Images and Resources

Graphic images can be used to add visual impact to various applications. In this section, we show how to build an application or a library that includes graphic images in the project.

Qt 4 enables projects to make use of binary resources, such as images, sounds, icons, text in some exotic font, and so forth. Resources such as these are generally stored on disk in separate binary files. The advantage of incorporating binary dependencies in the actual project is that they can then be addressed using paths that do not depend on the local file system, and they can "move" with the executable.

In the next examples, we will demonstrate how to create and reuse a library that includes images, one for each card in a deck of playing cards.

The first step is to list the binary files we wish to use in a Resource Collection File, an XML file that has the extension .qrc. The resource file in libcards2 is automatically generated by a python script. Here is an abbreviated listing of it.

[ ... ]

RCC is a file format, required by qmake and rcc (Qt's resource compiler), that generally consists of a list of elements enclosed by tags. Each element contains a relative path and an optional file alias.

We must add a RESOURCES line in the project file that contains the name of the qresource file, as shown in Example 11.7.

Example 11.7. src/libs/cards2/

# project file for libcards2

include ($$(CPPLIBS)/utils/common.pri)

QT += gui
# For locating the files.
RESOURCES = cards2.qrc

SOURCES += cardpics.cpp
HEADERS += cardpics.h
unix {
 UI_DIR = .ui
 MOC_DIR = .moc

When this project is built, the resource compiler generates an extra file named cards2_qrc.cpp that contains byte arrays defined in C++. This file gets compiled and linked into the project binary (executable or library) instead of the original files. The DESTDIR line specifies that the shared object files for libcards2 will be located in $CPPLIBS with the other libraries that we have built.

In libcards2, we defined a class named CardPics, shown in Example 11.8, which utilizes the QPixmap class. There are three Qt classes that facilitate the handling of images.

  1. QPixmap designed and optimized for drawing on the screen
  2. QImage designed for input and output operations and for direct pixel access
  3. QPicture designed to enable scalability

Example 11.8. src/libs/cards2/cardpics.h

[ . . . . ]
class CardPics {
 static CardPics* instance();
 QPixmap get(QString card);
 static const QString values, suits;
 static QString fileName(QString card);
 QMap m_pixmaps;
[ . . . . ]

Attaching required binary data files to projects as resources makes the project more robust. The source code does not need to use nonportable pathnames for the resource files. To refer to a file that is stored as a resource, we can use the alias that was established in the RCC file, and precede it with the prefix, ":/". Each resource then appears (to Qt) to be located in a private virtual file system, rooted at :/. Example 11.9 shows some Qpixmaps created with pathnames of this format.

Example 11.9. src/libs/cards2/cardpics.cpp

[ . . . . ]
const QString CardPics::values="23456789tjqka";
const QString CardPics::suits="cdhs";

CardPics* CardPics::instance() {
 static CardPics* inst = 0;
 if (inst == 0)
 inst = new CardPics;
 return inst;

CardPics::CardPics() {
 foreach (QChar suit, suits) {
 foreach (QChar value, values) {
 QString card = QString("%1%2").arg(value).arg(suit);
 QPixmap pixmap(fileName(card));
 m_pixmaps[card]= pixmap;


QString CardPics::fileName(QString card) {
 return QString(":images/%1.png").arg(card);
QPixmap CardPics::get(QString card) {
 return m_pixmaps[card];
[ . . . . ]

Each resource is used to construct a QPixmap, which gets added to CardPics for easy access with the get() function.

Part I: Introduction to C++ and Qt 4

C++ Introduction


Introduction to Qt



Inheritance and Polymorphism

Part II: Higher-Level Programming


Introduction to Design Patterns


Generics and Containers

Qt GUI Widgets


Validation and Regular Expressions

Parsing XML

Meta Objects, Properties, and Reflective Programming

More Design Patterns

Models and Views

Qt SQL Classes

Part III: C++ Language Reference

Types and Expressions

Scope and Storage Class

Statements and Control Structures

Memory Access

Chapter Summary

Inheritance in Detail

Miscellaneous Topics

Part IV: Programming Assignments

MP3 Jukebox Assignments

Part V: Appendices

MP3 Jukebox Assignments


MP3 Jukebox Assignments

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An Introduction to Design Patterns in C++ with Qt 4
An Introduction to Design Patterns in C++ with Qt 4
ISBN: 0131879057
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 268
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