IDE like to get it done before Christmas: Qt Creator and Design Studio updated to ramp Qt 6 support

Qt Creator

After pushing out Qt 6 out earlier this month, the Qt team has dragged Qt Creator 4.14 and Qt Design Studio 2.0 across the finish line, thus giving devs the chance to make the most of the framework update.

For its second major release, the team behind Qt’s UI design and prototyping tool Design Studio has looked into various ways to make their project easier to use, taking a clue or two from other graphics software. Users have gained the option to lock items in the navigator, so that they can’t be modified until unlocked again to protect them from unintended alterations, and rotate them in the form editor instead of having to switch to properties.

Since devs and designers are meant to use Design Studio together, folks with a more design-oriented background can now reverse the order of items in the navigator, which might make it more intuitive to use for them. The standard navigator order is dictated by the items’ order in the QML code, which at times isn’t not too helpful for those who don’t want to dive into the sources.

To give non-coders more ways to engage in projects, Qt Design Studio also includes some Logic Helpers now, which are building blocks to map numbers to strings, set up bindings, or implement conditions for items without having to revert to JavaScript. 

Speaking of items, there have been some changes to the way 2D effects work, which means they are now children of the item they affect and can’t be found in the item hierarchy anymore. This also brings about some changes for designers who like to layer effects: since this isn’t supported in a single item yet, “it is required to stack multiple items with one effect applied to each item” if you would like to combine a mask and a blur for example. 

Design Studio now also generates thumbnails for custom components, so it is easier to find them in crowded overviews. 

Privacy focused devs should be aware that Design Studio now ships with a crash reporter based on Google Crashpad and a Telemetry Plugin to collect crash and user data to further improve the project. Both have to be explicitly enabled to forward data, but it is worth mentioning nonetheless. Qt Bridges has been fitted with functionality to allow development teams to import designs from Figma, and last but not least, there’s experimental support for Qt 6. 

Support for the latest Qt framework iteration is also included in the Qt Creator update. Other than that version 4.14 of the IDE doesn’t feature any major enhancements, though the team has been quite busy adding helpers and squashing bugs to improve the experience for C++ developers, and improving the dark themes.

Teams that use variables for external tools and configuration items need to be aware that “CurrentProject:*” variables have been renamed to “CurrentDocument:Project:*”. As a consequence the old names will be removed “at some point”, so getting acquainted with the new naming conventions might be a good idea. If you had trouble opening qmake-based projects before, a new option to “Ignore qmake’s system() function when parsing a project” in the Build & Run section of the tool could be worth a look as well.