C++ GUI Programming with Qt 4, 2nd Edition / Edition 2

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Overview

The Only Official, Best-Practice Guide to Qt 4.3 Programming

Using Trolltech's Qt you can build industrial-strength C++ applications that run natively on Windows, Linux/Unix, Mac OS X, and embedded Linux without source code changes. Now, two Trolltech insiders have written a start-to-finish guide to getting outstanding results with the latest version of Qt: Qt 4.3.

Packed with realistic examples and in-depth advice, this is the book Trolltech uses to teach Qt to its own new hires. Extensively revised and expanded, it reveals today's best Qt programming patterns for everything from implementing model/view architecture to using Qt 4.3's improved graphics support. You'll find proven solutions for virtually every GUI development task, as well as sophisticated techniques for providing database access, integrating

  • Completely updated throughout, with significant new coverage of databases,
  • Covers all Qt 4.2/4.3 changes, including Windows Vista support, native CSS support for widget styling, and SVG file generation
  • Contains separate 2D and 3D chapters, coverage of Qt 4.3's new graphics view classes, and an introduction to QPainter's OpenGL back-end
  • Includes new chapters on look-and-feel customization and application scripting
  • Illustrates Qt 4's model/view architecture, plugin support, layout management, event processing, container classes, and much more
  • Presents advanced techniques covered in no other book—from creating plugins to interfacing with native APIs
  • Includes a new appendix on Qt Jambi, the new Java version of Qt
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jasmin Blanchette is a Trolltech senior software engineer and is writing his M.Sc. thesis in computer science at the University of Oslo.

Mark Summerfield works as an independent trainer and consultant specializing in C++, Qt, Python, and PyQt, and is the author of Rapid GUI Programming with Python and Qt. Blanchette and Summerfield coauthored C++ GUI Programming with Qt 3 and the first edition of C++ GUI Programming with Qt 4.

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Read an Excerpt

Qt is a comprehensive C++ application development framework for creating cross-platform GUI applications using a "write once, compile anywhere" approach. Qt lets programmers use a single source tree for applications that will run on Windows 98 to Vista, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, and many other versions of Unix with X11. The Qt libraries and tools are also part of Qt/Embedded Linux, a product that provides its own window system on top of embedded Linux.

The purpose of this book is to teach you how to write GUI programs using Qt 4. The book starts with "Hello Qt" and quickly progresses to more advanced topics, such as creating custom widgets and providing drag and drop. The text is complemented by a set of examples that you can download from the book's web site, http://www.informit.com/title/0132354160. Appendix A explains how to download and install the software, including a free C++ compiler for those using Windows.

The book is divided into three parts. Part I covers all the fundamental concepts and practices necessary for programming GUI applications using Qt. Knowledge of this part alone is sufficient to write useful GUI applications. Part II covers central Qt topics in greater depth, and Part III provides more specialized and advanced material. You can read the chapters of Parts II and III in any order, but they assume familiarity with the contents of Part I. The book also includes several appendixes, with Appendix B showing how to build Qt applications and Appendix C introducing Qt Jambi, the Java version of Qt.

The first Qt 4 edition of the book built on the Qt 3 edition, although it was completely revised to reflect good idiomatic Qt 4 programming techniques and included new chapters on Qt 4's model/view architecture, the new plugin framework, embedded programming with Qt/Embedded Linux, and a new appendix. This extended and revised second edition has been thoroughly updated to take advantage of features introduced in Qt versions 4.2 and 4.3, and includes new chapters on look and feel customization and application scripting as well as two new appendixes. The original graphics chapter has been split into separate 2D and 3D chapters, which between them now cover the new graphics view classes and QPainter's OpenGL back-end. In addition, much new material has been added to the database,

This edition, like its predecessors, emphasizes explaining Qt programming and providing realistic examples, rather than simply rehashing or summarizing Qt's extensive online documentation. Because the book teaches solid Qt 4 programming principles and practices, readers will easily be able to learn the new Qt modules that come out in Qt 4.4, Qt 4.5, and later Qt 4.x versions. If you are using one of these later versions, be sure to read the "What's New in Qt 4.x" documents in the reference documentation to get an overview of the new features that are available.

We have written the book with the assumption that you have a basic knowledge of C++, Java, or C#. The code examples use a subset of C++, avoiding many C++ features that are rarely needed when programming Qt. In the few places where a more advanced C++ construct is unavoidable, it is explained as it is used. If you already know Java or C# but have little or no experience with C++, we recommend that you begin by reading Appendix D, which provides sufficient introduction to C++ to be able to use this book. For a more thorough introduction to object-oriented programming in C++, we recommend C++ How to Program by P. J. Deitel and H. M. Deitel (Prentice Hall, 2007), and C++ Primer by Stanley B. Lippman, Jos¿Lajoie, and Barbara E. Moo (Addison-Wesley, 2005).

Qt made its reputation as a cross-platform framework, but thanks to its intuitive and powerful API, many organizations use Qt for single-platform development. Adobe Photoshop Album is just one example of a mass-market Windows application written in Qt. Many sophisticated software systems in vertical markets, such as 3D animation tools, digital film processing, electronic design automation (for chip design), oil and gas exploration, financial services, and medical imaging, are built with Qt. If you are making a living with a successful Windows product written in Qt, you can easily create new markets in the Mac OS X and Linux worlds simply by recompiling.

Qt is available under various licenses. If you want to build commercial applica-tions, you must buy a commercial Qt license from Trolltech; if you want to build open source programs, you can use the open source (GPL) edition. The K Desktop Environment (KDE) and most of the open source applications that go with it are built on Qt.

In addition to Qt's hundreds of classes, there are add-ons that extend Qt's scope and power. Some of these products, like the Qt Solutions components, are avail-able from Trolltech, while others are supplied by other companies and by the open source community; see http://www.trolltech.com/products/qt/3rdparty/ for a list of available add-ons. Trolltech's developers also have their own web site, Trolltech Labs (http://labs.trolltech.com/), where they put unofficial code that they have written because it is fun, interesting, or useful. Qt has a well-established and thriving user community that uses the qt-interest mailing list; see http://lists.trolltech.com/ for details.

If you spot errors in the book, have suggestions for the next edition, or want to give us feedback, we would be delighted to hear from you. You can reach us at qt-book@trolltech.com. The errata will be placed on the book's web site http://www.informit.com/title/0132354160.

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Table of Contents

Series Editor's Note     xi
Foreword     xiii
Preface     xv
Acknowledgments     xvii
A Brief History of Qt     xix
Basic Qt
Getting Started     3
Hello Qt     3
Making Connections     5
Laying Out Widgets     6
Using the Reference Documentation     10
Creating Dialogs     13
Subclassing QDialog     13
Signals and Slots in Depth     20
Rapid Dialog Design     23
Shape-Changing Dialogs     31
Dynamic Dialogs     38
Built-in Widget and Dialog Classes     39
Creating Main Windows     45
Subclassing QMainWindow     46
Creating Menus and Toolbars     50
Setting Up the Status Bar     55
Implementing the File Menu     57
Using Dialogs     63
Storing Settings     69
Multiple Documents     71
Splash Screens     74
Implementing Application Functionality     77
The Central Widget     77
Subclassing QTableWidget     78
Loading and Saving     84
Implementing the Edit Menu     87
Implementing the Other Menus     91
Subclassing QTableWidgetItem     95
Creating Custom Widgets     105
Customizing Qt Widgets     105
Subclassing QWidget     107
Integrating Custom Widgets with Qt Designer     117
Double Buffering     121
Intermediate Qt
Layout Management     141
Laying Out Widgets on a Form     141
Stacked Layouts     147
Splitters     149
Scrolling Areas     152
Dock Windows and Toolbars     154
Multiple Document Interface     157
Event Processing     167
Reimplementing Event Handlers     167
Installing Event Filters     172
Staying Responsive during Intensive Processing     175
2D Graphics     179
Painting with QPainter     180
Coordinate System Transformations     185
High-Quality Rendering with QImage     193
Item-Based Rendering with Graphics View     195
Printing     217
Drag and Drop     227
Enabling Drag and Drop     227
Supporting Custom Drag Types     232
Clipboard Handling      237
Item View Classes     239
Using the Item View Convenience Classes     240
Using Predefined Models     247
Implementing Custom Models     252
Implementing Custom Delegates     266
Container Classes     273
Sequential Containers     274
Associative Containers     282
Generic Algorithms     285
Strings, Byte Arrays, and Variants     287
Input/Output     295
Reading and Writing Binary Data     296
Reading and Writing Text     301
Traversing Directories     307
Embedding Resources     308
Inter-Process Communication     309
Databases     315
Connecting and Querying     316
Viewing Tables     322
Editing Records Using Forms     324
Presenting Data in Tabular Forms     330
Multithreading     339
Creating Threads     340
Synchronizing Threads     343
Communicating with the Main Thread     349
Using Qt's Classes in Secondary Threads     356
Networking     359
Writing FTP Clients     359
Writing HTTP Clients      368
Writing TCP Client-Server Applications     371
Sending and Receiving UDP Datagrams     381
XML     387
Reading XML with QXmlStreamReader     388
Reading XML with DOM     395
Reading XML with SAX     400
Writing XML     404
Providing Online Help     407
Tooltips, Status Tips, and "What's This?" Help     407
Using a Web Browser to Provide Online Help     409
Using QTextBrowser as a Simple Help Engine     411
Using Qt Assistant for Powerful Online Help     414
Advanced Qt
Internationalization     419
Working with Unicode     420
Making Applications Translation-Aware     423
Dynamic Language Switching     429
Translating Applications     435
Look and Feel Customization     439
Using Qt Style Sheets     439
Subclassing QStyle     454
3D Graphics     471
Drawing Using OpenGL     471
Combining OpenGL and QPainter     477
Doing Overlays Using Framebuffer Objects     484
Creating Plugins     491
Extending Qt with Plugins     492
Making Applications Plugin-Aware      502
Writing Application Plugins     505
Application Scripting     509
Overview of the ECMAScript Language     510
Extending Qt Applications with Scripts     519
Implementing GUI Extensions Using Scripts     523
Automating Tasks through Scripting     530
Platform-Specific Features     543
Interfacing with Native APIs     543
Using ActiveX on Windows     547
Handling X11 Session Management     559
Embedded Programming     567
Getting Started with Qt/Embedded Linux     568
Customizing Qt/Embedded Linux     570
Integrating Qt Applications with Qtopia     571
Using Qtopia APIs     576
Appendixes
Obtaining and Installing Qt     589
Building Qt Applications     593
Introduction to Qt Jambi     605
Introduction to C++ for Java and C# Programmers     623
Index     665
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Preface

Qt is a comprehensive C++ application development framework for creating cross-platform GUI applications using a "write once, compile anywhere" approach. Qt lets programmers use a single source tree for applications that will run on Windows 98 to Vista, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, and many other versions of Unix with X11. The Qt libraries and tools are also part of Qt/Embedded Linux, a product that provides its own window system on top of embedded Linux.

The purpose of this book is to teach you how to write GUI programs using Qt 4. The book starts with "Hello Qt" and quickly progresses to more advanced topics, such as creating custom widgets and providing drag and drop. The text is complemented by a set of examples that you can download from the book's web site, http://www.informit.com/title/0132354160. Appendix A explains how to download and install the software, including a free C++ compiler for those using Windows.

The book is divided into three parts. Part I covers all the fundamental concepts and practices necessary for programming GUI applications using Qt. Knowledge of this part alone is sufficient to write useful GUI applications. Part II covers central Qt topics in greater depth, and Part III provides more specialized and advanced material. You can read the chapters of Parts II and III in any order, but they assume familiarity with the contents of Part I. The book also includes several appendixes, with Appendix B showing how to build Qt applications and Appendix C introducing Qt Jambi, the Java version of Qt.

The first Qt 4 edition of the book built on the Qt 3 edition, although it was completely revised to reflect good idiomatic Qt 4 programming techniques and included new chapters on Qt 4's model/view architecture, the new plugin framework, embedded programming with Qt/Embedded Linux, and a new appendix. This extended and revised second edition has been thoroughly updated to take advantage of features introduced in Qt versions 4.2 and 4.3, and includes new chapters on look and feel customization and application scripting as well as two new appendixes. The original graphics chapter has been split into separate 2D and 3D chapters, which between them now cover the new graphics view classes and QPainter's OpenGL back-end. In addition, much new material has been added to the database, XML, and embedded programming chapters.

This edition, like its predecessors, emphasizes explaining Qt programming and providing realistic examples, rather than simply rehashing or summarizing Qt's extensive online documentation. Because the book teaches solid Qt 4 programming principles and practices, readers will easily be able to learn the new Qt modules that come out in Qt 4.4, Qt 4.5, and later Qt 4.x versions. If you are using one of these later versions, be sure to read the "What's New in Qt 4.x" documents in the reference documentation to get an overview of the new features that are available.

We have written the book with the assumption that you have a basic knowledge of C++, Java, or C#. The code examples use a subset of C++, avoiding many C++ features that are rarely needed when programming Qt. In the few places where a more advanced C++ construct is unavoidable, it is explained as it is used. If you already know Java or C# but have little or no experience with C++, we recommend that you begin by reading Appendix D, which provides sufficient introduction to C++ to be able to use this book. For a more thorough introduction to object-oriented programming in C++, we recommend C++ How to Program by P. J. Deitel and H. M. Deitel (Prentice Hall, 2007), and C++ Primer by Stanley B. Lippman, Jos¿Lajoie, and Barbara E. Moo (Addison-Wesley, 2005).

Qt made its reputation as a cross-platform framework, but thanks to its intuitive and powerful API, many organizations use Qt for single-platform development. Adobe Photoshop Album is just one example of a mass-market Windows application written in Qt. Many sophisticated software systems in vertical markets, such as 3D animation tools, digital film processing, electronic design automation (for chip design), oil and gas exploration, financial services, and medical imaging, are built with Qt. If you are making a living with a successful Windows product written in Qt, you can easily create new markets in the Mac OS X and Linux worlds simply by recompiling.

Qt is available under various licenses. If you want to build commercial applica-tions, you must buy a commercial Qt license from Trolltech; if you want to build open source programs, you can use the open source (GPL) edition. The K Desktop Environment (KDE) and most of the open source applications that go with it are built on Qt.

In addition to Qt's hundreds of classes, there are add-ons that extend Qt's scope and power. Some of these products, like the Qt Solutions components, are avail-able from Trolltech, while others are supplied by other companies and by the open source community; see http://www.trolltech.com/products/qt/3rdparty/ for a list of available add-ons. Trolltech's developers also have their own web site, Trolltech Labs (http://labs.trolltech.com/), where they put unofficial code that they have written because it is fun, interesting, or useful. Qt has a well-established and thriving user community that uses the qt-interest mailing list; see http://lists.trolltech.com/ for details.

If you spot errors in the book, have suggestions for the next edition, or want to give us feedback, we would be delighted to hear from you. You can reach us at qt-book@trolltech.com. The errata will be placed on the book's web site http://www.informit.com/title/0132354160.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Innaccurate Examples

    I new the book was .3 evolutions outdated when I bought it (soon to be .4), but I still had high hopes for it. I can still find it useful, but not so much after skimming through the examples.

    When I learn a new language I skim through the entire book, then I find the protions that are relevant to what I want to start with and go from there. It helps me stay in touch with the language because I find an everyday use for it.

    Thankfully this practice has lead to be a rat type coder. I try with what limited knowledge I have first, if that doesn't work I change some things and try again, repeat until frustation ... and then turn to the book. I'll probably always need a book, or documentation of somekind. I still turn to my Python manual from time to time, but that's just me.

    What I needed out of this though it has not fully provided. The code examples have glaring errors. The code's text does not match the picture's presentation of the code. So, today I was trying to work on a new list with columns. The code example's show exactly what I need, but the problem is, the text says they are reimplementing a TreeWidget but the picture says they are using a TableWidget.

    As I said, thankfully I am rat coder. Because if I had not thought outside of the book's box ... I would have learned a schizophrenic lesson.

    I can still use this for a reference when I don't want to use the Offline Docs that I have on my computer, and I will give the book another chance. However, having innaccurate examples really deters the effects I should have received. Unfortunate.

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  • Posted February 25, 2010

    A Great Starting Point for Experienced Developers

    If you have any experience using a C-like language, and some knowledge of GUI frameworks, then this book will be a great foundation for developing applications with Qt. No, not all the examples are "complete", and there are some code typos. But I actually found that most of the chapters follow a very effective layout. You learn some background and concepts, dive into a short example, and then start picking it apart, adding functionality as you learn the details.
    Personally I don't care much for books that print exhaustive multiple-page code samples with some scant guidance before or after the code. This book has much more "meat" on the bones, spending a lot of the text explaining the workings of the library as well as best practices and 'gotchas' to avoid.
    This book can be used as a reference, but the Qt documentation will always be the best source for the nitty-gritty details. And this book doesn't try to be that exhaustive. Instead you are focused on really learning small chunks of features, as well as getting a good feel for how Qt is structured. Once you "get" the Qt mindset, making use of the SDK documentation becomes easier.
    I do recommend you get yourself set up with an effective development environment that can handle the chore of spitting our boilerplate code for you, so that you can focus on implementing the real code samples, and not writing a main() 42 times. You can also make good use of the sample code that ships with the Qt SDK as a starting point for playing around with the subjects presented in this book.
    All told, this is one of the most effective "code along and learn" books I've purchased in a while. The excellent explanations, bite-sized code sample, and thoughtful style make it very easy to sit down for an hour or two and actually read and learn with this book. I've more than gotten my money's worth.

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    Before Prentice Hall got involved it was probably awesome

    As an IT professional, I really hate to see a book layout butchered like this. The authors are highly knowledgeable and skilled with the tool. Too bad the book designers had absolutely no idea how to layout a serious IT book.<BR/><BR/>Prior to chapter 3, this book is greatly miss-leading. They actually printed all of the code so seasoned IT professionals can go through the process of learning by re-keying, then fixing all of their keying errors. Yes, there are lazy bastards out there who won't even bother to compile the code, but anyone who bought the book to actually learn from it is going to be viciously shorted when they hit chapter 3. Most of the source code display switches to 5 line snippets with ... around it once you hit that chapter. The learning ceases.<BR/><BR/>Yes, Prentice Hall provided a Web site where you can download the code. So what? A major portion of the learning process for most IT professionals is being able to see the entire program or source file WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE DISCUSSION. They re-key it into their computers, fix their typos, and the discussion hits home. It is part of a tried and true learning process in place since the early 1980's. There is no "learning" occurring from 5 line snippets, that is "reference" display.<BR/><BR/>I wouldn't be so hard on this book if the title said it was meant to be a reference for experts. The title is focused on learning and the design department at Prentice Hall screwed the pooch.

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