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Nokia's Trolltech preps embedded app breakthrough

SquirrelFish in the Greenhouse

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Nokia-owned Trolltech has been promoting a planned environment for building embedded applications on Mac, Linux, and Windows machines.

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The company has been demonstrating Greenhouse at a series of events for developers. Greenhouse combines an editor, debugger, compiler, and project window.

The goal is to provide consistent tooling environment for developers working on different platforms, avoiding the need to switch between visual and command-line commands when moving betn a Mac or Windows machine and Linux.

A technology preview of Greenhouse has been promised "soon," but there's no date on final availability.

The immediate focus is version 4.5 of the old Trolltech's cross-platform application framework Qt, which will see improved support for WebKit and WebKit's SquirrelFish JavaScript engine - which was beefed up with last month's SquirrelFish Extreme. Improvements should position Qt for uptake with Apple's Safari and Google Chrome and Android, which use WebKit's HTML and JavaScript.

Benoit Schillings, Nokia chief technologist, told The Reg that Greenhouse is a standalone environment that will provide everything you need to write an embedded device or application and that it will exploit Qt.

Speaking ahead of next week's Symbian Smartphone Show in London, Schillings said: "If you look at the help and integration of the UI [user interface] designer...we can do quite a bit that makes the IDE more specific to use of Qt."

He was careful to stress the company isn't going into competition with Microsoft's Visual Studio or the open-source Eclipse tools framework on Greenhouse. Schillings said Greenhouse is not as extensive as Visual Studio or Eclipse and noted Qt plugs to Visual Studio and Eclipse.

Eclipse revamped its existing Mobile Tools for Java (MTJ) project on Wednesday to attract broader industry support. MTJ currently supports Java mobile platforms from Microsoft and Symbian used by Motorola and, yes, Nokia.

Looking ahead, Schillings said work will continue on HTML integration - expanding on the WebKit efforts - in addition to delivering a declarative UI. He did not give a date for when we could see these goals translate into finished product, noting there are no plans yet for Qt 5.0. ®

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