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GLOBAL – Software developers and people who’d like to learn have a lot of choice when it comes to which languages and tools to use. Maybe we’re biased but we’d suggest you give Qt a try. Nowadays, it’s a complete framework that handles every aspect of application creation. Here’s thirteen reasons you should take it for a spin.

1. Funding and support;
Qt is an Open-Source development framework, with fantastic community contributions, but it moves faster than many such projects because it is funded and supported by Nokia. Nokia pledges to continue development work on Qt, add new features and to support it going forward. It’s an invaluable source of creativity, high quality apps and great solutions and is integral to our strategy today, and for future innovation.

2. Use a visual editor;
Visual development tools allow designers to make beautiful, flowing interfaces and work alongside developers for more of the application creation process. It also automates a lot of the tedious legwork involved in specifying the dimensions and characteristics of UI elements.

3. Use a complete and powerful IDE;
Qt Creator combines editing, design, debugging, project management, localisation and compilation tools. It’s everything you need to create great programs for desktop computers and smartphones. And everything is made to work together, rather than moving between different environments to do different things with an application. Packages like this often cost hundreds of pounds, or don’t exist at all for many programming languages.

4.  It’s free;
All of the Qt tools are free to download and use, and you are allowed to use them to create commercial projects or for use with clients. The only exception to this is if you want to make changes to the Qt tools and not share them with the community. And, of course, even if you decide Qt isn’t for you, then it hasn’t cost you anything.

5. Nothing does cross-platform like Qt;
Developing apps that work on Mac and Windows PCs from the same source is a fairly tricky procedure without Qt. That’s one reason why some of the major cross-platform apps like Google Earth and Skype use it. We’d also like to point out that its target list also includes Symbian smartphones, Maemo and soon MeeGo devices.

6.  Stable and high quality;
Qt has been around since 1992 – and the latest release (4.7.2) came out last week. Everything has been tested, used professionally, tweaked, rereleased and improved many times, resulting in an extremely high reliability rate and great ease of use.

7. Outstanding online community;
If you’re having problems or just need to chat about what you’re doing, you’ll find a helpful and knowledgeable community. There’s a blog, of course, but also message boards, nntp groups and mailing lists.

8. Experienced programmers can use C++ to write code;
Here’s a common misconception: Qt is not a new programming language. If you’re a trained programmer, then there’s every likelihood that C++ (and/or Java) is what you use for most projects. Most Qt projects are written in C++ (enhanced with extras to make the work faster – that’s the only learning bit). And, of course, the resulting projects can be deployed to different clients easily. Qt lets you use your existing language skills rather than make you learn a new one.

9. Use QML to write quicker code;
If you’re just getting started or want to create something more quickly, then you’ll probably be more attracted to Qt Quick. Here, you use the visual interface builder and the JavaScript-style QML code to put applications together. Note that it’s perfectly possible to combine C++ and QML sections together in a single app, too. [Bonus tip: Qt Quick stands for “Qt User Interface Creation Kit].

10. [New] Use Python to write reusable code;
The Qt community has just announced the release of PySide, allowing Python developers to use Qt interface ingredients to create cross-platform applications through language bindings. There’s also PyQt, of course. (NB: both of these are routes for people very familiar with terminal mode and compiling from source code).

11.  [Upcoming] Target Android devices;
Many add-ons and extras come from members of Qt’s massive online community. Recently, the possibility of porting Qt apps to Android smartphones has been explored with positive results. If developed further, this opens up a massive window of opportunity for Qt smartphone developers.

12. Open Source opens opportunities;
The Android example at (10) is just one way in which Qt demonstrates the power of being part of the Open Source community. New tools and add-ons appear on a regular basis. And if there isn’t one already, there’s nothing to stop you creating one (or helping with an existing project) and donating it back to the community.

13. Documentation; documentation; documentation.
After 18 years in the business, the Qt folk have amassed a wealth of documentation, from tutorials to theoretical papers to handy code snippets. Since joining Nokia, there’s a further treasure trove to be mined at Forum Nokia as well.

Have you tried Qt yet? Anyone want to take a stab at providing reasons 14-20?