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 XML, using subclassing, composition, and more. Whether you're new to Qt or upgrading from an older version, this book can help you accomplish everything that Qt 4.3 makes possible.

  • Completely updated throughout, with significant new coverage of databases, XML, and Qtopia embedded programming
  • 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

Part I: Basic Qt

1. Getting Started 3

Hello Qt 3

Making Connections 5

Laying Out Widgets 6

Using the Reference Documentation 10

2. 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

3. Creating Main Windows 45

Subclassing QMain Window 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

4. 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 QTableWidget Item 95

5. Creating Custom Widgets 105

Customizing QtWidgets 105

Subclassing QWidget 107

Integrating Custom Widgets with QtDesigner 117

Double Buffering 121

Part II: Intermediate Qt

6. 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

7. Event Processing 167

Reimplementing Event Handlers 167

Installing Event Filters 172

Staying Responsive during Intensive Processing 175

8. 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

9. Drag and Drop 227

Enabling Drag and Drop 227

Supporting Custom Drag Types 232

Clipboard Handling 237

10. Item View Classes 239

Using the Item View Convenience Classes 240

Using Predefined Models 247

Implementing Custom Models 252

Implementing Custom Delegates 266

11. Container Classes 273

Sequential Containers 274

Associative Containers 282

Generic Algorithms 285

Strings, Byte Arrays, and Variants 287

12. Input/Output 295

Reading and Writing Binary Data 296

Reading and Writing Text 301

Traversing Directories 307

Embedding Resources 308

Inter-Process Communication 309

13. Databases 315

Connecting and Querying 316

Viewing Tables 322

Editing Records Using Forms 324

Presenting Data in Tabular Forms 330

14. Multithreading 339

Creating Threads 340

Synchronizing Threads 343

Communicating with the Main Thread 349

Using Qt's Classes in Secondary Threads 356

15. Networking 359

Writing FTP Clients 359

Writing HTTP Clients 368

Writing TCP Client-Server Applications 371

Sending and Receiving UDP Datagrams 381

16. XML 387

Reading XML with QXmlStream Reader 388

Reading XML with DOM 395

Reading XML with SAX 400

Writing XML 404

17. Providing Online Help 407

Tooltips, Status Tips, and "What's This?" Help 407

Using a Web Browser to Provide Online Help 409

Using QText Browser as a Simple Help Engine 411

Using QtAssistant for Powerful Online Help 414

Part III: Advanced Qt

18. Internationalization 419

Working with Unicode 420

Making Applications Translation-Aware 423

Dynamic Language Switching 429

Translating Applications 435

19. Look and Feel Customization 439

Using Qt Style Sheets 439

Subclassing QStyle 454

20. 3D Graphics 471

Drawing Using OpenGL 471

Combining OpenGL and QPainter 477

Doing Overlays Using Framebuffer Objects 484

21. Creating Plugins 491

Extending Qt with Plugins 492

Making Applications Plugin-Aware 502

Writing Application Plugins 505

22. Application Scripting 509

Overview of the ECMA Script Language 510

Extending Qt Applications with Scripts 519

Implementing GUI Extensions Using Scripts 523

Automating Tasks through Scripting 530

23. Platform-Specific Features 543

Interfacing with Native APIs 543

Using ActiveX on Windows 547

Handling X11 Session Management 559

24. 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

A. Obtaining and Installing Qt 589

B. Building Qt Applications 593

C. Introduction to Qt Jambi 605

D. 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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