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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Best IDE for Qt4 Development in Linux

Here's why...
There are several IDE choices to develop Qt4 content in our favorite OS, such as:

Qt Creator 
 Qt Creator has been hyped as being great for not only Qt development, but C++ development as well. So I was pretty exited while the app was being installed via Yast2. Unfortunately, I never got it to run. It quietly crashes and I couldn't find a solution on the internet. Not wanting to go through another download session, I gave up.

Eclipse CDT 
To say that the de facto plugin for Qt4 development in Eclipse CDT,  QtClipse, is still in it's early stages of development, would be and understatement. It offered most of the basic configurations like paths to qmake and moc but didn't offer anything special.

Ever since I remember, I've loathed KDevelop. It's cluttered, the shortcuts are non standard, its auto completion sucked.. you get the point. Anyway, I went ahead and configured my first ever Qt4 app on KDevelop and started working on it. Surprisingly, the build and execute system ran well. I had to edit the Makefile in order to call moc on my classes, but it was a case of copying and pasting the main "moc" clauses and renaming the classes. The documentation got integrated perfectly and creating a new ".ui" class would automatically call Qt Designer. Debugging didn't work though. The application would exit soon after stopping at the first breakpoint. Must be something to do with the Qt event loop.

I didn't try NetBeans yet. My past experiences with it has been a mix between extreme satisfaction to absolute loathing. It's a good overall IDE which consumes a lot of memory. People who are used to developing on NetBeans would definitely prefer this over KDevelop.
I just finished running my first Qt application using NetBeans and it was way better than working with KDevelop. There was no setup involved at all. You just have to create a Qt Project from the "New Project" wizard and you're good to go. It just became my favorite IDE for Qt development :). (I followed this tutorial which gives  great introduction to working on Qt prjects using NetBeans).

From the IDEs that I tried out, KDevelop  turned out to be the best. That is not to say that it is perfect. I'm still looking at other alternatives which would offer an experience like the Qt plugin for Visual Studio under windows.

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