Pros, Cons, and Alternatives for Qt C++ Embedded Development

Pros, Cons, and Alternatives for Qt C++ Embedded Development

Qt is a popular framework for C++ embedded development that offers various advantages as well as some drawbacks. In this article, we explore the pros, cons, and alternative options in a concise manner.


What is QT?


Qt is a comprehensive cross-platform framework for C++ development, widely recognized for its versatility and powerful capabilities. Developed by The Qt Company, Qt provides developers with a vast array of tools, libraries, and APIs that simplify the creation of high-quality applications across various platforms, including desktop, mobile, embedded systems, and more. 


With Qt, developers can leverage its intuitive API to build visually appealing user interfaces, handle complex graphics, manage data structures efficiently, and facilitate seamless integration with different operating systems. Its cross-platform nature enables code reusability, saving time and effort in the development process. Overall, Qt empowers developers to create robust and feature-rich applications with ease.


Pros of Qt C++ Embedded Development:


  1. Cross-platform compatibility: Qt allows developers to create applications that run on multiple platforms, including embedded systems, without significant code modifications.
  2. Rich UI and graphics: Qt provides an extensive set of tools and libraries for designing visually appealing user interfaces and handling graphics-intensive applications.
  3. Large developer community: With a wide user base, Qt has an active community that offers support, resources, and a wealth of knowledge.
  4. Extensive documentation: Qt offers comprehensive documentation, including examples and tutorials, making it easier for developers to learn and use the framework effectively.
  5. Efficient memory management: Qt’s memory management system helps optimize resource usage, making it suitable for resource-constrained embedded devices.


Cons of Qt C++ Embedded Development:


  1. Learning curve: Qt has a steep learning curve, particularly for developers who are new to the framework. This may require additional time and effort to become proficient.
  2. Performance overhead: Qt introduces some performance overhead due to its abstraction layer, which might be a concern for highly resource-constrained embedded systems.


Alternative Options for Embedded Development


While Qt is a powerful and widely used multi-platform solution, there are several reasons why developers might consider using alternative options:


Performance optimization: Depending on the specific requirements of an embedded system or application, platform-specific frameworks may offer better performance and efficiency by leveraging the unique features and optimizations provided by the underlying platform. This can be crucial for resource-constrained devices where every bit of performance matters.


Lightweight footprint: In cases where the target device has limited resources, opting for lightweight libraries or frameworks can be beneficial. These alternatives prioritize minimal resource consumption, allowing for efficient utilization of memory, processing power, and storage, without sacrificing essential functionality.


Specific use case requirements: Different multi-platform solutions excel in specific domains. For example, web technologies like React Native or Electron are well-suited for building cross-platform applications that prioritize web connectivity and user interfaces. Choosing an alternative solution that aligns closely with the project’s specific requirements can enhance development efficiency and effectiveness.


Development familiarity and expertise: Developers might already possess expertise in specific frameworks or libraries due to prior experience or specialization. Utilizing these familiar tools can significantly speed up the development process and reduce the learning curve associated with adopting a new framework like Qt.


Licensing considerations: Qt offers both open-source and commercial licensing options, which may involve certain costs depending on the specific usage and project requirements. Alternative solutions may provide more favorable licensing terms or align better with the project’s budgetary constraints.


Ultimately, the choice of using alternative multi-platform solutions alongside or instead of Qt depends on factors such as performance needs, resource constraints, specific use case requirements, development expertise, and licensing considerations. Careful evaluation of these factors will help determine the most suitable option for a particular project.


  1. Platform-specific frameworks: Depending on the target platform, using platform-specific frameworks or libraries might be a viable alternative, as they can offer better performance and tighter integration with the underlying system.
  2. Lightweight libraries: For simpler applications or devices with limited resources, opting for lightweight libraries like NanoGUI (see Github), µGFX, or LVGL can be a more efficient choice.
  3. Web technologies: Utilizing web technologies, such as HTML5 (more info here), CSS, and JavaScript, along with frameworks like React Native or Electron, enables cross-platform development with a focus on user interfaces and connectivity.


In summary, Qt C++ embedded development brings cross-platform compatibility, rich UI capabilities, and a large developer community. However, it requires a learning curve and may introduce performance overhead. Depending on the project requirements, platform-specific frameworks, lightweight libraries, or web technologies can serve as suitable alternatives. Learn more details on the topic of QT for C++ in the Integra Sources blog: