Back in November when I was at the Eclipse Summit 2009 in Ludwigsburg, I talked to a number of people about the potential of SWT/Qt and showed a first implementation. One guy (well known in the Eclipse space) asked me “Why are you doing this ? Is it just because of the styling ?”.
In the light of the current discussion about the killer app in e4, I was reminded about this again. While some people mentioned CSS styling as the killer feature in e4. Other people stressed the point that CSS styling is pointless to them and they see other interesting hotspots like DI, faster startup times, no singletons etc.
From my background I know real power users who only care for speed. They don’t like field-based validation, error marking of fields and drag and drop and any kind of eye candy is superfluous.
For others a slick, stylish top notch UI is a selling point by itself. Riena is often chosen by people who like its Theming and Look & Feel capabilities. CSS Styling is only the logical next step for them.
So there is a userbase for whom we are “just” doing this new SWT platform that is based on Qt.
Qt from Trolltech/Nokia has been around for quite a while now on all major platforms. Its CSS styling support is very flexible, mature and well established. So we had the idea to create a new SWT implementation that leverages Qt for Eclipse based applications. Our main target is currently the windows platform. Development is internal but we plan to make it available to others later this year.
Its however a major effort to create a new SWT platform. But you learn a lot about SWT…
So here is a little teaser screenshot. Based on the current RCP Mail application, a number of committers create RCP Mail 2.0 which is targeted to be hosted in the examples project, details can be found in bug 253105.
What we did is we ran RCP Mail 2.0 on top of the current version of SWT/Qt and applied a CSS stylesheet on top of it.
And now tell me you don’t like it . Looking forward to your comments.
p.s. There is a talk on this on EclipseCon with many more details and demos (link).