Qt: developing in a breez…IT

Nicola Brisotto is the first guest to post to “Lost in Consulting”.
Nicola is a young entrepreneur, a great mobile expert with huge expetize on development over several platforms.
He has founded BREEZIT (http://www.breezit.net/)offering consulting services on web and mobile apps development, with a specific focus on Qt.
Nicola is CTO at GoWar, a social location-based strategy game for the iPhone. GoWar won the Venice Startup Weekend and is now being developed by a team of 7.

When Nokia announced its strategy based on Qt frame work, i reminded you predicted that more than one year ago. How do you feel about that? How have you prepared in the meantime?
In June 2008 Nokia has acquired Trolltech. I understood they wanted to focus on the Qt framework. I have invested a lot of time doing Qt development and attending Qt related events (Qt devdays, Kde Akademy, etc).
I am following the emerging MeeGo project (I am writing from the MeeGo conference in Doublin).
MeeGo is the next big thing in the mobile world but not only. It can be the basis of new devices far beyond next-generation netbooks and handsets.
I think there is a lot of momentum around Qt and I feel I took the right direction / I feel that I am moving in the right direction.

Nokia states this will guarantee continuity to Symbian and MeeGo products; in which sense this is true and in which it is not?

[Nicola]I think that Qt can grant an application requiring really little effort to be adapted to a different platform. This is true if you use only the Qt API, while portability problems are still there when you use other API. Symbian and MeeGo have different tools and platform API, If you need to do something that Qt doesn’t support the continuity is broken.

Could you give us three pluses for a developer to choose Qt direction?
Webkit integration first! It’s really easy integrate your c++ code into a web page.
Qt Quick: create amazing user interface using a javascipt based language.
Cross platform: reuse your experience out of the mobile world.

What are the main differences from Qt webkit and others currently available? What would you recommend?
From a developer point of view, QtWebKit is the easiest WebKit port. Easy to build, with few dependencies, easy to edit and debug and available on the most platforms. Other aspects depend on the platform you’re using: the Safari port is good on mac, the Chromium is good on the chrome browser, the Gtk may be good on windows, etc.
Regarding the speed they are pretty much the same: all the painting is done through a platform abstraction layer so the more the port is making use of the underlying technology (the Safari and Chrome are particularly good on that), the more the performance will shine.
Finally from a web developer point of view, they’re all about the same… some will get a new feature sooner, other later, but you can expect that within 6 months every major feature will be shipped in all the WebKit ports.

How do you judge the current hardware strategy? Memory and processors available even in recently launched devices is not comparable with LG, SE or HTC devices for Android. Are we comparing the wrong opponents or do you think there is something else?
iSuppli posted their cost breakdown of the Nokia N8 ($187.47) and 16GB iPhone 4 ($187.51), they are the basically the same. I think Nokia is investing more on other features than memory and processor: a good camera, a good enclosure and a good oled display. Up to now they have problems to compete only on the os/application side, I think this is a stratyegy to survive until the release of a device with meego.

Some developers complain that Qt is a way to phase out Java ME? What about you?
I think Java on Symbian will be maintained for compatibility for the time being, but please note that there are no future plans to support Java on MeeGo. The message is clear: don’t create a new application with java!

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