Digia has released a major update to Qt Enterprise Embedded, the fully-integrated, tailored solution that supports software development for embedded devices. The Qt Enterprise Embedded update introduces several new features intended to further increase developer efficiency, application and device performance and that ultimately shortens software embedded development time to just hours.
Qt Enterprise Embedded looks to bring greater flexibility to embedded development allowing engineers to create high-performing and modern UIs and applications with built-in productivity enhancing tools for fast, easy, fully-integrated embedded device application development. The pre-configured embedded development environment, pre-built Qt optimised software stack for immediate deployment to Qt Enterprise Embedded verified reference boards allows users to get up and running and have a working embedded project prototype from day one. It supports the key requirements for high performance with optimisable native C++ libraries and minimal footprint while providing a flexible, full-framework modular architecture to deliver unparalleled scalability.
The major update unveiled at Embedded World provides developers targeting embedded Linux with greater flexibility and ease when it comes to taking their prototype quickly into production by simply building their own stack using the Yocto Project tooling with an included selection of Qt-optimized recipes. Developers will also notice several improvements to the emulator boosting productivity and performance. First, the built-in emulator has received a significant update where it now utilizes native graphics acceleration on the host computer allowing applications to run at least as fast on the emulator as on the real device. Lastly, sensor emulation is now supported enabling developers to easily test how their application reacts to various sensor inputs.
In addition, the update integrates the Qt Virtual Keyboard, which provides a solid base for use in a variety of embedded devices, especially those with a touchscreen UI. Fully licensed under Qt Enterprise Embedded, it can be incorporated in, and deployed with, all kinds of embedded products without concerns over third party license compatibility. The keyboard can also be extended with commercial and open source spell checkers and word prediction engines. It allows for a fully custom visual appearance and is scalable to different screen sizes and resolutions. Two example layout appearances are included – one modern and one retro style.
The release also strengthens the out-of-the-box customisable UI controls providing a powerful set of pre-defined Quick Enterprise Controls, a library of pre-defined, customisable UI controls to accelerate UI development. Designers and developers can choose existing controls and customize or extend them to match the desired look-and-feel of their user interface. Available items include: circular gauge, straight gauge, delay button, pie menu, dial and toggle button, switch, slider, progress bar, checkbox and several other controls needed to make modern, touch-optimized user interfaces.
The convenient out-of-the-box development environment is intended to free developers from having to compile the required libraries to device and provides an advantageous develop-deploy-debug workflow. The self-contained pre-configured development environment is installed and updated through a single online installer and features a full Qt Creator IDE. Development is done with Qt Enterprise libraries and device deployment can be achieved with one click directly from Qt Creator to a target connected via USB or network. Alternatively, the application can be deployed to the built-in emulator on the host system that is running the same software stack as the target device easing the development workflow.
The Qt Enterprise Embedded software stack (Boot to Qt) is a lightweight, Qt-optimised, full software stack that is installed on the target hardware. The stack is supplied for embedded Android and embedded Linux for a number of different reference HW configurations. The embedded Android variant, which is based on the Android kernel and selected middleware, is a lean software stack where Qt/QML replaces the entire top Java layer including graphics and the Dalvik VM. It also has the Zygote process layer and Android home screen removed, enabling better customisation of the device’s user experience.
The Qt Enterprise Embedded pre-built software stack supports several reference platforms providing a pre-built out-of-the-box image via the installer. This allows for easy prototyping and test deployment shortening time to market for a variety of complex projects. Qt Enterprise Embedded provides the following verified reference platforms: BeagleBone Black (new in this update), Beagle Board xM, Raspberry Pi, Boundary Devices SabreLite, Google Nexus 7 and x86 PC. Other hardware is also supported and customised by Digia and its services partners.