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What’s New in Qt 5.6

The Qt Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Digia Plc recently announced the release and general availability of Qt 5.6 alpha.

This version is meant for developers to test out the new features and to see whether their code bases will play nice with the upgrades and bug fixes that have been introduced with this new version of Qt. Just to accommodate the beginner programmers or those new to Qt, we need to know what it is.

What is Qt?

Qt pronounced “Cute” is a cross-platform application development framework for desktop, embedded and mobile devices. It supports a variety of operating systems such as Windows, OS X and Linux. Real-time Operating systems such as VxWorks and QNX. Not to forget the mobile centric operating systems like Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Sailfish OS among others.

Qt is generally available under the open source GPL and LGPL as well as the commercial license. Qt comes with its own build system qmake but can also be used with other build systems such as Qbs, CMake, GNU Make, Visual Studio, Xcode and others.

With its own cross-platform IDE QtCreator, Qt has proven to be a versatile end-to-end development platform. Qt can also be used with third party IDEs via Add-ons.

What’s New in Qt 5.6?

Qt 5.6 comes with a variety of new features. I will not attempt to mention every little update but I will just brush through and mention a few of greater importance. There is a comprehensive list on the Qt wiki of the new features in Qt 5.6 here.

First off you may need to know that even though they are part of the Qt 5.6 release these modules Qt Script and Qt Enginio are now deprecated. There they are on the copping block for possible removal from subsequent releases of Qt.

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Next you need to know that Qt WebKit and Qt Declarative (also known as Qt Quick 1) has now been removed completely from Qt 5.6. You use them you will now have to build them from source. There is no need to do so as there are more modern alternatives to these two modules.

Other existing modules to get touch-ups include Qt Core, Qt Network, Qt GUI, Qt Widgets, Qt Testlib, Qt Multimedia, Qt WebEngine, Qt QML, Qt WebView and Qt Canvas3D. Again visit the Qt Wiki for the details of the new features.

There are also a number of new technology preview modules which are candidates for future inclusions in subsequent releases of Qt.

Last but not certainly not least is a number of bug fixes and improvements over previous versions of Qt. Now that you’ve got the gist of the new version of Qt.

You can head over to this page to download a copy of Qt 5.6 right away. You can also read this article on Memory management with QPointer to have an idea of what Qt is capable of doing for the developer.

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