones for Symbian C++?

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43 replies

May 21, 2010

pablojr pablojr
Lab Rat
7 posts

I would say that developing for “Symbian only” using Qt is buying you future benefits, since you never know when you’ll be asked for that lovely application you have now running only in Symbian to be available for, let’s say, Linux.

Si for me, if both tools (Symbian C++ and Qt) will involve the same learning and/or developing effort the equation is clear: I’ll use Qt

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May 21, 2010

mlong mlong
Robot Herder
1537 posts

I agree with pablojr. The effort put into developing with Qt potentially has various additional benefits simply due to the cross-platform nature of the toolkit. Since Nokia’s acquisition of TrollTech, it looks like Qt is going to continue to play more of a stronger role in Mobile Development. It doesn’t look as if its future is dim at all.

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May 22, 2010

varunnarula varunnarula
Ant Farmer
9 posts

What do you think would happen to Symbian C++, would it continue to exist? Would Qt complement it in someway or completely replace Symbian C++ ?

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May 22, 2010

kkrzewniak kkrzewniak
Lab Rat
197 posts

I finde Symbian C++ to be a lot less straightforward than Qt. I can see Qt taking a fair amount of developers away from Symbian C++, but I don’t think it will replace it.

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May 24, 2010

Jayakrishnan.M Jayakrishnan..
Lab Rat
171 posts

As far as c++ application development is concerned Qt will replace symbian c++. As others pointed out, it is much more easier and is cross platform. With Symbian 4, the S60 avkon framework will not be supported and Qt will be the only choice for building guis for c++ applications. For Symbian c++ apis other than GUI, you may mix them with Qt code if needed. But that will be rare, with Qt mobility available.

May 24, 2010

m_p_wilcox m_p_wilcox
Lab Rat
20 posts

Remaining use cases for Symbian C++:
1) If you need a rock-solid stable background server (because Qt doesn’t have any mechanism for handling out-of-memory issues yet)
2) Accessing platform APIs which aren’t available via Qt Mobility.
3) Supporting old devices (there are still some out there that Qt won’t run on, particularly in poorer countries)

That’s about all I can think of.

Basically, if you can use Qt then do!

Mark (Kernel & Base Technology Manager at the Symbian Foundation)

May 24, 2010

varunnarula varunnarula
Ant Farmer
9 posts

Thanks Mark and Jaykrishnan,

If an app is targeted for the current crop of Symbian devices and requires accessing platform APIs, Symbian C++ can be used. However, if the app is heavy on UI, Qt would be a better option. That is the best I could summarize it.

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May 24, 2010

m_p_wilcox m_p_wilcox
Lab Rat
20 posts

I’d go further than that – if there is ANY UI, and you can use Qt, then do use Qt. Don’t write a new UI in Symbian C++ unless you absolutely have to.

May 27, 2010

varunnarula varunnarula
Ant Farmer
9 posts

Just in – there is a firmware update for the N900 and it contains the Qt 4.6.2 libraries. So no need to bundle the core with the app :-)

However, that still leaves this question open – how will Qt help provide rich UI apps to the existing millions of Symbian devices ?

One may say, by adding the Qt libraries to the app, but that would make the size of the app around 8 MB + which is not so good with devices with limited memory like the N97.

Qt is not so much backward compatible, it’s applicability to future devices seems assured.

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May 28, 2010

Jayakrishnan.M Jayakrishnan..
Lab Rat
171 posts

Have you checked Symbian smart installer for Qt ? With this, there is no need to bundle Qt with your app. At the installation time, the smart installer downloads and install Qt if Qt is not already installed on the phone. I haven’t used it yet. So I don’t know how good it works. If anybody have used it, it will be good if they can share their experience

May 29, 2010

varunnarula varunnarula
Ant Farmer
9 posts

I have read about the smart installer, it was at beta 2.0. Whether one bundles the Qt libraries with app code or uses the smart installer, eventually the libraries will be installed on the phone memory. The current footprint is around 8 MB, which on phones like the N97, is quite a lot.

I have tried installing the qt_installer.sis ( this is available in the latest beta SDK) and it always installs in the C: drive, not the mass memory.

I think in future iterations of Qt, it is important for the libraries to be able to run on mass memory, the end user should have this choice.

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May 30, 2010

kkrzewniak kkrzewniak
Lab Rat
197 posts

I think in future iterations of Qt, it is important for the libraries to be able to run on mass memory, the end user should have this choice.

It is not that easy as You say it is. Please correct me if I’m wrong but usually the devices mass memory is some kind of Flash NAND, in witch case every code stored in this memory needs to be copied in to the devices RAM memory. On the other hand the devices C: drive is usually some kind of Flash NOR, witch can store XIP code (eXecute in Place), this cuts the start-up time substantially because there is no need to copy the code in to RAM.

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June 1, 2010

varunnarula varunnarula
Ant Farmer
9 posts

To be honest, I have no idea about the differences between how code executes on C:\ vs on the mass memory. But there are so many apps, specifically those written in Symbian C++, which install on either memory just as easily.

Qt, on the other hand, currently does not do that. It somehow installs only on the C:\ drive.

I would hope and expect, in the future, that installing Qt apps on either of these memories be possible.

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June 2, 2010

Denis Kormalev Denis Kormalev
Lab Rat
1607 posts
varunnarula wrote:
I would hope and expect, in the future, that installing Qt apps on either of these memories be possible.

You can easily install Qt applications at mass memory. But Qt libraries should be better installed at c:\ (even if they will work at mass memory) because of performance issues.

June 3, 2010

varunnarula varunnarula
Ant Farmer
9 posts

I have tried installing the qt_installer.sis which comes with the (beta) Qt SDK and during installation, the option is provided, but I noticed that all the library components installed on the C: drive.

Have you tried installing any Qt application (bundled with the Qt libraries) on the mass memory. Do let me know, this is something I want to try out.

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