How to Modernize Your GUI by Porting to Qt Framework

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There is a number of useful toolkits nowadays when it comes to managing graphical user interfaces (GUI). Motif has been dominating the world of GUI toolkits since it emerged in the 1980’s. In a world of rapidly advancing technology, however, the maturity of the toolkit defines it advantages as well as disadvantages.

Motif applications are generally used on Unix based platforms. The limitation to a specific platform and complexities of development environments makes the porting of Motif application to different platforms difficult and expensive. Although Motif still has a large customer base, the toolkit is no longer being actively supported. This is the main driver for replacing the Motif toolkit.

Qt framework is used for developing applications that can be run on different platforms. Compared to the mature Motif framework, Qt has a lot to offer to the demanding industry. It is an easy to use toolkit that is fully object-oriented, and is faster than Motif. On top of that Qt has extensive internationalization support and its abstractive architecture simplifies many programming tasks.

The main reason why companies lean towards porting their application to Qt is to allow them work on different platforms and by that, give them value added features.

Similarities in the anatomy of Motif and Qt, together with common widget sets, make the porting process relatively easy.

Motif’s Pros:

  • Well explained through books and online documents
  • Pre-installed on Solaris
  • A well-established industry standard
  • Advanced support for text from languages
  • Vast support from third-party tools
  • Motif’s user interface concepts are reused on other toolkits

Qt’s Pros:

  • Multi-platform availability
  • Gaining more popularity for newer projects
  • Easier to program
  • Standard part of most Linux distributions
  • Active development

PSA is currently engaged in project activities aimed at helping the customer replace their current graphical toolkit with another framework. Due to the scale of the porting effort which will involve modification of all windows, forms, pop-up menus within the product, PSA is taking a structured approach for project execution. PSA plans to perform an engineering cycle that includes the execution of all development processes, from screen layout through testing, and tracking the baseline of these activities against the estimates. In addition to the Motif replacement, PSA will perform internationalization and automated interface testing. As a result of this conversion, the customer will get an application with a cleaner architecture and a richer user interface.

 If you are looking for help in switching your frameworks, please contact us.

PSA Marketing Team

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