Building Qt projects with Qmake

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Qt’s own build system Qmake is often overlooked for larger projects, but many experienced developers appreciate Qmake support for shadow builds and pre- or post-build dependencies.

Qmake, the build system originally developed by Trolltech for Qt applications, often goes unnoticed. Many developers are happy to use the combination of Qmake and the Qt library for small- to medium-sized projects. But as the projects grow, many Qt developers suddenly switch to the Qmake alternative Cmake, which originated as the build system for ITK (the Insight Segmentation and Registration Toolkit).

The reason most often heard for neglecting Qmake is that it is simply unsuitable for many tasks. In the KDE project, for example, Cmake is the tool of choice for compiling large amounts of source code. (Other build systems, such as Autotools, Ant, and the like play a very small role in Qt development because of the increased integration overhead.) As this article shows, however, Qmake can do so much more than most developers realize.

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