Digia has launched Qt Enterprise Embedded, a fully-integrated solution that enables users to get started immediately with software development on an embedded device with a tailored user experience. It has been designed to support the key requirements for high performance and minimal footprint while providing a flexible, full-framework modular architecture to deliver unparalleled scalability.
Qt Enterprise Embedded contains all the tools needed for fast, easy, fully-integrated embedded device application development, allowing users to get up and running and focused on writing their own application from day one.
Qt is a cross-platform application and user interface (UI) framework that is able to deliver native development across the most popular operating systems and screens, defragmenting multi-target development. According to Digia Qt will make it easier for developers to create eye-catching applications faster and deploy them on multiple targets in the desktop, embedded and mobile space by simply reusing the same code, reducing development costs and time to market.
Qt comprises two main parts: a development environment and a software stack, called the Boot to Qt Software Stack. The self-contained 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 an emulator on the host system that is running the same software stack as the target device.
The Boot to Qt software stack is a lightweight, Qt-optimised, full software stack that is installed on the target hardware. Installation is accomplished by copying a pre-built image from the development environment on to the target device’s memory card or directly to the device’s internal memory. The stack is supplied in embedded Android and embedded Linux formats.
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 customization of the device’s user experience. The embedded Linux stack uses the traditional Linux kernel and is built using the Yocto Poky reference system.
Qt’s ability to deliver graphics is enhanced by the use of OpenGL ES 2.0, the version of the graphics application programming interface designed specifically for embedded systems and mobile devices. This makes it easier to develop and deploy rich graphics with velvet-like animations and transitions as well as smoothly rendered 2D and 3D animations on devices with relatively limited performance. In addition to the versatile cross-platform Qt APIs, applications built with Qt can also use platform and device-specific APIs directly, giving the developer the freedom to integrate any functionality their application requires.
The Qt Enterprise Embedded development environment runs on Ubuntu Linux 64-bit 12.04 LTS or later. Target hardware supported as standard at time of launch includes: Google Nexus 7 tablet (Tegra 3, ARM Cortex-A9); Beagle Board xM (ARM Cortex-A8); Boundary Devices SabreLite (Freescale i.MX 6); Raspberry Pi Model B (ARM11); and BeagleBone Black (TI AM335x). Digia is also able to port the software stack to custom hardware. The Qt Enterprise Embedded Emulator is included within the development environment.