One of the most requested new features for Qt Commercial has been a charting component. We have listened and now we have reached a point where we can now release the Qt Commercial Charts 1.0 Tech Preview. We expect that the first official version will be available during June 2012. If you are a Qt Commercial customer, you can easily grab the charts from the Qt Commercial Customer Support Portal and tell us what you think.
When we had the first Qt Commercial customer survey a bit less than a year ago, we noticed that including a charting component was one of the feature requests that was popping up quite frequently and this has been further emphasized in customer discussions we have had. We did some benchmarking in the area and across different technologies. After these we came to a conclusion that we should develop a charting add-on that would fulfill the following high-level requirements:
- We should support the most common chart types:
- Dynamic data drawing
- Drilldown and Zoom functionality
- Visually pleasing
- Pre-defined, good-looking themes
- Look & feel fully customizable
- Simple API
- You should be able to show a basic line chart with few lines of code
- Good documentation and example applications
- Small memory footprint enabling also embedded use
Look & Feel Customization and Themes
We have placed special focus on easy theming of the charts so that changing the look & feel of the charts requires only a change of one line of code. Included in the preview of the Qt Commercial Charts are 7 different themes for different UI styles. If these themes do not meet your requirements, all colors and fill attributes can naturally be accessed through the API’s and modified as needed.
Interactive Chart Applications
When doing the analysis, we also noticed that many of the existing Chart libraries are developed for static use cases where the chart is generated from a static data and no interaction mechanism is provided. However, we see that presenting live data and implementing dynamic zooming in/out and data drilldown is one of the key requirements of today’s user interfaces. This kind of functionality is becoming more and more important as we are seeing that touch-based user interfaces in tablets, embedded systems and even in desktops, are becoming the de-facto UI input method.
Have a look at our short intro to the Qt Commercial Charts in the following video:
C++ and QML API’s
We expect that the charts will be used most commonly from Qt widget applications and therefore this has been the primary focus of immediate development. Of course, it has been clear from the very start of the development that also Qt Quick bindings will be introduced for the final version and we will provide an easy migration path between these technologies.
Take it for a Test Drive
The Qt Commercial Charts 1.0 Tech Preview is available as a source code delivery in the Qt Commercial Customer Support portal. The Qt Commercial Charts add-on is included in the Qt Commercial License, so they are free to use by all our licensees. Full API Documentation and a set of example applications are also included for enabling a quick start with the charts.
Practice Makes Perfect – Things to Note
As we are still in the middle of the development phase, there are areas that are only partly functional. For example, the Qt Quick bindings are in a quite early phase of development. Also, there is a lot of room for performance optimization e.g. in using large data sets, animations and fast pace dynamic data drawing. Also, Qt Designer Plug-in implementation is not included in the preview. Please see the readme file included in the package for detailed information about the known issues.
We will be issuing a quick survey in early May for those who have downloaded the preview version so that the feedback can be used as the basis for the development of the future versions.
Not a Qt Commercial Customer Yet?
You can test out the Qt Commercial Charts 1.0 Tech Preview and the rest of Qt Commercial by downloading a 30-day free evaluation of Qt Commercial 4.8.1. Let us know what you think!
Source Digia’s Qt Commercial Blog