A tech preview of the next generation of KDE’s extensive libraries, Frameworks 5, has been released.

KDE Frameworks 5 represents 3 years of work to move the KDE platform into a modularised set of Qt add-ons – a move that makes it easier for developers to include KDE libraries in their projects without pulling in the entire KDE desktop with them.

'kauth' is a tier 2 framework with only a handful of dependencies.
‘kauth’ is a Tier 2 framework with only a handful of dependencies.

You may be familiar with the current release of KDE Platform 4. The KDE Platform currently ships as a set of “interconnected libraries” that’ve made life for end users a bit more difficult as they watch a “lightweight” music player pull in hundreds of megabytes of another desktop.

KDE Frameworks 5 splits the single KDE Platform into separate modules – some of which still depend on each other, others of which (like KArchive) can now be used in a pure Qt application with minimal additional dependencies.

The modularised frameworks have been sorted into tiers and types. Tier 1 frameworks only depend on Qt’s own frameworks or system libraries; Tier 2 frameworks only depend on Tier 1 frameworks, Qt frameworks, or system libraries; and so on. Framework types depend on whether a framework has any runtime dependencies.

The well-demarcated tiers and types should help developers better understand the dependencies needed to compile and run their Qt applications with KDE frameworks and should be a major boon for Ubuntu devs porting their apps to Qt ahead of Unity 8’s release on the desktop.

The KDE team expect a final release of Frameworks 5 to be available in early June. Until then, they’ll be undertaking monthly releases with a beta planned for April.

KDE Frameworks 5 can be tested in Ubuntu and Ubuntu derivatives through Project Neon’s PPAs. The bleeding edge PPA has built the latest changes, though it’s recommended you wait for the daily snapshot PPA or slightly more tested weekly snapshot PPA. As this is pre-release software, do exercise caution and read up on using Project Neon to help contribute to KDE!

Moreover, you can find an alternative PPA and instructions for getting KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt 5.2 packages for openSUSE, Arch, and Fedora in the KDE Community Wiki.

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