Qt Creator


Reviewed: Linux isn't short of a few integrated development environments, but if your chosen development arena happens to be Qt, and/or KDE, the only viable option for the last eleven years has been KDevelop. KDevelop is a powerful application that supports many more languages than just C++, but the bewildering array of icons, panels, tabs, menus and windows are likely to scare beginners back to Blitz Basic.

There's a new version of KDevelop on the horizon, but Nokia has beaten them to the punch with Qt Creator, which comes included in the latest release of Qt 4.5 - that's the one with the LGPL licence.

Qt Creator: nothing if not pretty.

Qt Creator: nothing if not pretty.

In the beginning

Qt Creator has been designed to offer the programmer a smooth, integrated and powerful development environment. For the first time with Qt, you can create the GUI, write the code and debug your project from within the same application.

The killer feature is the embedded version of Qt Designer. Its inclusion means you can drag Qt widgets into the blank canvas of your application and switch to the source code immediately. To create a simple web browser, for instance, just drop the WebKit widget into your application, switch to the main window's source file and add the functionality you need.

As you would expect, Qt Creator comes with Qt Designer embedded and ready for action.

As you would expect, Qt Creator comes with Qt Designer embedded and ready for action.

You don't have to worry about precompilers or adding the user-interface to the Makefile - Qt Creator does that for you. Just click on the large Play button to compile your code and run the app.

But it's the source code editor where you'll spend most of your time, and Qt Creator offers one of the nicest we've used. It looks and feels very similar to KDE's Kate, and includes syntax highlighting, function and bracket folding and code completion.

Qt Creator's ability to get inside your code and link to documentation is superb.

Qt Creator's ability to get inside your code and link to documentation is superb.

Instant feedback

While you're typing, any obvious errors are highlighted in exactly the same way that spelling errors are highlighted in OpenOffice.org, and compilation errors switch you to the problematic chunk of code. This all happens instantly, and the whole application is snappy and responsive to use.

The search function has taken a hint from Firefox, helpfully highlighting every occurrence in the document. Unfortunately the Replace field to the right of Search is the closest Qt Creator gets to offering any kind of refactoring - this feature has been promised, but this is one area where the latest KDevelop alphas beat Qt Creator hands down.

There are plenty of small usability features. Hold the cursor over a section of folded code and a pop-up window displays its contents. All the methods in the current file are listed in the location bar above the editor, and you can quickly switch between a methods declaration in the header file and its definition in the .cpp file by pressing Shift+F2. Debugging is equally smooth, and Qt Creator makes better sense of the Qt API than gdb alone.

Set breakpoints then pause execution whenever you need to - Qt Creator brings everything together under one app.

Set breakpoints then pause execution whenever you need to - Qt Creator brings everything together under one app.

Another aspect to this release that we really like is a side-effect of Qt's cross-platform compatibility. Simply 'make clean' a project, move it to either OS X or Windows, open it in a local Qt Creator and the app will compile. This cross-platform ability brings out the best in Qt, and the best in Qt Creator. It's an IDE that fits Qt development in a way way that only Qt developers could envisage, and we like it.

Verdict: Finally, Qt developers have an IDE that knows how to work with Qt without any further messing about. 9/10

You should follow us on Identi.ca or Twitter

Your comments

Works great

I've been using Qt Creator for a while, and every release (~2-4 weeks) is amazingly better. If you ever want to make a Qt program, this is hands down the way to do it.

It does!

Im working with it for some time. Its greate!

Looks like visual basic to

Looks like visual basic to me :-)


Only 1.0 version. I waiting for 2.0 or 3.0

The thing is - I know that

The thing is - I know that Qt Creator may be perfect for qt and C++, but what about other languages?

I spend most of my time doing work with scripting languages, and a very few time spent on C (and then I use vim because I have setup vim perfectly for C... I would wish other editors would however learn some tidbits of vim features. Not only the keybindings, but the whole insert stuff and re-arranging code parts, really rocks)

Is the name (_Qt_ Creator) a

Is the name (_Qt_ Creator) a dead give away? I mean it is obviously made with Qt dev. in mind, qt being c++ that's okay also, but I suspect there are better tools for other languages and scripting.

And yea, I've been using it for a while to do my work, it's great!

Shame its not within the Eclipse framework

This is good news but also bad news - it seems shortsighted to develop an entire IDE and not leverage all of the work that has gone into Eclipse and CDT

Maybe in version 2.0..

Looks like their should be a hudzilla tyep tutorial on the way ?

Go on ! This looks like the kind of stuff that a nice tuxradar Hudzilla tutorial would be made of ....(or a Linux Format tutorial for that matter !)

Qt for Eclipse

How have all of you missed out on the Qt plug-in for Eclipse? It does all the things this author describes, but in Eclipse.

Poor syntax highlight support

It can't even highlight Lua, a not all too uncommon language to be using. A friend tried it and apparently it scales to large files quite poorly too.

Remember what does "Deploy everywhere" means - your code will run great, but chances are it'll look crap on other platforms. Including almost half of Linux installs, with gtk integration in 4.5 being buggy.

(*cough* nevermind that different platforms have different interface design guidelines)

Amazing IDE

I love Qt Creator and use it almost every day. Highly recommend it!

I think the review was ok,

I think the review was ok, but the comment about dissing Blitz Basic is a little arrogant. Blitz Basic supports many advanced functions that you would not normally find in a normal basic programming language.

There have been IDE's for Qt

There have been IDE's for Qt around for years.
To name some : Monkeystudio, Eduyck...

They aren't perfect, but at least, they are open source...

Can the windows version build WIN32 C apps?

I imagine that the Windows version includes gcc and builds Windows QT binaries. But can you use use it to replace VS6 for building a WIN32 C app?

That would be really nice. Also, it might be the start of a migration path from WIN32 to QT.

I guess that leads to another question. Can QT code somehow coexist in a WIN32 app? If so, that would allow for gradual migration. A migration tutorial would be a great way to get people to take advantage of portable LGPL QT coding. In my case, it's a C app - no MFC stuff - but the answer would be useful either way.

Blitz Basic...

...so does, for that matter, FreeBASIC. I'd rather use the free BASIC that can do that rather than one that costs over £50.

It works, but somehow it's molasses-slow

Apart from all the praise I have a complaint about Qt creator.

I really don't know how they managed it, but Qt designer is molasses-slow at editing on my machine compared to e.g. MS Visual C++. You compile, click on an error, and count to three or four before the file is opened.


Awesome...just what I was looking for all along. LOVE IT !!

Thank god something which is not Eclipse

Eclipse is a slow piece of crap, that can barely boot in a nder a minute, and frequently has problems keeping up with my typing. (Yay! Java!) Creator has been nothing but a joy since I started using it.


"Leverage all the work that has gone into CDT"?
Nice idea, but last time I looked Eclipse was only
able to talk to gdb, not the MS debugger on Windows.
That's a hard sell to someone with a customer base
mainly on Windows, using the Microsoft compiler.
The fact that something uses Java does not make it


yet another IDE!!!
Thanks Nokia for LGPLing QT, but it was more appreciated if it was an add-on for Eclipse, like Google did with Android!

At last! An IDE that is

At last! An IDE that is fast, light, smart and offers everything you'd need for the purpose it was made.


I've been looking for an IDE to develop a QT app with on Linux, and I have looked at all of the alternatives.

QT Creator is fine, if you want a very basic IDE. But when you go beyond the Editor/Builder/Debugger combo, it is very short on features. In particular, there is no version control integration, no integrated unit testing facility and no support for project-wide refactoring.

For these features, the best I've found so far is Eclipse + CDT + QT Integration Plugin (from Nokia). Unfortunately, Nokia's plugin doesn't respect the CDT facilities for multiple build configurations, and on my platform at least (Ubuntu Karmic amd64) the plugin fights with CDT during debugging, so it takes 15 seconds to start up a debugging session(!).


Best overall IDE for QT on Linux: Netbeans. (But refactoring is only on a file-by-file basis.)

Most powerful workflow: Eclipse + CDT + QT Plugin for editing and building, and BeaverDBG (the debugger part of QTCreator build standalone) for debugging, (code.google.com/p/beaverdbg/).

QTCreator will be great in a couple of years when the finish adding all the features.



"No version control integration"? Check reality. I see git, svn, cvs and mercurial. And renaming is working project-wide (no, no dumb search-and-replace, but correct according to the C++ scoping rules)

Eclipse + CDT does not work at all with the Microsoft compiler (let alone debug there), and as you noticed even on the supported platforms debugging is far from great.

And as you noticed BeaverDBG is a plain copy of the Qt Creator code base. Hard to bash one and call the other "part of the Most powerful workflow".

Love it

Beautiful, just beautiful! I have kicked Visual Studio to the curb.

This is hands down the most

This is hands down the most beautiful and usable IDE I've ever used. I never thought I'd say these words but I think it might actually be *perfect*. Things that Eclipse and KDevelop try to create a million toolbar buttons and dialogs for simply just work with minimal effort in Qt Creator.

KDevelop is an absolute steaming pile of turd compared to Qt Creator. The whole point of a GUI is to be intuitive and elegant. KDevelop looks like an abortion on my screen.


Can anyone tell us if this tool set offers "C" compiling only and also the Sun Studio compiler which I now understand is Solaris to provide full ISO C99 compatibility? Or do I have to research this myself? Kidding of course. But if I do not come back with the information hopefully someone else well. So far it appears that there are exceedingly few IDEs that offer full ISO C99 compatibility it appears. Wish me well as I dive through the internet for more minutiae.

Very cool for Qt development

I've been trying this IDE for a few days and I like it very much. It is simple and straightforward, like a plain text editor with extensions to ease Qt development. It is also nice that Qt designer is integrated. If you need quick Qt editing without a dinosaur IDE software platform (it is very efficient with screen real-estate), I can recommend this.

Can't ask for better

I think I'll quit programming in C# (Monodevelop) and choose C++. This amazing and working IDE for C++ is better than a buggy IDE for .NET.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Username:   Password: