Book Review: The Book of Qt 4: The Art of Building Qt Applications <i>by Daniel Molkentin</i>

Book Review: The Book of Qt 4: The Art of Building Qt Applications by Daniel Molkentin


The K Desktop Environment (KDE) is built on the QT GUI toolkit. QT is more than a set of widgets: it has evolved over the last few years into a high quality cross platform application development environment with a rich set of tools and utility libraries. "The Book of Qt 4: The Art of Building Qt Applications", written by Daniel Molkentin and published by No Starch Press, thoroughly describes in exquisite detail the main widgets, algorithms and utility libraries (as well as tools such as the QT designer) needed during the application creation cycle.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

My first impression is that this book delivers a well-grounded introduction to developing GUI applications with the QT GUI toolkit. Thanks to its consistency, it’s well suited for later use as a basic and instant reference book, potentially living next to any C++ programmer's bookshelf.

it’s is well suited for later use as a basic and instant reference book

The contents

With 14 chapters, 440 pages and two Appendixes, Daniel Molkentin’s digestible book takes the time needed to detail all the relevant widgets, algorithms and tools needed in a successful QT project.

takes the time needed to detail all the relevant widgets, algorithms and tools needed in a successful QT project

The book consistently builds on previous detail, starts with a "hello world" application and explains a number of basic tools including Qt Designer. It also touches on subjects such as layout, events, connecting to databases, XML parsing, graphics, different widgets and Internationalization. All the relevant subject areas are introduced, and then immediately expanded on.

Chapter 10, which covered the Arthur graphics library, was my favourite. This chapter explains how to generate PDFs, provide SVG support, and how to paint widgets. I particularly liked section 10.9.3 where a PDF file was generated simply by using the included QPrinter object correctly.

Who’s this book for?

This book is for C++ programmers who wish to get to know the potential of the QT library and perhaps use the GUI toolset under fire for a specific GUI lead project.

Relevance to free software

The QT GUI tool kit now sits under a QPL license. Previsously; this open source licensing approach was not always 100% true and the KDE project has left a page on its website for historical reasons noting this. Trolltech, which makes QT, tried to differentiate between commercial and non-commercial users. However, I do get the feeling that Trolltechs heart has always been in the right open source place.

The KDE projects websites publicly states that they believe that Qt is the best GUI toolkit available for the UNIX platform. A decent GUI toolset enables even beginners to build potent and complex application structures without the necessity of a high level of C++ knowledge or the need to build custom utility classes for standard tasks such as XML processing or connecting to databases. QT is a well thought out and solid example of this type of supportive framework.

This book is very readable, and therefore lowers the entry barrier to the TQT framework even further. The lower barrier makes it more likely that developers quickly get the point and actually start building new and interesting applications.

Pros

This is a good solid book for C++ developers interested in building effective QT based applications. The book also has a place as a reference book for later revisits.

Cons

A trivial criticism: perhaps an extra chapter on platform differences would have been helpful. For example, specific hints for Macs, Windows and UNIX are missing.

Book
Title The Book of Qt 4: The Art of Building Qt Applications
Author Daniel Molkentin
Publisher NO STARCH PRESS
ISBN 9781593271473
Year 2007
Pages 440
CD included No
FS Oriented 10
Overall score 8

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Biography

Alan Berg Bsc. MSc. PGCE, has been a lead developer at the Central Computer Services at the University of Amsterdam since 1998. In his spare time, he writes articles, book reviews and has authored three books. He has a degree, two masters and a teaching qualification. In previous incarnations, he was a technical writer, an Internet/Linux course writer, and a science teacher. He likes to get his hands dirty with the building and gluing of systems. He remains agile by playing computer games with his sons who (sadly) consistently beat him physically, mentally and morally at least twice in any given day.

You may contact him at reply.to.berg At chello.nl