Trying Qt Quick on the N8

November 3, 2010

Nokia have recently announced that Qt Quick is the future for Nokia device UI’s – an extremely wise move considering the sheer power of this technology. It makes creating great looking UI’s with all of the transitions and animations expected in a ‘modern’ UI extremely simple. I’m not going into too much detail about Qt Quick here because there’s loads of info out there. What I want to do is show how you can run some Qt Quick examples on your N8 right now. This is in response to some concerns by some people about how ‘future-proof’ the N8 is, i.e. will the future UI implemented in Qt Quick be able to be handled by the N8 smoothly. Why not judge for yourself?

The first thing that needs to be done is actually installing Qt 4.7 on your N8. I have no doubt that it’s a priority for Nokia to get the in-built version updated ASAP, but for now you can simply install it yourself. Follow the instructions here, paying attention to the note I’ve given below:

http://wiki.forum.nokia.com/index.php/Qt_4.7_for_Symbian%5E3_-_developer_version

Note: Preferably install on C: – I haven’t tried on E:. You can, but it might not work. The qmlviewer SIS complains of a missing dependency – ignore it, you can just install it afterwards. Finally, the *plugin SIS files say the are ‘not compatible’. This is erroneous, again ignore it.

Once you’re done with that you’ll notice a new folder called ‘QtExamples’ in the Menu, which contains ‘qmlviewer’. This launches a file browser type UI (which is actually itself implemented in Qt Quick!) which you will use to find and open the examples. To get some nice examples you should download the Qt 4.7 SDK (it doesn’t need to even be the Symbian version – though that one is smaller to download). Here’s a link to the SDK download page:

http://qt.nokia.com/downloads (may need to click on ‘Go LGPL’)

After you do that, the examples will be in e.g. ‘C:\Qt\4.7.0\examples\declarative’ and demos will be in ‘C:\Qt\4.7.0\demos\declarative’. I would just copy both of these directories en masse to your E: drive in a new directory called something like ‘QML’. There’s no ‘install’ necessary – the QML files are simply loaded by the viewer.

Let’s try one out. After copying all of ‘demos\declarative’ to ‘E:\QML’ launch ‘qmlviewer’ and browse through the filesystem to ‘E:\QML\demos\declarative’ (or wherever you put it) and then into ‘samegame’ and open ‘samegame.qml’. And there it is. I’m not going to spoil the moment by posting a screenshot :-).

Some tips: If you want to make QML run full screen that’s in ‘Options > Settings > Full Screen’, but there’s no way to leave fullscreen (except bring up the task switcher and close qmlviewer). The ‘qmlviewer’ is actually what’s running when you hit ‘samegame.qml’, not a different app so if you exit then you’ll be thrown back to the Menu and need to browse back through again. And of course there are still some bugs so demos like ‘webbrowser’ (!!) won’t work properly it seems.

Well, I hope anyone who a) has an N8 and b) read this will give it a try. You’ll be pleased by Qt Quick and it’s performance on the N8, no doubt.

Any Q’s just pop a comment or catch me on Twitter…


Free, free, free, the Symbian Kernel

October 23, 2009

Okay, I told a tiny little lie in my first post, but something very important popped into my head in the past few minutes. This was the frankly astonishing quiet surrounding what is only one of the most significant announcements in technology this year. This announcement is that the source code for the Symbian kernel has been released under the Eclipse Public Licence (EPL). Not only that, but this has happened well ahead of schedule. In addition, as well as the source code a number of important supporting bits and pieces have been released. These include a PC based simulator which runs ARM compiled code and a ‘baseport’ for the low-low cost hardware platform called Beagleboard (circe $150). Together these bits and pieces make it possible for anyone to make modifications to the kernel and see the results. The hope is that this will help people get into the habit of working with the Symbian platform and foster a nice, friendly community.

Unfortunately, the sentence ‘Symbian Kernel EPLed’ only contained one word that ‘professional’ tech bloggers and analysts could understand so they either had to report it as is or not at all, being unable to process it’s significance. While this fact is slightly depressing, it’s not really worrying as the select group of people who have something valuable to contribute to this effort will surely have been on the lookout for this news (and besides there’s something called Twitter).

Now that I’ve got that bee out of my bonnet, maybe I can slap something together about the experience I’ve been having with learning Qt…