C++ GUI Programming with Qt 4 (2e)

Author: Jasmin Blanchette & Mark Summerfield
Publisher: Prentice Hall,  2nd Edition,  2008
Pages: 752
ISBN: 978-0132354165
Aimed at: Qt beginners
Rating: 4
Pros: A clearly-written and authoritative tome
Cons: Tendency to be repetitive
Reviewed by: Mike James

Qt is gaining in importance by being used in mobile phone development. Is this book a good way to find out about it?

Author: Jasmin Blanchette & Mark Summerfield
Publisher: Prentice Hall,  2nd Edition,  2008
Pages: 752
ISBN: 978-0132354165
Aimed at: Qt beginners
Rating: 4
Pros: A clearly-written and authoritative tome
Cons: Tendency to be repetitive
Reviewed by: Mike James


Qt is gaining in importance because, not only is it a good cross-platform GUI framework, but it is being used in mobile phone development environments as a way of providing a platform-independent user interface. This book is probably the standard introduction to the topic - it's big, it's clearly written and it's a hardback. It also should be authoritative as one of the authors works for Trolltech, the company behind Qt, and the book is "Officially approved by Trolltech". I suppose that makes it the official Qt book but this doesn't necessarily mean it's the best.

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It starts off nice and gently with an introduction to getting started with Qt that almost anyone could follow. It helps if you have used another GUI framework like Swing or WPF, but the concepts are not complicated. The examples are all reasonably short and the format is to show the program and then discuss it in detail. This approach works well for the introductory material but it can become a little repetitive as the book moves on.

After an introduction to Qt the book moves on to consider the basic things you have to do to create a UI - dialog boxes, main windows, menus, custom widgets and so on.

Part II is titled "Intermediate Qt" and deals with only slightly more advanced ideas  - layout, events, 2D graphics, drag-and-drop and so on. It then moves into less obviously UI areas - containers, input/output, database, multi-threading, networking, XML and implementing help. All of the topics are focused on either using Qt's classes or on how the topic relates to using the Qt classes.

The final section is, unsurprisingly called "Advanced Qt". It covers topics such as Internationalization, look and feel customisation, 3D graphics, plugins, scripting and platform specific features. In the main none of this stuff is particularly advanced - just less frequently used.

Overall this is a good book on Qt but it does have the feel of a college textbook. Whether this is a good or bad feature depends on your attitude. It does tend to be focused on the small architecture of Qt rather than providing you with an overview and there are still lots of topics left untouched. It doesn't take you off the beaten track - its more like a commentary on the documentation than an exploration.

The best way to sum up the book? It's more a staple than an exotic dish. If you want a Qt textbook then this is it.

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Civic Apps Competition Handbook

Author: Kate Eyler-Werve and Virginia Carlson
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 78
ISBN: 978-1449322649
Audience: Organizers of App contests
Rating: 4
Reviewer: Sue Gee

The idea of the Civic App Competition isn't new but it has not yet gone global - although this slim book may act as a catalyst.



C++ Primer, 5th Ed

Author:Stanley B. Lippman, Josée Lajoie and Barbara E. Moo
Publisher: Addison-Wesley
Pages: 976
ISBN: 978-0321714114
Audience: Intermediate programmers
Rating: 4
Reviewer: Mike James

A new edition of a classic C++ book deals with the shock of the new - C++ 11 that is. Can a classic catch up?


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