Qt4 IDEs

Posted by in Software

Note: This is a post transferred from Laurii for historical and consolidation purposes.

Qt4 is quite a nice piece of work. too bad that not too many devel tools actually support it in a decent way… I’ve tried:

  • kdevelop
  • nedit/emacs
  • Cobras
  • Monkey Studio
  • eclipse

I’ve got yet to try

  • QDevelop which looks nice
  • Visual Studio

Here’s a summary of these tools:

Kdevelop

I’ve tried kdevelop off kde4 (3.80) to no avail… Why does it have a D-Bus dependency??? Kdevelop off kde 3.x (3.5.5 here) is an impressive tool. Looks and behaves very well and it’s also nicely designed. However, there are some glitches:

  • It only supports a subset of QMake (for qmake projects)
  • It’s bad if you try to change .pro files by hand, as it alters them as it sees fit
  • Same goes for accidentally clicking on .ui files. It tries to launch the Qt 3.x designer, and you end up with invalid .ui files

This being said, I think it has lots of potential, but it’s taking lots of time and energy to memorize and fix .pro files over and over again…

Plain editors

One would argue that’s the way to go (I know about 3 people myself who do things this way). You do have absolute control over everything… you need to spend the same time on effective Qt coding as on writing up configuration files. Since my purpose in life is not learning all useful qmake commands, I leave this as a very last option.

Cobras

This is quite nice and very close to my option of a Qt4 IDE. Unfortunately, it’s in early stages of development:

  • It has changed my .pro files to something I didn’t like.
  • Also it doesn’t really supported my layout with custom output targets.
  • a bunch of options are not fully functional

Update: This is old-ware. Last release was in 2009

Monkey Studio

It’s my tool of choice so far, mainly because “it just worked” on my .pro layout almost with no changes. also it only rearranged my project files as indenting & stuff. Few interesting choices (aka. “features”):

  • on pressing “Enter”, all file is re-indented automatically. IMO “bad boo-boo” when people are used with a different behaviour in am editor. Also, it makes very difficult to support all strange syntaxes available in C++ (like nested #ifdef statements)
  • lots of real estate wasted with black borders showing the current file name

The main plus I think is the 2-layer nesting: all files are grouped in a java-style at top level (a single tab per class). Unfortunately this has 2 drawbacks:

  • there is a toolbar thing per tab to be able to view the .c, the .h or the .ui… which wastes a lot of real estate horizontally
  • there is an inconsistency with the tree navigation, which is still in the header/sources/ui topology.

Eclipse

What an impressive IDE. Even if it’s written in Java… Unfortunately, no one yet has written a plugin to harness it’s awesome power with Qt4. It would probably be the absolute devel tool.

I’ve tried to use the C++ project, but without the qmake management, I have to admit I’ve quit on it pretty quick.

QDevelop

I have to admit that I’ve tried it a while ago to no avail. But looking at the site again, it looks it has made improvements…

Currently I’m too happy with my setup to change anything, because I just got the project in a stable set and I just deal with creating .h and .c++ files

Visual Studio

I hear it’s ok to merge VS with Qt 4 (not sure if there’s substantial integration with qmake makefiles). Since my project is a Linux one (unix exclusively), I’ve not pondered on this combination too much.. and I won’t until D-Bus gets usable on windows…


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