With Sun pushing JavaFX Desktop 1.0 out into the Rich Internet Application space last week (and Microsoft’s Silverlight & Adobe’s AIR already out there), the blending of the web with the desktop has never been such a hot topic. It’s no big surprise then to see a whole barrel of publicity surrounding cross-platform application frameworks being talked about.
This is the kind of technology that is purported to enable developers to create applications that blend content from the web itself into native desktop and mobile applications. The goal being, ideally, to create a consistent user experience across Windows, Macintosh and Linux systems (and on mobile devices too) so that we all stay happy.
As wary as we should all be of any company claiming to hold the ‘de facto standard’ in any field (is Bud really the “King” of beers I wonder?), the company grabbing more than their fare share of headlines in this space is Trolltech with its cutely named “Qt” product.
Trolltech says that it is striving to provide a common framework to deliver applications and services across both desktops and devices. The company’s recent 4.4 release now also embraces devices running Windows Embedded CE. This means that cross-platform in this sense now embodies devices from smartphones and barcode readers to consumer products like set-top boxes and digital picture frames.
The analysts seem to be behind this. “The market is continually creating a higher bar for deploying increasingly graphically rich applications on a multitude of different devices,” said Al Hilwa, program director at IDC. “Giving developers a single platform for development across desktop operating systems and embedded platforms can help speed the timely process of taking code from desktop to desktop, desktop to embedded, or embedded to embedded.”
An interesting (I hope) final point is that Qt 4.4 is available under Trolltech’s standard dual-licensing approach and for developers creating open source applications, it is available under the GPL (both version 2 and 3).