[Development] Puzzled by desktop development priorities, Mac OS specifically [Warning: Rant]

Jan Farø jan.faroe at gmail.com
Fri Jul 12 14:47:50 CEST 2013

Hi all,

this is basically a copy of a post I made on http://qt-project.org/forums, and I was encouraged to post it here as well as to increase the probability of targeting the right audience - you developers.

I have been lurking in the forums for a while, but due to the frustrations I’m having with the state of Qt for Mac OS, I decided to sign up in order to vent those frustratations (and questions) in a place where it actually might help.

I am in the final stages of rewriting a somehow complex (at least for me) application to Qt from Java Swing. The time has come to focus on UI details, and this is where Qt gives me grey hairs. I started out developing in Qt 4.8, and experienced several issues that didn’t work on the Mac (From the top of my head: Overlays on video widgets), or just looked plain wrong in Mac OS context (For example: Table rows with alternate row colors does not extend to the bottom if only containing a few rows; list view items does not scroll properly if setting an item widget).

Hoping that Qt5 would solve some of these problems (apart from reaping benefit from the great added features like JSON and serial device support), I have patiently waited for Qt5 to evolve from beta to 5.1 at the current point. Still, I’m seeing the same issues. Still. On top of that, classes like QtSingleApplication are not yet there. The unified toolbar on the Mac is gone, externalized to qtmacextras, which is still not ready. Compiling the latest version is not possible because of errors.

Bottom line is that creating a professionally looking/behaving application on the Mac is not yet possible with Qt 5.1, and not with Qt 4.8 either if requiring certain features – unless you know how to fix the underlying problems, and I certainly don’t.

What I struggle to understand is the strategic choices being made by the team responsible. Now, I am in general very happy about Qt, and I am admiring the effort that is being done. I understand that creating a cross platform framework is an incredibly complex task, even more so on the UI side. But – seeing versions for iOS and Android being rolled out, seeing funky demos that obviously takes time and effort to develop (the “Live widgets in Castle Wolfenstein” demo comes to mind), I strongly feel that the development priorities are not balanced – especially having in mind that the project is commercially backed.

I do understand that the competition on the mobile market is fierce, and that strategically it’s crucial to roll out support for the mobile platforms as fast as possible. But please, please please… don’t forget the desktop platforms – and don’t forget the Mac. Consolidate the existing platforms, then expand. That would be my strategy; but who am I to say that.

Sorry about the rant – however, I doubt I’m the only one experiencing these frustrations. Is there any timeline of the completion of qtmacextras and QtSingleApplication?

Kind regards,

Jan Faroe

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