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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Qt Programming for Linux&Windows 2000
Author:
Patrick Ward
ISBN:
0 13 027001 6
Publisher:
Prentice Hall
Pages:
280pp + CD
Price:
£31-99
Reviewer:
Pete Goodliffe
Subject:
unix; user interfaces; MS Windows
Appeared in:
13-3
This book aims to bring professional C++ programmers up to speed with writing cross platform GUI applications using the Qt toolkit. It contains very little new information and perhaps is riding too much on the back of the Qt phenomenon.

Do not get me wrong, this book well written - Ward has a good writing style, conversational but not too chatty. The technical content of the book is fine. However, It is hard to write a valuable book describing a GUI toolkit when the toolkit already comes with excellent online documentation. I had no problem learning from this supplied documentation, so I would expect this book to bring some fresh insights or to present Qt in a better way.

To some extent Ward recognises this fact and writes his book to work in tandem with the Qt online docs, several times asking the reader to go and digest some online material and then come back. This is better than merely rehashing the same information. However, I am not sure that around this he actually adds that much value.

The book contains code that is mostly platform independent (thanks to the abstractions that Qt provides over different platforms). There is some platform specific code in a networking example and there is a single chapter devoted to some Windows 2000 specific features. Frankly, these should apply to any Win32 platform as far as I can see - which makes the 2000 in the title a marketing ploy.

There is an enormous appendix, listing every single Qt method name and which classes contain them. I am not sure if this is genuinely useful or just a good way to occupy 54 pages.

What I really want to see in a book of this 'professional' level is discussion of how to structure GUI application code to separate the core application logic from the GUI components in a sensible manner. This kind of discussion is lacking. Perhaps It is expected as a prerequisite.

The book comes with a CD. It contains the full source code from the book (nothing particularly ground breaking) and a copy of the Qt free edition source, with compiled versions for both platforms. You can get the latter from the Internet for free, so I am not sure that the contents actually justify the additional cost to the book - perhaps this was included more as a tick list item than for its value?

In conclusion, an adequate introduction to Qt if someone else is paying. I would expect more to make me buy this book.