< Development‎ | Tutorials‎ | KDE3
Revision as of 18:45, 21 December 2006 by CuCullin (talk | contribs)

Development/Tutorials/KDE3/Qt Designer and KDevelop 3.0 for Beginners


To get us started doing something useful with Qt Designer, we are going to build a simple program that will show you the power of Qt Designer and KDevelop. I hope that this will help you to create your first "real" KDE application.

KDevelop will help you to build a complete KDE application. The KDE project uses the autoconf and automake tools for KDE 3.x, and KDevelop will provide you with all the necessary files (admin directory, Makefile.cvs, Makefile.am,...).


How to Get Qt Designer

From your Distribution

Qt Designer is part of the qt-3.2.x package and above. If you have an older Qt on your system, you should get at least this version. At the time of writing, Qt latest version is 3.3.2.

Please remember to check if you have all the qt-related packages installed. You need the qt headers in order to compile this tutorial application. These headers usually come in the devel package. You also need to be sure you have designer. In some distributions, it comes in a separate package.

To check if you have everything, do a:

locate qstring.h

If you get something like /usr/lib/qt3/include/qstring.h then you can set your QTDIR variable to /usr/lib/qt3/. In bash environment, this is done by typing:

export QTDIR= /usr/lib/qt3

Tarball or Anonymous Subversion

You can download the tarball from the Trolltech website, or get the qt-copy module from SVN. Please note that Qt for Linux is GPL.

For an explanation for how to use anonymous SVN, get the qt-copy and kde modules and compile them, please see a great documentation at Using Subversion with KDE.

You must then set the QTDIR environment variable. This should point to the directory into which you installed Qt. In bash, for example, you would type:

export QTDIR= /usr/local/qt

provided that /usr/local/qt is the directory into which you installed Qt. Please read the INSTALL file for more details.

You then compile by issuing the following commands, here is the recommended compile line:

./configure -system-zlib -qt-gif -system-libpng -system-libjpeg \ -plugin-imgfmt-mng -thread -no-exceptions -debug -fast make

The command make install is not needed.

Qt Designer is located in the bin directory of your Qt installation directory. You can run it by typing: /usr/local/qt/bin/designer in a console.

To compile Qt from source, please see Trolltech's Qt/X11 Open Source Edition page.

How to get KDevelop 3

From your Distribution

KDevelop 3 should be part of your distribution. Pre 3 versions of KDevelop were nicknamed Gideon, but they are obsolete now.

From Tarball

KDevelop can be downloaded from the KDevelop website, under the Quick download heading.

To compile KDevelop 3, you need qt-3.1.0 or higher and kdelibs-3.1.0 or higher. The environment variables QTDIR and KDEDIR should point to those directories.

Don't forget to set up the KDE and Qt paths. The most common errors while using KDevelop come from the environment variables not set up properly. Check in a console by issuing the command set to see all your environment variables. You should set your PATH variable as follow as well as your LD_LIBRARY_PATH:


If you have any problem getting KDevelop running, please refer to the KDevelop Forum to find the answer to your problem.

If you never used KDevelop before, try to create a new project and to compile it to get used to the interface and the icons.


Please refer to KDevelop - HEAD Download and HEAD Branches SVN Compiling.


  • Widget: a widget is an element of an graphical interface such as a container window, a button or a field for entering text.
  • Layout management: this term describes the way in which widgets are arranged in a window. In its simplest form, an element may be placed at a specific position and given a specific height and width. But when the user resizes the window, the widgets should stay in their position and change their size accordingly. Linux allows to do that by using layouts to place the widgets in.
  • Signal and Slots: Signals and slots are used for communication between objects. The signal/slot mechanism is a central feature of Qt. Signals are emitted by objects when they change their state in a way that may be interesting to the outside world. Slots can be used for receiving signals, but they are normal member functions. You can connect as many signals as you want to a single slot, and a signal can be connected to as many slots as you desire. Please see the TrollTech documentation on signals and slots for more details. In the excellent online documentation that comes with Qt, you'll find the signals and the public slots that go with each class. You can then implement your own slots.

Creating the Application

Starting the project

Creating the framework with KDevelop

The framework in which our program will sit in (i.e. the main window) can be done easily and quickly by using KDevelop. Start KDevelop and select New Project in the Project menu. The Application Wizard appears then. Choose a C++ -> KDE -> Simple KDE Application. Fill in the blank lines with the project name SigCreate, your name as author, and your email. Refer to this screen shot as a reference.

Click on Next. Have a look to the CVS option and the header templates. Then click on Finish on the last screen. KDevelop creates all the files that you need to compile your project. You can use the file selector to view the code of the 3 files which are main.cpp, sigcreate.cpp and sigcreate.h, as shown here.

Once the Application Wizard has created your application, compile it to ensure that everything is fine. To do that, select Build -> Run automake & friends then Build -> Run configure. The Messages output window should say

" Good - your configure finished. Start make now

  • *** Success ***

so you can run make with Build -> Build Project (or using the F8 shortcut). Then Build -> Install. Then Build -> Execute program (or F9). The result is shown here.

In Short

Make the translations for a simple kde project

A few general tips

Generating the source (alternate)

Credits and License

Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.