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GLOBAL – Today Nokia launches a new beta version of its Qt software development kit 1.1. The principal new feature of the kit is the introduction of Qt Quick.

As the name suggests, Qt Quick is designed to make it faster for developers to create working applications, which can be published using Ovi Store. The release is based on Qt 4.7 but – as well as Qt Quick – it introduces new APIs for mobile development and improvements to the existing UI tools. More details following the jump.

Qt Quick makes it easier and faster for developers and designers to create Qt applications. As opposed to previous versions, UI design is no longer based on C++. Instead, interface coding takes place using QML, which is a Javascript-like declarative language.

‘Declarative’ means that developers describe how a UI should look (like JavaScript or HTML/CSS), rather than laboriously going through the steps required to create it. QML apps might be feature complete in themselves, or can be combined with new or existing C++ and web elements for more ambitious apps.

Improved tools such as Qt Creator 2.1 IDE and Qt Quick Designer make creating projects simpler, with drag and drop elements and the ability to combine simple elements into fluid, animated UIs.

New mobility elements give developers APIs to access to the camera and gallery for imaging features. There’s also new APIs to allow access to Maps, location and landmarks and to the device calendar.

This release is an upgrade from the ‘Technical Preview’ release that has been available for the last couple of months.

Here’s Seppo Pakarinen from Forum Nokia to explain how Qt Quick works. There’s a bunch more demos, tutorials and more information on the Qt Quick site. Direct downloads for the SDK are available on this page.

As with earlier versions, Qt apps can be targeted towards Symbian and Maemo devices, and used to create desktop applications – it’s used for Skype and Google Earth, for example.