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(C++) Comparison of C++ Builder and Qt Creator again...


This article is the successor of Comparison of C++ Builder and Qt Creator and is written three months later (at the 23rd of Agust 2010).






Quick facts chart



C++ Builder 6.0 Enterprise edition

Qt Creator 1.3.1


Embarcadero Technologies

Qt Development Frameworks

Year of release





GPL and commercial

Supported operating systems


Linux, Mac, Windows

How to deploy on other platform

Use emulator on Windows executable

Compile code on other platform

Default supplied compiler

Borland BCC32.EXE version

G++ version 4.4.1

Boost compiler support

About 20-60%: BCC32.EXE is an unsupported compiler

100% (can this be true?): G++ is a supported compiler

Supplied with libraries


OpenGL, STL, Qt4

Cpp0x adoption

Pre-standard adoption (in RAD Studio)

Adoption after publication of official Cpp0x standard








Below, I discuss the three items I encountered most in detail: writing console applications, writing GUI applications and documentation needed to learn both IDEs.






Console applications


In the previous article, I stated that developing console applications in both IDE's was easy. But not only does the Qt Creator support Boost fully (as far as I know), but an enormous amount of other libraries as well. This boosts (no pun intended) productivity heavily! I do know that Embaracadero is working on this, for C++ Builder's successor called for RAD Studio.


What I did not highlight in the previous article, is that C++ Builder and its applications run under Windows only. Except for platform-specific libraries, I see no reason to limit oneself to Windows.






GUI applications


In the previous article, I stated that the GUI designer in C++ Builder was less cluttered with windows. To increase working space, I learned to set the Widget pane to 'Icon View', so I could push it to a width of two centimeters. This does not work with the text-based sidebars on the right. I hope that in a future version, this sidebar can be hidden by a shortcut-key.


I still believe that it is easier to learn C++ Builder: one can use C++ Builder without knowing how to design classes. In Qt Creator one sometimes has implement sub-classes and override behavior (for example, when one wants to imlement a clickable QLabel). Although I believe this design choice of the Qt library is good, I think it is more difficult for beginners: they will have to struggle with classes first, before they will understand how to do this.


What I did not mention earlier about the Qt and C++ Builder architectures, is that the Qt architecture is const-correct, unlike C++ Builder. This aspect makes it easier to understand Qt: a const method promises not to modify its members. In C++ Builder, this is not promised at all.


QLabel is a QWidget to display both text and images. Why this is not seperated in two widgets remains unknown to me. And I discovered that QLabel does not emit a signal when it is clicked. If QLabel would only display text, I would agree with this design choice: a clickable label can be mimicked by a flat QButton. But I do wished that an image would emit a signal when clicked: I use many images as flashy buttons. Personally, I would suggest two solutions to the problem:


Adding a custom method to a dialog is still tedious in Qt Creator, but one gets used to it:

In C++ Builderr, this was done within three (really!) clicks: click on 'Events' of the Object Inspector, then double-click on the signal you want to respond to.


For the layout managent of the visual components, I have learned to appreciate the work that all QLayouts do: for simple layouts they do a great job. But when I want to add certain constraints, this still too often results in unexpected behaviour: for example, I once had an application of which I could resize the window to a bigger size, but it could not be resized to a smaller surface. So, I still think that the C++ Builder TPanels were more intuitive to use.


It hadn't occurred to me before, to note that Qt Creator does not have any non-visual QWidgets. Sure, if a widget is visual by definition, this is logical. But C++ Builder supplied non-visual TComponents, that could be placed on the window (but never be seen). This has two advantages:








I have learned that the Qt documentation is very good. Note the word 'learned': the Qt documentation has a learning curve, due to:


So, if you understand the documentation of Qt, its content is as good as C++ Builder's.


Still, there re two thingss:


Summarizing this:









C++ Builder 6.0 Enterprise edition

Qt Creator 1.3.1

Development of console applications

Similar, low Boost support

Similar, high Boost support

Initial main function in console application

Non-minimal, can be removed ruthlessly

Non-minimal, can be removed ruthlessly

GUI designer

Plenty of screen space, all windows can be hidden in the same way, all windows have a shortcut key

Screen cluttered with windows, different ways to hide and show most windows

Ease of learning graphical library used by GUI designer

VCL has non-visual components (TTimer, for example) that a beginner can use without writing code

Qt does not have non-visual widgets, so a QTimer's behavior must be written in code, which is harder and error-prone

Component/widget architecture

Clickable TLabel for labels, clickable TImage for images

Non-clickable QLabel for both labels and images

Adding methods to dialogs

Easy and transparent

Tedious and less transparent

Component/widget use/re-use and extension

Basic by default, but also possible to reimplement virtual member functions

Reimplementation of virtual member functions with magic names and unknown functioning

Layout management

All Component have an Alignment property, use of TPanel as workhorses, TPanel works intuitively for complex custom behavior

Layout managers with good default behavior, but less intuitive for more complex custom behavior


VCL classes well documented, easy to read the documentation, STL fully documented

Qt classes well documented, it takes time to learn reading the documentation, no STL documentation


My personal conclusion has remained the same:








  1. Nokia overview of all Qt classes






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