Tizen and Qt [EN]

25. March 2014

Tizen is an operating system based on Linux and is aimed for devices like tablets, smartphones, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), Smart TVs and laptops. It has started as LiMo project, a collaboration of Samsung and Enlightment Foundation Libraries (EFL) to develop a new operating system for mobile phones and tablets. After Intel joined the effort in 2011 the project has been renamed to Tizen.

The development is overseen by Tizen Association (formery LiMo Foundation), whose members include NEC, Panasonic, Samsung, Vodafone, ARM, Gemalto, Huawei, Mozilla and other companies. The project is also supported by the Linux Foundation.

Samsung Gear 2 So far there are only a few devices actually running Tizen, but it can be installed and has been seen running on various devices. Except for the official Tizen Developer Devices, recent snapshots of Tizen can be installed for example on Galaxy S2 and S4. Last year on the Tizen conference in San Francisco Intel showed their UltraBook running Tizen 3 (which is still under development).

On MWC 2014 in Barcelona Samsung has introduced Gear 2 SmartWatches and unveiled a new smart phone, both powered by Tizen. Tizen as a platform comes in several different flavours, each focusing on different specific use: smartphones, Smart TVs, IVI and newly Wearable. Tizen for IVI is being supported by a non-profit organization GENIVI which is backed by BMW, General Motors, Jaguar, Nissan, Intel and others.

Two frameworks are provided to application developers to create applications for Tizen: native C++ API and Web API for development of HTML5 applications. Samsung has released IDE based on the well-known Eclipse IDE for both native and HTML5 applications development. Thanks to Tizen being a standard-compliant Linux-based system, it makes it possible to port or even directly deploy various frameworks, libraries and tools to the platform without much effort. One of the frameworks that have gained support for Tizen is Qt.

Qt

Qt is an opensource cross-platform application framework widely used for development of C++ GUI applications. Qt has been conceived in 1991 and has been maintained and developed for many years by Norwegian company Trolltech. Although it has always focused primarily on development of desktop applications, it has a long history of use on mobile devices.

In 2008 Trolltech has been bought by Nokia, which has been working on their own Linux-based operating system aroun this time called Maemo (and later MeeGo) and wanted to have it running on all their future smartphones. These systems were available on several Nokia N-series phones, most notably the N900, N950 (for developers only) and N9 devices.

When Nokia decided to abandon their plans in 2011 and focus on Windows Phone instead, Qt has then been sold to Digia, which now employs many Qt developers and experts and provides tranings and technical support for Qt. Qt applications are developed in C++ (but API bindigs for other languages, like Python are available) and QML, a declarative language for easy and fast development of modern user interfaces that builds on top of Qt. Qt ships it’s own IDE called Qt Creator, which has a very good support for both C++ and QML, integrated UI designer, debugger and also supports direct deployment and debugging of applications onto several mobile platforms.

Qt is stable, mature and well-established framework for application developer, used in Autodesk Maya, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Skype, and VLC media player. It is also used by European Space Agency, DreamWorks, Google, HP, LucasFilm, Panasonics, Philips, Samsung, Siemens, Volvo, and other major companies.

It’s last notable success in mobile world is in BlackBerry 10, whose UI and applications are all completely written in Qt and QML. Qt is very popular among developers for it’s simple use, steep learning curve and distinctly complete and thorough documentation. In next blog posts we will show how to build Qt and Qt Creator for Tizen and how to develop a simple Qt-based application for Tizen.

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