Monday, September 14, 2015

184 Qt Libraries

We have collected 184 third party Qt libraries on Inqlude now. This is a pretty complete map of the Qt ecosystem, quite an impressive number, and lots of useful libraries extending Qt for many purposes.

Inqlude is based on a collection of manifests. If you like to add or update a library, simply submit a pull request there. The inqlude tool is used to manage the manifests, it generates the web site, but you can also use it to validate manifests, or download libraries. There also is inqlude-client, which is a C++ client for retrieving sources of libraries via the data on the Inqlude web site. It's pretty handy, if you want to integrate some library into your project.

If you want to get a brief introduction into Inqlude, you might want to watch my award winning lightning talk from Qt Dev Days 2013: "News from Inqlude, the Qt library archive". It still provides a pretty accurate explanation of what Inqlude is about and how it works.

A big part of the libraries which are collected on Inqlude are coming from KDE as part of KDE Frameworks. We just released KDE Frameworks 5.14. It's 60 Qt addon libraries which represent the state of the art of Linux desktop development and more.

Inqlude as well as KDE Frameworks are a community effort. Incidentally they both started at a developer sprint at Randa. Getting community people together for intense hacking and discussions is a tremendously powerful catalyst in the free software world. Randa exemplifies how this is done. The initial ideas for Inqlude were created there and last year it enabled me to release the first alpha version of Inqlude. These events are important for the free software world. You can help to make them happen by donating. Do this now. It's very much appreciated.

One more recent change was the addition of a manifest for all libraries part of the Inqlude archive. This is a JSON file aggregating all latest individual manifests. It makes it very easy for tools who don't need to deal with the history of releases to get everything in one go. The inqlude client uses it, and it's a straight-forward choice for integration with other tools which would like to benefit from the data available through Inqlude.

At the last Qt contributors summit we had some very good discussions about more integration. Integration with the Qt installer would allow to get third party library the same way you get Qt itself, or integration with Qt Creator would allow to find and use third party libraries for specific purposes natively in the environment you use to develop your application. One topic which came up was a classification of libraries to provide some information about stability, active development, and support. We will need to look into that, if there are some automatic indications we can offer for activity, or what else we can do to help people to find suitable libraries for their projects.

It's quite intriguing to follow what is going on in the Qt world. As an application developer there is a lot of good stuff to choose from. Inqlude intends to help with that. The web site is there and will continue to be updated and there also are a number of ideas and plans how to improve Inqlude to serve this purpose. Stay tuned. Or get involved. You are very welcome.

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