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on 21 March 2010
C++ GUI Programming with Qt4 by Jasmin Blanchette and Mark Summerfield. Prentice Hall

Qt is a C++ cross platform library. It started out as a GUI library, but it has long outgrown that, and it's starting to look more and more like a comprehensive cross platform framework. It's also gaining new features very fast, which is something of a problem for any author.

None the less, this book will provide application programmers with a solid foundation when they come to use Qt. When I did a comparative review of Qt books on my web site last year I didn't have access to this book. However, I recently used a colleague's copy at work, and found it so much more useful, and comprehensive, than my other Qt books, including the earlier edition of this book, that I bought my own copy out of my first paycheck! What better recommendation could you want?

This book is a must for those who need to use the entire framework, since it covers far more than just the GUI, including multithreading, networking (note, though, that it doesn't cover using the QNetAccessManager, which arrived after the book went to print), 3D graphics, using databases, and extending Qt programs with Javascript.

The one real weakness of the book, probably caused by the rapid development of the framework, is that the GUI material basically assumes that the reader wants to program the GUI facilities directly instead of using Designers and/or Creator. I've noticed that there is a little bit of snobbishness in the Qt community, with the old guard maintaining that the only way to work in Qt is via direct programming. Hopefully the next edition of the book will teach GUI programming via the Creator IDE, and the Designer. Lets just see if we can break the 'real programmers program in noughts and ones' attitude in parts of the community :)

So would I recommend this book? Wholeheartedly. My current job has taken me into realms of the Qt framework I've never used before, and this book enabled me to get up speed very fast under a schedule that was very, very, tight.

Highly recommended.
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on 14 December 2010
I'm afraid I didn't like this book.

The authors seem to have tried to make it be all things to all people; it starts from a (really interesting) history of Qt, then a "Hello world" example, and slowly progresses down to some pretty esoteric features. So, one could say it contains everything one needs to know about Qt.

In so doing though, I feel it fails to be either
- a nice introduction for newbies, or
- a reference book.
Rather, the book sits on a hedge between the two, and I guess it will disappoint people who buy it for either purpose.

Why isn't it a nice introduction for newbies? Well, I think the best text I have ever read was "Programming Windows 3.1" by Charlie Petzold. This is where I learnt writing (admittedly ugly) GUI stuff. That book was brilliant; it took you by the hand and explained everything, with examples, and more importantly, WHY you did things. In contrast, this book rather rapidly glosses over some pretty heavy topics. E.g. signals and slots (the crux of Qt) are covered on pages 6 and 7 of the book; whoever understood this, well, lucky them... It carries on like this. Further, the code fragments are scattered among text, a layout which gets me lost.

And why do I think it isn't a good reference book either? That's because it is not organized as a reference book. The examples are fairly generic (and so they should be), and do not contain the detail one would require from a reference book. Again, the intertwining of text and code doesn't help quickly wending through to find something. I don't think this was supposed to be a reference book anyway; Nokia's open source "Qt Creator" has superb built-in help and lots of nice examples, almost obviating the need for a paper reference book.

Just as I was about to give up on Qt altogether, I thought I'd ask our company's computer guru for help. So I bought pizzas and beer, and invited him for the weekend for a crash course. In a couple of days, he showed me enough preliminaries to get me going and now, about a month later, I consider myself totally at ease with Qt (without having consulted him again after that first weekend).

To conclude:
- Qt is great, easy to learn and easy to use if you are reasonably fluent in C++ and have had some previous experience in GUI programming.
- Qt deserves a book for newbies. This one isn't it. I don't know which one is (if one exists). I don't think Qt needs much more than a good introduction; once you've grasped the basics (which is the difficult bit), Qt is so well organized and sensible, everything else just clicks in place on its own.
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on 14 January 2010
Got this book as I was having trouble learning how to use Qt and there aren't enough tutorials online at the moment. The book has images showing the different type of widgets available and how to use them. You can read through the first few chapters to get started and then use the entire book as a reference. There are also lots of code snippets so you can see how to implement the widgets into your own applications. Has sped up my developments!

I've not come across any errors in the book yet although there are no doubt some
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on 1 October 2010
The best way to learn a language or a library is to get down to using it as soon as you can and finding out what you need to know as you need it. This book tries to teach you as if you're reading it from cover to cover in sequential order whilst laying down in bed. It's not a book for to sit beside you at the desk.

The main problem is that the code is all broken up and separated by paragraphs of text so you have to scan back and forth to refresh your memory. You can't look at the code as a complete unit and get an overview of what's going on. This also makes it a terrible reference book. If I want to find out how to use a component, I need to sift through pages of dense text to try and find the information that I need. Instead I find myself wanting to reach for the book and then thinking better of it and using a search engine instead to try and find an example bit of code. Qt looks like it should be nice and simple to learn, and it would be were it not for books like this.
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on 29 January 2009
Just started reading this book. I could say from the first chapters, that this book got it right. It's not just a reference book, nor is it overloaded with code. The well-known author starts with the very root of the foundations of QT. He not only tells you what and how-to, but also explains you why, and the gains of doing so. I haven't completed the book yet, but usually, the first part gives you the right picture of the whole item. Highly rated, and highly recommended. Hope, this my a help for all of you.
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on 16 September 2010
This is one of the very few books on the subject, so it easliy can hold the tag of "best", but it has some drawabacks.
There is insufficient (too simplistic) database coverage, and some subjects have examples using QtDesigner and some othe subjects have examples without use of QtDesigner: if you are a QtDesigner type, half of the book is OK and half of it is difficult. If you, instead do not use Designer... half of the book is difficult, and the other half is OK!
If you work on Qt, you *must* read this book. But it won't change your life (nor your code).
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on 2 March 2010
Qt is a joy to develop with - so many little touches that make a difference that I can't list them.

This book provides an excellent introduction and a useful reference for anyone using Qt4 to develop graphical apps. Well worth the money.
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on 15 March 2012
I have managed to write a program which works for calculating sines, tangents & cosines, including the hypotenuse length using this book. However, I was assisted by also looking on the Internet as this book uses coding to reach the final goal, rather than the "simpler" Qt Creator. It is, I think a very good book but you need to know quite a lot of the C++ language to understand what you are doing & it is expected that you know this. I have made quite a few programs using Microsoft Visual Basic express edition, this is similar, but a lot more complicated. There are a lot of Qt commands which are used for Qt only, which are not explained well - for me. I shall progress & hopefully light will shine at the end of the tunnel!
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on 24 October 2012
NB I am reviewing the Kindle edition of this book and I have scored it 2. The book itself gets a 4.

This is the first text book I have bought as a Kindle edition, and part of my reason for doing so was to see if this is a viable alternative to a paper copy. (I am an IT professional and I have over a hundred texts on my shelves. I am reading this book on the Kindle for Android app on an Asus Transformer tablet: 9 1/4" screen).

This is a useful text (for its target audience - which as other reviewers have noted is programmers who are already familiar with C++ and have some notion of GUI development and want to learn about Qt). I have been able to make use of the kindle edition, with the ASUS on the desk next to my development machine; However I am not sure it is a replacement for paper yet:

1) Poor navigation

It is not easy to "flip around" the book. The bookmarks/notes facility helps a bit, but see below. An ability to see the contents section in one pane, and a page in another would be a great boon. Or a scrolling "thumbnails" pane, as seen in most PDF viewers. Also text expands to a larger font size, but diagrams don't expand.

2) Poor bookmarks/Notes

The bookmarks facility is not really useful because neither the numerical location nor the text displayed (taken from the top of the page) are meaningful to the reader who created the bookmark. The Notes facility is a partial fix to this but it is pretty hard to use on the Android app. (Also it should be possible to sort on the note text). A graphical representation more similar to a book with post-its protruding might also help.

3) No index

There actually is an index but it doesn't work. There is no way to get from an indexed term to a location in the text. This works on another book so I know it is not the Android app causing the problem. I know what people will say: you do not need an index - use the search facility! But when I search for QString I get over 500 hits throughout the book. Not useful. I want a link to the main section at which QString is discussed. That is what a professional indexer does, and it can not be automated. Kindle will not be a viable replacement for a printed text book until working indexes are translated into the kindle edition.

4) Multiple texts?

I often need several texts open on the desk in front of me. Eg a C++ text, a MySQL text and a GUI Toolkit test. How can I do that with a Kindle? Actually it takes only two clicks to get between kindle books, each at its own remembered place. But a one-click solution would be much better. (Eg open books displayed as tabs).

I don't know if an actual Kindle (as opposed to the Android app) would fix some of these problems. If it does please let me know. But my view at present is that while a Kindle edition may be a good choice for a holiday novel that you want to read in a linear straight-through fashion, it needs some work before it can usefully replace paper text books.
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on 2 December 2012
This book certainly contains the right material, and will get you up to speed with QT. However it builds components in horizontal slices, leading to slow progress. Would have been better to build the system using vertical slices that provide rapid feedback to the user.
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