Six months ago we laid out Digia’s Qt strategy at Qt Developer Days 2012 and since then we have been working together with the community to achieve our goals of increasing the use of Qt and expanding business opportunities for all members of the Qt ecosystem and Digia.
I wanted to explain a bit more in detail via this blog post how Digia plans to keep Qt in the lead position, thriving and continuously evolving as well as give a state of the union as we mark our 6-month milestone.
First, let’s quickly re-cap what we have set as our goals for the next few years.
- #1 in multi-platform support
- #1 in developer experience
- #1 in creating great user experiences
- Strong value-generating ecosystem
- Dual licensing model
- Open business architecture
We have made great progress in many of these already in the past few months, so I think we are definitely in the right track to reach these together.
#1 in Multi-Platform Support
Qt is by nature a cross-platform development framework, which has supported a large number of desktop, embedded and mobile platforms. In the past few months, we have been actively working on introducing support for Android and iOS as well as improving the experience on the desktop and embedded platforms. With the soon–to-be released Qt 5.1 we will already be able to provide solid technology previews for both Android and iOS, which we expect to be complete for Qt 5.2 coming out before the end of this year. We are also working with the WinRT port of Qt to be available soon after Android and iOS. With the introduction of support in Qt 5.1 for the leading mobile platforms, Qt jumps to the next phase of being a platform agnostic world-class and all-around cross-platform software development framework.
#1 in Developer Experience
We have started a few projects to make developers’ encounters with Qt easy and effortless. In Qt 5.0 we tightly coupled Qt Creator and other tools into the same Qt package together with the libraries making it possible to get everything they need to start developing with Qt all in one place. It is still possible to develop for Qt with other IDEs than Qt Creator – for example with Visual Studio or XCode. We have also been working with the online installers for Qt 5, which will be available soon and further improve the experience of developing with Qt. We are also investing heavily into tooling. Focusing on, for example, the new Qt Quick Designer, which was first released with Qt Creator 2.7, and the new Qt Quick Controls of which the first set will come in Qt 5.1.
#1 in Creating a Great User Experience
Qt is known for its ability to create amazing user experiences. We are working hard to continue Qt’s position as the leading software development framework that enables the creation of stunning UIs with an unbeatable graphics performance. The new graphics pipeline of Qt 5 is one of the cornerstones to reach this goal. Qt Quick 2 offers a GL-based scene graph, a particle system and a collection of shader effects for fun and cool animations, amongst other things, as well as Qt Multimedia and Qt Graphical Effects that lets the developer bring motion and sound to life within their application. We will continue to improve these capabilities and make it even easier to build stunning applications with Qt.
Strong Value Generating Ecosystem
In addition to actively working with the developer community through the Qt Project, we are making good progress with our Digia Qt Partner Program with the first partners already signed on and many more to be enrolled soon. We are actively working with members of the Qt community to make sure that valuable Qt events and activities are possible.
This year, the Qt Contributors Summit and KDE Akademy will be held jointly where two strong communities can leverage from each other’s expertise. Digia is a platinum sponsor at this year’s combined Qt Contributor Summit and KDE Akademy. Following last year’s successful Qt Developer Days in Berlin and California, Digia will again join forces with KDAB and ICS to put Qt Developer Days 2013. Lastly, this June, Digia together with top sponsors and active Qt community participants BlackBerry and Jolla, will host the Qt Developer Day China in Beijing (June 6) to cater to our growing Qt ecosystem in China. We believe that by working together in the ecosystem we can jointly take Qt forward at an unbeatable speed and benefit from the growing user base of developers making Qt-based solutions in over 70 different industries including free software.
Dual Licensing Model
We believe that the dual licensing model is crucially important for the whole Qt ecosystem to thrive, and that it is the best way to further develop Qt. The full development of Qt and making it the leading cross-platform application development framework is at the cornerstone of Digia’s strategy. This means that we want all developers, organizations, companies around the world regardless of industry, business model, device types etc., to use Qt to further their own development goals and business strategies.
In order to keep Qt in the lead allowing innovation into our development, it is important that Qt is available for commercial users and the open source community and provide the functionality that meet the varying needs of both. We believe in the power of open-source development in fostering innovation and value very much all the things we do together with the Qt community via the Qt Project. The dual licensing model serves two purposes in driving Qt forward:
- Commercial licensing secures future investments into Qt R&D with the financial stability needed to keep the Digia Qt engineering teams producing invaluable code development and contributions. Revenue generated from the commercial license sales also enables the Qt Project to charge forward securing, for example, the infrastructure, repositories and qt-project.org servers and development to be a community arena for Qt development where all can participate and contribute.
- Qt open-source development provides an incomparable vehicle to make Qt available everywhere for everybody increasing the Qt user base and promoting adoption of the technology.
Both of the above models work hand-in-hand; without one our goals of bringing Qt to all and making it the world’s leading cross-platform development framework are not fully possible. Our new mobile ports of Qt for Android, and iOS as well as the upcoming WinRT port are fully developed in the open, a very strong proof point that we really do believe in dual licensing also in the future.
Open Business Architecture
Tightly related with the strong value generating ecosystem is open business architecture – a new element in the Qt ecosystem. We believe that enabling more business opportunities for everybody via Qt will be beneficial for the entire ecosystem. Open business architecture is a principle that defines the rules for an equal playing ground where everybody is invited to participate. At this point, we see this as a principle, but later on we hopefully are able to develop the whole business architecture forward in such way – and enable more business for everybody.
With an open and thriving Qt ecosystem, we believe that Digia and other players in the community can provide value-adding products for functionality, tools and services. We believe that having such additional components available not only provides more business opportunities for all interested companies, but also makes Qt stronger. The more there are ready-made solutions available to meet the needs and challenges in various industries and use cases, the more value Qt offers our users.
Digia is seeking to create added value in mainly the following areas:
• Value-adding functionality especially for enterprise users and in the embedded space
• Improved tools providing a shortened time-to-market and cost savings for companies using Qt
• Cloud-based services than can be used in conjunction with solutions built with Qt
• Support and services for development with Qt
Some examples of these are already available; for example, the Charts library and the improved Visual Studio Add-In, as well as our support and services offering. We are working on a new cloud-based backend for Qt applications called Enginio, which was first presented at the Qt Developer Days last year. We are very close to launching the public technology preview, so stay tuned for it.
Especially for our enterprise and embedded customers, we have been working with additional tools that can be plugged into the Qt Creator IDE to make developing with Qt even more efficient, as well as to meet the growing demands of our customers and companies who have chosen Qt as their strategic development choice and who require a full commitment from Digia to succeed in their industry. We believe that it is possible to provide these refinements of Qt for many different industries, and are aiming to develop Qt and our tooling offering further to allow also other members of the Qt community to offer these as part of the open business architecture.
All in all, I am very happy with the progress we have made towards the goals we set for Qt last year. I am extremely pleased that we have been able to work towards these with so many great partners, customers and community members that form the Qt ecosystem. I believe that by continuing this together we will be able to take Qt forth at record pace and truly make it the number #1 choice for cross-platform application and UI development.
We would love to hear from you, so please drop us a note in the comments below. Happy Qt development!