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Keywords: C++, Qt, cross-platform development, GUI

Title: C++ GUI Programming With Qt 3

Authors: Jasmin Blanchette and Mark Summerfield

Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR

ISBN: 0131240722

Media: Book/CD

Level: Introductory/Intermediate

Verdict: A superb introduction to an impressive development toolkit

This is the official guide to programming Qt, the development platform that is continuing to go from strength to strength. It is also, we are happy to report, an excellent introduction - well-written, well-designed, technically grounded and supplied with a good selection of tools on the accompanying CD. In addition to the seal of approval from Trolltech (developers of the Qt toolkit, and home to the two authors), this book is published as part of the Bruce Perens' Open Source Series. Having now firmly established credentials, it's time to take a closer look at the content …

The first part of the book introduces the core material for getting started. It begins with the simplest of dialogs and moves on quickly to an introduction to the 'slots' and 'connections' architecture that Qt uses to implement event-driven GUI applications. One thing that is immediately apparent is the cleanliness of the toolkit - creating good-looking and snappy GUIs is a relatively painless task. Adding call-back functions to make your front-end respond to user input is also remarkably easy. When you think that this simple yet powerful approach enables you to create cross-platform applications then it's clear why Trolltech and Qt are currently riding a wave.

By part two of the book you have moved from basic dialogs to subclassing widgets, opening and closing files, creating custom widgets and the joys of double-buffering. Part two of the book is 'Intermediate Qt' territory, and this is where you learn that the toolkit is more than a GUI builder. The book covers topics such as database connectivity, file I/O, XML, networking, internationalisation, multi-threading and platform-specific features. It also covers layout managers, graphics (2D and 3D), drag and drop and more.

The book manages to convey the broad sweep of the Qt toolkit in a way that is admirably clear and accessible. There's a lot of code in the book but it doesn't read like a dull programming manual. It also does a great job in selling the toolkit - by looking beyond the core GUI material it really makes it clear that Qt is a fantastic development platform.

If you are in any way inclined to dip your toes in Qt's waters then this is definitely highly recommended.

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