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Qt Designer – (Qt)Quick Overview

Have you ever wondered what type of programmer you are, which way of coding will you choose, or even what design method suits you best? Talking about UI (User Interface) development is an ever-changing subject. The way frontend developers build windows, dialogs, pages or the custom items is completely different from how we used to do it a couple of years ago. It is hard to imagine how the views were created using low-level procedural languages like C, which requires tremendous effort to create multi-window applications. Certain ways of coding have been improved over time and new languages have been introduced providing a standard way to build and deploy applications, called frameworks afterward.

Nowadays, while many application operations are being handled on the client-side, frontend developer is undoubtedly needed. Such a person is expected to know one of many declarative languages, especially JavaScript, even when programming in languages like C++ – it is JavaScript that constitutes an integral part of the QtQuick framework and handles imperative aspects under the Qt Modeling Language (QML) layer.

Focusing on the Qt, it should be emphasized that this cross-platform and full-featured IDE (Integrated Development Environment) allows users to scale above the code and make connected UIs, applications, or even devices. One of its noteworthy features is Qt Designer. Built-in Qt Creator application view offers to create Forms, Integrated GUI layouts, and drag-and-design UI creation. Moreover, combined with a visual debugging and profiling tools, appears to become a dream utility for the frontend developers.

User interface designed in such a way is transformed into generic code, according to the chosen language – QML or C++, and it is called (in case of C++) a widget. Code generation modules are being constantly maintained and improved. For those, who don’t have enough experience in coding such views directly, there is a graphical interface that supports this process. Moreover, documentation provides a significant amount of detailed examples, and the environment encourages us to work with them. The left panel contains categorized UI elements, text labels, bars, buttons, checkboxes, and so on. In the center of the window, the playground is positioned. One can easily drag-n-drop stuff and create one’s own application view with the preferences that are situated on the right panel. What other way would there be to be better off?

Of course, we are still talking about C++ – so there will be developers for whom such development, and that kind of work, is beginning to resemble building the castles in the sandbox. For them, there are sophisticated debugging and profiling features in Qt Designer, which still should be a default steps of the GUI implementation process. We think that experienced programmers more often choose the direct way of developing application views. It may also be the case that performance plays an important role in the application runtime and then, code optimizations may turn out to be unavoidable. We do not believe that this process can be rate as effortless, but only that way developers could customize every variable with an appropriate name and organize the code with a surgical precision according to their wishes.

In conclusion, QtDesigner presents a user-friendly environment to create complete application UI. With the help of code generation modules, developers can easily create customized views, even with low programming skills. Summarizing, QtDesigner has some limitations, but still can provide robust solutions.

Let us know, what do you think or share with us your knowledge: